Thursday 23 October 2014

TD under fire for claiming cyclists need to 'cop on'

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

Published 16/05/2013 | 05:00

AN INDEPENDENT TD has come under fire for claiming cyclists are arrogant, need to "cop on" and pay more respect on the roads.

Dublin North Central TD Finian McGrath caused anger among cycling groups for describing some as arrogant and lacking respect for other road users, like motorists.

Mr McGrath said there is an "attitude there ... particularly to motorists and pedestrians" and a sense of balance had been lost, with the "pendulum swinging towards the cyclists".

"I would have encountered some of them on the way to the Dail when you come around Trinity College," Mr McGrath said.

"A couple of times I would have blown fellas out of it or flashed at them.

"There was another time I saw one cyclist run a child over on Griffith Avenue.

"I absolutely stand by my comments, cyclists need to cop on and show a little bit of respect," Mr McGrath said, adding a "bicycle is not a licence to ignore the rules of the road".

Mr McGrath said there had been a mixed reaction to his comments, with a "50-50" split of people supporting or opposing him.

However, Mike McKillen from the Dublin Cycling Campaign said Mr McGrath wasn't being realistic in his criticism of cylcists – and that it was equivalent to unfairly branding all motorists because some drive while using their mobile phones.

"He didn't ground his argument in reality," Dr McKillen said.

"Gardai are not effective enough in enforcing the rules and laws of the road. But it is wider than this, we don't do enforcement well and we don't do citizenship well."

He also took issue with Mr McGrath's claim that the balance on the roads was swinging towards cyclists – saying this had to be the case for reasons of safety.

"It has to swing towards cyclists," Dr McKillen said.

"He's off his gum tree if he thinks it needs to swing back towards the motorists. We reach for the car for the smallest journeys, when we should be walking or cycling."

Former Dublin lord mayor Andrew Montague, who championed a 30kph speed limit in some areas of the capital, pointed out that there had been a 75pc decrease in road deaths in Dublin because of the increased use of bikes.

Irish Independent

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