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Lazy commuters give bike the push

THERE has been a dramatic reduction in the number of people cycling to school and work, despite a significant investment in bicycle lanes.

Over ?30m in total has been spent creating 220 kilometres of cycle lanes in Dublin city. But the percentage of people cycling to work in the city almost halved in the same period.

It is understood the Dublin Transportation Office plans to invest further in cycle lanes, increasing them to 350 kilometres by 2006.

A census analysis by Dublin City Council has shown there has been a big decline in walking and cycling, said the council's director of traffic Owen Keegan.

Over the past two decades, the percentage of commuters using a bicycle to get to and from work dropped from 8.5pc to 4.5pc. It is estimated that only 24,000 people cycle to work in greater Dublin.

There has been a significant increase in car usage, while the share of public transport has been constant over the past 20 years. Mr Keegan said spending money on cycle lanes was appropriate, as cyclists were entitled to safe conditions. But there was no evidence to show that there will be a massive swing towards cycling, he said.

Eamon Ryan, Green Party transport spokesperson, said the rise of commuting from outside Dublin and the sheer number of cars were contributory factors to the drop in cycling. "We should be similar to Copenhagen and Amsterdam, where 30pc of all journeys are by bike. There is no reason why we shouldn't be the same. Dublin is drier than Amsterdam.

"For any trip under four miles distance, the bike will always be the fastest mode of transport in the city."

Introducing more 30 kilometre speed limits in the city centre was also key, he added.

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