Monday 21 October 2019

Getting down and dirty where it matters most for our cyclists

'Now You See Me' examines how cycling and cyclists are planned for - and treated - on roads here and elsewhere

A cycle lane in Dublin
A cycle lane in Dublin

RSA Expert

The first episode of a new four-part road safety series called 'Now You See Me' aired Monday on RTE 1.

Sponsored by the RSA, it looked at vulnerable road users - cyclists in particular.

Ask any driver what their biggest aggravation is and chances are they will say cyclists.

Ask any cyclist what grinds their gears and most will say drivers.

In the new series dedicated driver Simon Delaney is on a mission to find out what it's like to be a cyclist in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Bláthnaid Treacy sets out to discover why more Irish people are not embracing the bike and how cycling here compares to our European counterparts.

With more than 150,000 bicycles now sharing our roads with two million cars, vans, trucks and buses, Simon and Bláthnaid examine the sometimes fraught relationship between cyclists and drivers.

They ask: if you can see them and they can see you, why is it sometimes hard to share our roads?

'Now You See Me' looks at the rise of cycling in Ireland and examines if we are, in fact, ready to become a genuine biking nation.

The series examines why there is a disconnect between drivers and cyclists, looks at how we can better share our roads and what we can learn from other countries that have embraced cycling and its many benefits.

Self-confessed 'dedicated driver' Simon will be looking at our roads through the eyes of vulnerable users.

He takes on a week-long challenge swapping his car for a bike.

We will also follow a Donegal family as they swap their car for bikes for a more rural based cycle challenge of schools runs, commutes and shopping trips.

Simon joins motorbike riders, bike messengers, young pedestrians and car safety experts to look at the issues vulnerable road users face.

He finds out what everyone from drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to the car manufacturers and our politicians can do to make our roads safer and our journeys better.

If cycling is good for your health, the environment and your back pocket, then why are more Irish people not doing it?

Bláthnaid endeavours to find out.

To do so she travelled across Europe to look at what works and doesn't work for cyclists in various countries and what Irish cities and towns can learn.

This includes looking at the cycle infrastructure, speaking to cyclists and gauging the public attitude of our European neighbours.

In Copenhagen she examines how a combination of segregated track and traffic law enforcement has resulted in drivers and cyclists co-existing in relative harmony.

In Seville, a city the size of Dublin, she finds how public protest and political pressure led to the building of more than 100km of cycle track.

Bláthnaid not only discovers a cycle track network that allows you to cycle safely and separately to cars on almost every major road in Seville, but also a far cleaner and less polluted city since embracing the bike.

In the Netherlands, Bláthnaid traverses a network of safe cycle tracks connecting almost every rural village, satellite town, suburb and city that are better than many current Irish city bike tracks.

She then takes on traffic congestion, fumes and a whole lot more as she battles the streets and roads of London where she examines what the city is doing to try to improve things.

Closer to home, Bláthnaid will take a look at how Irish people have adapted to cycling and some of the facilities currently at our disposal.

From cycling groups navigating the Dublin mountains to the dedicated tracks of the Great Western Greenway, she discovers there is a love for cycling here but we are just not set-up properly to get more people involved.

The car is king in Ireland, but is it the best option?

'Now You See Me' takes an open and honest look at where we are and what we can do to improve our roads - for everyone.

Indo Motoring

Also in Life