Sunday, 7 February 2010

Councillor Andrew Montague's 30 km/h speed limit - let's have compulsory helmets for cyclists too.

Let’s face it, the recent 30 km/h speed limit in Dublin – championed by keen cyclist Councillor Andrew Montague – has split opinion into two camps, those who are pro-car and those who are anti-car.

But before the cycling lobby – whose members are perhaps the most lawless and unaccountable of all road users - gets too smug, it might do well to reconsider its actions in invoking the nanny state to frustrate motorists in the city just for the sake of it.

Surely if health and safety is the be-all and end-all, and we dumb citizens need to be protected from our own actions, it is now time to make cycling helmets compulsory? Better still, why not also make it compulsory for all self-righteous cyclists to wear the lurid, day-glo, latex gear some of them don voluntarily? At least then we pedestrians (and I am one, as well as an enthusiastic petrolhead, and sometimes walk the 11.2 kilometres  from my house to work) can see them as they scythe through us on the pavements and at traffic lights.

They can’t have it every way. Last year, only 28 cyclists were prosecuted for breaking red lights, whereas 1,847 motorists got penalty points for the same offence – and rightly so, as this is the most dangerous road traffic infringement in my view. And before you say a cyclist breaking the lights won’t kill someone, that is very debatable. A cyclist going  full pelt into someone, particularly an older person, could very easily do so - or at least cause serious injury.

Now it seems that the Labour councillors on Dublin City Council are breaking ranks, after party leader Eamonn Gilmore described the new law as “impractical”. Dermot Lacey is now planning (according to the Sunday Tribune) to scrap the new limit on the quays, and introduce a 40 km/h speed limit in the city centre proper. Lacey originally voted for the proposal but now admits that “I tried driving down the quays [at 30 km/h] along the Liffey and it was nigh on impossible”.

Perhaps the good councillors should have tried driving down the quays before they voted on the matter?

You can contact Councillor Montaque at

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Anonymous said...

Hi GM. TBH I thought it was already compulsory. There was a time there (over a year ago) when you would'nt be seen without one on your head when out cycling. Must of been the fashion. Wow is peer pressure that powerful here?? Now all of a sudden every second individual out cycling has no helmet.

Have to say though, if an individual decides to cycle - and it is a faster mode of transport, especially in the city centre - head protection or no, you would want full body cladding a first aid kit and hefty insurance to cycle around Dublin.

I drive around dublin regularily and some of the things I see on a daily basis would disuade me from ever taking up cycling here, nevermind driving. Its a very very dangerous place for any rational individual driver. There seems to be a cohort of drivers here that seem to want to do nothing but cause trouble. An anarchic element. Their attitude and behaviour seems to be designed to cause nothing but distress to other drivers. I have to say this is a phenomenon I dont see to any real extent in any other European city. Some drivers here seem to want to go out of their way to annoy fellow drivers.

Although all of Dublins road problems eminate from insane signage and inappropriate speed limits this is exaserbated by driver attitude. Seems to be the bigger the car the bigger the ponce!!!!

Anna said...

What the above is really about is the Irish tendency to Just Fight Your Own Corner. Why? Because so much is wrong, you could just despair… so you might as well just try to get things right for your own interest group.
(Replicated across All areas in Irish life- (I have a school teacher friend who says the Me Fein attitude is shockingly prevalent in education. …Never mind solidarity/ campaigning for a common cause etc, even writing study materials together. She said she proposed this, no-one offered to help…but other staff had no problems printing her excellent study notes off a common intranet & using them without her permission)
BUT we all need to use the streets- buses, trams, cyclists & cars & pedestrians. So the cyclist lobby wants to reduce car speeds to make life safer for them? Too bad if it creates havoc and hefty fines for the car users.
Yet other EU and UK cities DON’T have various road user groups fighting among themselves for advantage-why? Because city traffic policy in well run cities is designed to keep ALL user groups safe.
I Never get cyclists on the pavement in Belfast, OR running thru red lights- or (as happened me at a pedestrian crossing on Aungier St, (WHEN I WAS CROSSING ON GREEN) PLOUGHING right into me, and KNOCKING me over! I was lying on the road, for a few seconds before I picked myself up- could have been run over by a car, and even so the cycle gave me a nasty knock. Well this is life in devil may care Dublin- where we ‘charmingly’ break traffic rules to show how ‘unconventional’ and ‘daring’ we are! Other ‘conservative’ (i.e. law abiding and grown up) EU cities could learn from our attitude to life- and callous attitude to other road users!
This is Ireland All Over. It’s not that either pedestrians/ cyclists./ cars/ buses/ trams all Deserve preferential treatment; Each interest group Deserves a road traffic policy where the needs of All are recognised& this demands planning/ re-organisation/ rebuilding ( underground rail, pedestrian bridges & subways, good English or bi-lingual signage., more trams) one way streets etc .
Mobs of All Road Users should fill the streets and bay at our leaders till we get this. But instead all road users are fighting among themselves. What was the motto of the British Empire, the one they used to take control in each nation? DIVIDE AND RULE - When the natives fight among themselves, they never get to see their common cause or challenge the ruling class. Well, here’s one corner where the sun never set on the British Empire. Rebel Ireland. Anna

The Gombeen Man said...

@ Anon. Yes, there is certain bloody-mindedness and pigheadedness among many motorists here. People who won't let you out of a junction, for instance. People who insist in pootling along in the overtaking lane with a whole line of traffic behind them. And then you have plain bad driving. I think we are still at the juvenile stage when it comes to motoring, as there was a sudden jump in car ownership during the credit "boom".

@ Anna. That's very true... Ireland seems to excel at producing narrow interest groups who aren't happy unless they are riding roughshod over others. It seems like they are unhappy just to get what they want, they want to make others suffer with it! And you are right - it's an attitude that's prevalent in so many facets of Irish life.

Anonymous said...

OH bicycles and the insolent bastards who ride them. It's the one topic that brings everyone's claws out. I left Ireland a quarter of a century ago but not without having been educated (even in those days) to exactly where the "cyclist " stood in relation to the "motorist". I wouldn't mind only I had a car only my wife needed it to get the kids to where they needed to be daily so I bought a bike and rode to work from down at the East Wall Road. We were building factories for the Celtic Tiger Cubs in those days. One morning as I rode along the very quays at the centre of this current 30 kph controversy I was side-swiped by a motorist who was making a turn and just didn't see me. Look, as a cyclist, you expect it. As a motorcyclist too you drive with the expectation that 4 wheel road users are trying to kill you. It's the 2 Wheels Good 4 Wheels Bad mantra that keeps riders alive. If you don't believe me ask a cyclist/motorcyclist next time you're both stopped at the lights (ask GM). Anyway back to the story - and let me say right now that if you are reading this and you owned a Ford Mark 2 Cortina registration no 48 CZD back in the day -I'd like you to know that I'm ok now. I've recovered pretty well and better than my surgeon expected. Just a slight limp (on account of wheel spokes not being intended to penetrate the human body) but what I'm not ok with is the fact that you drove off and left me lying there on the fuckin' road (even though you slowed down a 100 yards after you'd mown me down, rolled down your window (electric windows came in later) to have a look back at me lying there in a heap in a unholy embrace with my bike before pissing off. Fast Forward 25 years to a country on the opposite side of the world where you find your still cycling humble narrator (homage to Clockwork Orange) subjected to equal measure of discourtesy from his four wheeled brothers. I'm a cyclist who shouts abuse at fellow cyclists)for gods sake) for riding two abreast (even though it's legal here) because of the disruption to the traffic flow. I'm also a cyclist who gets shouted at and on more than one occasion got lined up in the sights of a four wheeler and driven off the road. Cyclists have to take it - we're weak. We break red lights to keep as big a distance from four wheelers as possible.We wear bright colours in the hope that they'll see us and not run us over. I did a google in Australia to check how many people had been killed by cyclists and came up with two - an old man at a zebra crossing. No excuse and a big sorry from all of us. The other one was a middle aged lady killed on a steep hill by a cyclist who (according to the police report) shouted a warning but just couldn't stop. It's all very tragic but you know what - despite the search criteria "killed by cyclist" that I put in in Google I got hundreds of reports of cyclists who had been killed by motorist. Some group needs to wake up. PONYBOY

Anonymous said...

Anna and GM, I agree with you there seems to be something completely juvenile and unique about the Irish attitude to driving.

Although Juvenile behaviour (which is far greater and widespread in Dublin than anywhere else) could probably be lived with but really its the downright suicidal nature of Irish driving which makes driving in Dublin a horrific experience. (For example turning right at T junctions. Even when you make the turn, oncoming traffic wont slow down, seems to be driving at you. A two year old child would have more intelligence.) Or more to the point really any manoeuvre which leaves yourself open to oncoming traffic!).

Also Anna I think you hit the nail on the head there, Me Feiners and the like are symtomatic of the way things are in the emerald isle! You could say thats the reason (though not the only one) why the country was always this bad! Yes always...

Anna said...

Dear pony boy, I sympathise with long lasting injury and I am sad things were that bad 25 yrs ago…but that’s typical of life here…every one fighting their own corner. The cyclist who – literally ran me over never stopped either, and I was left lying in a busy road I could have been badly hit by a car.
By the way I am Not comparing myself with you – in the least way-
You suffered a criminal attack by a dangerous Looney who probably never had a lesson in his life and shouldn’t have been allowed a car to use as lethal weapon- I was merely hit by a feckless student
But I don’t blame cyclists- it is Suicidal to ride a bike in Dublin, and I Never Ever did- I bought one 5 yrs ago- and never used it. Too scared. A German girl cyclist was decapitated on O’Connell st 6 yrs- ago and I sure the blind spot which caused a lorry driver to hit her was never seen to.
My point is all road users are forced to compete with each other- rather than decent transport policy being provided for all.
I think we should grow up as nation, and pour into the streets in large mobs and just demand better everything. After 90 years we should all pull together as one nation. But this immaturity/ look after yourself feature is one of the outstanding facts of life here.
( by the way I hit a dog on Stillorgan dual carriage way ( I drive slowly but it ran out in front of me). I pulled in on the grass- the dog seemed ok- and the owner thanked me, and said the dog was always doing that. )
Your story is another sad example of the callous ‘ me fein’ attitude some people here can have- : 6 yrs ago an English woman was hit by a bus on O’Connell st. As she lay dying, someone stole her bag.
About 9 yrs ago my workmate, Edie then 50 collapsed with a stroke near Grafton St. Someone stole her bag, she was in hospital- for days- – with no ID, unconscious getting emergency life saving treatment without her husband and child knowing where she was. The hospital never told the Garda they had an unidentified woman. No doubt the hospital switchboard never told her family when they phoned’ We don’t have Edie- but we have an unidentified female’
The lack of joined up thinking/ planning / me fein attitudes etc make me despair… Revolt folks,..Nothing else for it Anna

The Gombeen Man said...

Sorry to hear about your scumbag encounter, PB. Glad you lived to tell the tale, anyway.

Anonymous said...

thats it GM me feiners are at the root of all evil in our glorious little nation

Anna said...

No not quite;
Root of evil=
Godawful greedy scum bag leaders ( or at the least evil end of spectrum) ineffective leaders who thoughlessly carry through bad policies which are against the people's real good
Apathetic people who doze through life letting above away with it all.
Mature informed populace willing to take responsibility + voting system + heavy losses for scum bag/idiot TD's/councillors= responsible/ hard working/ modestly paid new public reps & a happy nation with good public services.*
* Equations must balance both sides, therefore :
* Cuts in TD / public reps pay & expenses & heavily paid sinecures on public boards will exactly = money suddenly available for public services such as travel
* A scum bag loss rate of more than 70% must be achieved to get a real benefit of decent public representatives on other side of equation
* A loss rate of more than 70% scumbags, however, will produce an amazing catalyst effect, in speeding up the reaction of the public. On seeing public joy at departure of their colleagues , any remaing scum bags in power will keep their heads down & resign before another election.
We hope.

Anonymous said...

GM/Anna - thx for your good wishes. It wasn't as bad as all that and these days I forget which side I'm supposed to be limping on with all the other injuries and bumps and bruising sustained over the years. On the bright side I did spot that Cortina parked in Capel Street a few months later and I know it's immature but out came a large coin and well the rest is illegal. Shit - I hope he hadn't sold the car to someone since the "mow down" PONYBOY

Anonymous said...

HI THERE GM its the wimmin drivers i worry about as you know i am an avid skateboarder and like to do the salsa and hand stands etc while getting around, only last week i was crossing sunset blvd doing my thing when a certain blonde driving a streched roller ran over me,, she told the cop she was analysing my assets and forgot how to stop the car , what was it OSCAR said about wiminn and swiss cheese, anyway the cop gave me back my skateboard and told me go home and put on some clothes ,never never cross the road where there are wimminn drivers CHEERS GM

Anonymous said...

GMimust apologise in advance to the good ladies anna and ella for my harsh remarks about wimminn drivers as the cop said its wise to wear some clothes when doing hand stands on a skateboard perhaps iam partially to blame

Anonymous said...

Anna interesting equation though after driving the streets of dublin yesterday evening and observing a number of instances - which consistently happen - always about 10 to 20 % of drivers I am convinced the problems of this country could never be brought to a compitent conclusion.

I dont honestly know what happened to this city - it was always a mad place - but over the last 3 to 4 years a new attitude has taken hold on the roads. Almost like an irrational machoism on steroids which I suppose could be called Me Feinism (and women here are as bad as men).

A form of yob or ladism where the offending driver doesnt give a toss what they do to annoy or antagonise fellow drivers. Seems to be they cant stand you passing by them without making some demonstration to let you know they are there.

Why is driving in dublin such a nasty horrible experience, why is there not more blogs and posts which tell it like it is? What do people hope to achieve by constantly brushing reality under the carpet?

Its obvious whats going to happen here.

The economy will recover. Nothing essentially will change.
Dublin will eventually get a half decent public transport system in 30 or 40 years.

Moral life will detereriorate in Ireland. Normal "life" will become impossible in Dublin. Of course you wont be allowed (the nod and the wink) to articulate this as its dear old Ireland afterall. Etc Etc.......

But do you know what those in power will still make decisions like imposing the 30KM speed limit in the city centre. Factions and Me Feiners in combination with yobism dont make a decent place to live.......

The Gombeen Man said...

Mr BH, I hope that Paris Hilton is not harrassing you again there in Beverly Hills?

Yes, Anon - the worst thing is your observation that "nothing essentially will change". We Irish don't do change... we just get shafted perpetually.

Ella said...

Hi GM, If I might use your excellent blog to leave a message for Mr. BH. Please and thanks.

Hi Mr BH, It's a real shame you've abandoned that Kerrygold thong. Still .... I can imagine you'd cause quite a stir on the skateboard naked (an image your pp would have loved, particularly when you were in your youth). Us wimminn aren't complaining that you've decided to go au naturel on the skateboard. Have a good day.

Ella said...

Hi GM, I reckon lots of us motorists would have no problem sticking to the 30kph speed limit on the quays if Mr BH were to holiday here with his skateboard!

Ella said...

Hi GM, Dublin City Council have listened to the public. That's what the Labour Lord Mayor said. She's blaming the AA and taxi lobby for not making submissions before the Council brought in the speed limit. Even Gilmore has admitted they got it wrong, Lord Mayor very slow to do the same. DCC are to have a meeting on 01 March (some 3 weeks away!) where the 30kph speed limit will be discussed. Fine Gael's Bill Tormey is hoping the decision will be reversed. Tormey also mentioned that when it was been discussed, first time round that Labour's Dermot Lacey told him he had it wrong when being one of 3 councillors voting against it. It should be noted that Dermot is being a tad opportunist now and thinks 30kph is too slow. Opportunist because of the public's reaction. Apparently he tottled down the Quays in his motor and found it difficult to stick to 30kph, pity he didn't drive down the Quays BEFORE voting.

Get Smart said...

Expect to see a lot more of this, 30 km means more fines more money for them.
Look over the water to the UK to see how things are going to change there you cant leave your house without the councils permission. Drop an apple core on the street a £60 fine. You are found guilty via post the fine arrives you pay up or its doubled and so on. No court case you are deemed to be guilty. Its all part of the EUs plans to give unelected council bureaucrats more power over peoples lives. Fines are just another form of tax.

Anonymous said...

Get Smart, its worrying. Funnily enough Ireland always adopts the worst aspects and characteristics of systems in other juristictions. Always. They cant seem to use imagination. If they see a disfunctional system it will be adopted, simply because they can. Its insanity Irish style. Water charges will be a prime example. They made a complete bags of it in the UK, of course they want to do the same here. They cant help themselves.

The Gombeen Man said...

And their deployment of speed cameras will, no doubt, follow the same discredited model.

Anonymous said...

Yes GM totally agree with you. Though the problem is, whats next???? What other revenue measures are they "thinking up."

The Gombeen Man said...

I'm sure we'll find out soon enough, mate. :-(

SaS said...

I reckon the DCC were using the 30kph as a way of sneaking in congestion charges. Forcing everyone to drive at such a low speed all the time would give the impression that the city roads were packed 24/7. Especially if the traffic lights just happened to turn red in sequence.
The daft thing is that the speed limit affected buses and taxis more than it did private cars. Most private motorists go through the city at rush hour and can't get over 25kph most of the time. Outside rush hour, when you need public transport to move as quickly as possible, you now have the ludicrous situation of all traffic crawling along. All this does is lead to impatience in drivers and cause them to do something impetuous and dangerous.
Montague is an idiot and his party are even worse for backing him up...