19 February 2010

Dublin's Two-Wheeled Taliban

Dublin Bicycles
Dublin. 1961.

The frightening "Two-wheeled Taliban" terrorize the streets of the Irish capital.
Dublin Bicycles
Like I always say, welcome to Bicycle Culture 2.0. We've been there before. We're there again in many cities. We're going there again in many, many others. Time to get used to it.

Will Dublin be at the head of the pack or lagging behind? Hopefully I'll be visiting in June to check it all out.

Photos spotted on the quite brilliant How To Be A Retronaut. Thanks to Alexander for the link.


Millie said...

I'm quite sure it will be lagging behind! The rest of our lovely little country sure is! One of our well known radio presenters cycles to work in Dublin, the stories he tells... Apparently you take your life in your own hands!
Millie in Ireland

Mark said...

These pictures are amazing - if it has happened before why isn't it happening again? Answer: the road environment just isn't felt to be safe. Look how small the vehicles on the road are, and look how de-cluttered the actual road surace and surrounds are too. Lastly, look how smooth the road surface is! All these things add up to deter cycling.

I notice that all those cyclists look quite happy but not a single one of them has a hi-viz jacket or helmet on either... it says a lot; we need to re-capture a little of this 'normality' around cycling as it just doesn't exist in the UK and Ireland any more :o(

l' homme au velo said...

These Pictures bring back Happy Memories of Childhood Days when I had my Raleigh Triumph Three Speed Bicycle.People are trying their best to recapture those Days again but it is an uphill struggle.

There is a fight between the Cyclists & Pedestrians against the Motorists Groups chiefly the AA and big Business to try and improve the Infrastructure in Ireland. It is very hard to bring any initiative in without it being compromised by the AA and the Business Community.

First off lately was the Bus Gate through College Green and Dame Street where Cars were to be banned. Then a Watered down version was adopted to the rush hour period .This was at Christmas time,the AA and Department Stores got an Injunction to try and Ban it completely. Resulting in it being adopted in the Morning only for the Christmas period. They complained they would lose Business around the Grafton Street Area. The problem is not banning Cars but the Recession which is causing a loss of business,to much VAT and People have little Money anymore resulting in People going up to Northern Ireland to escape all the Taxation. The Busgate has been restored now and Business is picking up slightly in the Grafton Street area.

The Dublin City Council has just Extended the 30KPH Zone in the Central core of the City,it is just a small area of the City. Not much but it is a help to Cyclists and most importantly the Pedestrians as it gives a brief respite from the speeding Traffic. Result the same Old Gang again complaining that it will hold up the Motorist and Trade in the City,The AA and big Business Interests. But there is a Groundswell of support for this 30KPH Limit in the City mostly from the Pedestrians and those living in the City and also the Cyclists Organisations like the Dublin Cycling Campaign. They can all Sight the various International Studies who recommend the adoption of the 30 KPH Limit in Cities and Towns throughout the World.

There is still an Athmosphere of too much Car Dependency in Ireland that is hard to shake off. There is starting to be an awful lot of Obese People to be seen driving around in those 4+4 Suv's. You can see them in the Morning and early afternoons on the School Runs dropping off and picking up their Children and some of those Children are Chronically Obese.

John-Henry said...

Maybe you should try and get him to leave out the scary parts and emphasize the great things about it.

Like how he can chat with lovely girls on their bikes (and sometimes gets their phone numbers) and that it energizes him and gets him to work faster and cheaper than car or bus/trolly.

Kevin said...

Nice post. If you're over we'll have to organise a nice big "Dublin cyclist beers" session :)

Anyway, as a daily commuter in Dublin I have to say the cycling scene here is gathering pace. Drivers generally are ok. I find the foreign taxi and bus drivers have no idea how to treat cyclists... but that will change.

In the center of the city the speed limit is now 30KPH, which is great. There's also systems in place to block cars from main areas of the city during rush hours, avoiding gridlock, pollution and noise at those times and giving the streets back to the people.

Dublin city council also plans to open more bike parking areas. There are loads of places to lock up (officially and unofficially) but there's an entire floor of a car park in the city that is free to use, covered by CCTV and security guards and only usable by bikes. Cars have to go up the ramp to the next level to park!

On top of that, Dublin bikes (the practically free bike rental scheme that operates throughout the city center) is the most successful implementation of such a scheme as far as I'm aware. No robbed bikes, no damaged bikes and far more trips taken on them then expected has made this hugely popular service front-page good news fodder for cyclists. On top of that, the government (through businesses) has a scheme called "bike2work" where you can spend up to €1000 on a bike & accessories, tax free!

Nearly every week travelling in and out of the city I notice more and more people taking to bikes. Getting fitter, and making life easier for pedestrians. It's lovely to travel in a pack of cyclists - have a conversation about how bad taxi drivers are and so on. Nice community spirit between complete unknowns in a city of 1.6 million metropolitan. <3 cycling :)

It's not at critical mass yet, but damn, we're getting there! I'm determined, via twitter, my blog and my loud shouting on the streets to make Dublin as cyclist friendly as Copenhagen or Amsterdam :)

Larey said...

One big difference between then and now, drivers had to be courteous to bike riders because there was a good chance the cyclists was your next door neighbor, or your child's teacher, or your friends mum. Anymore cyclists are "others" (in most places) and we simply don't count.

spiderleggreen said...

Wow, that guy really stretches that metaphor. As for who would qualify as the Taliban of Transportation, I think th0se with 4 wheelers had better look in the mirror(and not the rearview one!). The "My way or the highway" crowd has much less concern for the rights of their fellows, than those with 2. The 2 wheelers are looking over their shoulder to make sure a burly 4 wheeler isn't going to take them out. I could be that Ireland is like America, in that facts don't count as much a good put down.

R said...

Kevin, I just moved to Dublin and dying to get into the bicycle scene over here. Would love info on your blog and twitter. :-)