Cyclists should have bells on bikes, Limerick activist says

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

CYCLISTS in the city need to be more aware of pedestrians and stop listening to personal stereos when they are out cycling, according to community activist, Sean O’Neill.

CYCLISTS in the city need to be more aware of pedestrians and stop listening to personal stereos when they are out cycling, according to community activist, Sean O’Neill.

Mr O’Neill, from Quinn’s Cottages in Prospect, said cyclists are using public pathways in addition to cycle lanes and pose a danger to the public.

“Many cyclists are listening to radio or tape devices while they cycle and this impairs their ability to be fully aware of their surroundings,” he explained.

Mr O’Neill, a spokesman for Republicn Sinn Fein, also wants all cyclists to have bells, so that pedestrians can work out the distance a bike happens to be behind them.

He said that before Limerick City Council continues encouraging the use of sustainable transport, basic safety regulations need to be put in place.

“While the move to cycle transport is being encouraged by the local authority there are no basic safety rules that are applied. The provision of cycle lanes is welcome but pedestrians must also be protected,” he explained.

Mr O’Neill compared the use of personal stereos by cyclists to car drivers using their mobile phones.

He added: “If it is against the law for a motorist to use a mobile phone while driving, surely there is a equal danger posed by a cyclist who is listening to a tape device while cycling. This is an area that needs to be examined before some pedestrians are injured by careless cyclists in Limerick.”

Limerick City Council recently won a €10m funding boost from government to provide smarter travel solutions.

This includes a feasibility study for guided bus routes.

But in the short term, it will see more cycle and bus lanes across the city and its surrounds.

Mayor Gerry McLoughlin, a keen cyclist himself fully agreed with Mr O’Neill’s sentiments.

He said: “Any ideas to increase safety for pedestrians is welcome. I cycle a lot to get to work and for fitness, and you are going to come across people who are walking on trails and pathways. Bells would make them aware.”

“There is room for both pedestrians and cyclists on the pathway. Everyone should be as visible as possible, have as much light and colour,have their bell,” he said.

However, the Mayor acknowledged some people enjoy listening to personal stereos, and said he does not believe this to be an issue.