NEW BYLAWS aimed at making County Limerick’s public parks safer had to be changed at the last minute after concerns were expressed that one clause would have made it illegal to cycle in many areas.
When Limerick County Council presented its final draft bylaws regulating the use of parks, playgrounds and multi-use games areas to councillors, issues were raised about certain sections of the proposals.
A sticking point for many councillors was a clause which read that cycling would be “generally prohibited unless otherwise indicated in signage and specially dedicated cycle routes being provided”.
A number of councillors voiced concerns that in parks without dedicated cycle lanes, such as the Demesne in Newcastle West, cyclists would technically be breaking the law until the council was able to erect signs stating that bikes were allowed.
Cllr Michael Collins called for the relevant section of the bylaw to be deleted altogether, as the wording was “too loose”.
Cllr Damien Riedy, meanwhile, said that the wording was “very generic”, and stated that “to take bicycles out of the [Newcastle West] Demesne would be wrong”.
Cllr Kevin Sheahan queried who would enforce the minutiae of the bylaws, particularly in relation to its more minor rules, as “the gardai are not park attendants”.
Cllr Mary Jackman welcomed measures to prohibit overage children ”abusing” playgrounds designed for younger children, while Cllr Bill O’Donnell called for a “common sense approach” to cycling.
He welcomed the bylaws as a whole, describing them as a tool for the council “if someone is causing a nuisance”.
Josephine Cotter-Coughlan, director of environment services, said that the council “will do our best” to enforce the regulations “with our own resources”.
A vote was passed amending its wording to allow cycling where there are signs and/or cycle lanes.