National Transport Authority – No to Motorcycles

Back in March 2011, we brought you news of the National Transport Authority and their Draft Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area, 2011-2030.
At the time, we said;

MAG Ireland today highlights the absurdity of a strategy which willfully ignores our mode of transport – yes, you guessed it, there’s scarcely any mention of motorcycles at all save for the issue of parking at railway stations.

The National Transport Authority, in it’s former guise of the Dublin Transportation Office has a long history of being anti-motorcycle having branded riders “dangerous” in an official communication as far back as 2001. That response arose when bikers on the Motorcycle Ireland mailing list asked why motorcycles were not included in the  Dublin Transportation Office’s survey on commuting. MAG Ireland’s then chairman, the late John Wheeler, challenged the Dublin Transportation Office on this issue at the time but with limited success.

Despite our deep misgivings about the National Transport Authority, MAG Ireland decided to take a constructive approach and to engage with the quango in the consultation process. To this end we spent a considerable amount of time going over the consultation document and producing a carefully thought out and detailed response that addressed the issues put forward by the NTA from the point of view of the Irish motorcyclist.

Our key concerns were;

  • The failure to make the modal distinction between cars & motorcycles
  • Placing the road users who contribute most to the exchequer at the bottom of the transport hierarchy
  • Proposals to remove N-Road designations inside the M50
  • Plans for further “road user charging” including a “per kilometre charge”

There were many more measures, such as the use of bus lanes by motorcycles on which we made a positive and constructive contribution. You can download our response to the consultation document by clicking here. (PDF, 250 kb)

The National Transport Authority has since published the final version of it’s Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area, 2011-2030. It’s on their web site at:

As might be expected of an organisation which has a history of ignoring motorcycles and their riders, almost every MAG contribution was either ignored or rejected out of hand.

The following table aggregates all the NTA responses relation to our submission (No. 117). It makes for an interesting insight into how the NTA willfully ignored the evidence we presented, and stuck to it’s traditional strategy of obfuscation & denial.

Planning Parking PLAN2-7 117 Parking policy for Powered Two wheelers (motorbikes) should be considered This is a matter for local authorities – they may wish to mandate
a minimum percentage of parking spaces for motorbikes in their development
plan parking standards.
No change required
Walking 30 km/h
RD3-1 13, 16, 17,
27, 30, 32,
62, 117,
Restrict or abandon 30 kph limit or lowering of limits – or provide evidence of need/benefits. Lower speed motor traffic has a significant impact on pedestrian and cyclist
safety, and severity of
accidents when they occur, and improve sense of security for pedestrians
and cyclists as well as
leading to reduced traffic noise levels. The exact locations and extents
of any individual proposal will
be assessed as part of each individual scheme proposal.
No change required
Walking General WK2-3 100, 117,
121, 122,
123, 127,
147, 149,
180, 192
Support walk and cycle policy and identify further
potential in this area.
Noted. No change required
Cycling Policy CYC1-7 117 Cycle policy should include powered two wheelers The role of powered two wheelers will be dealt with in the Roads section
(Chapter 11)
No change required
Cycle Infrastructure CYC2-6 117 Oppose cycle contraflows The introduction of contra-flow cycle facilities on an urban one way system
can significantly improve directness of cycle routes. The National Cycle
Manual provides for contra-flow cycle lanes in certain
No change required
PT8-9 117 PTWs (motorbikes, mopeds etc.) should be allowed to use bus lanes/gates The Strategy does not support the use of bus lanes by motorbikes for reasons
of cyclist and pedestrian safety and perceptions of safety.
No change required.
Roads Other RD7-4 117 Opposed to declassification of certain national roads inside M50, as Local Authorities will place inappropriate speed limits on former national roads and not maintain them Following the completion of the M50 C-ring, the Authority considers that
roads currently designated
as national roads within the M50 (other than the Port Tunnel and a route
to Dun Laoghaire Port) no
longer perform a national traffic role, and should therefore be declassified
as national roads. This will
facilitate more appropriate traffic management arrangements for these roads,
suiting their local
(primarily urban) circumstances. Road maintenance is a matter for government
and local authorities.
No change required
Other Motorbikes/
OTH 1-5 117, 33, 194 Motorbikes should be considered more prominently. Motorbikes have been considered at all stages of the Strategy development. No change required
Other Motorbikes/
OTH 1-47 117 Need to reflect Action 20 of Smarter Travel which states “we will look at ways of affording traffic priority to motorised transport such as mopeds and segways in congested areas”. The possibility of permitting motorbikes to use bus lanes was considered
during the development of the Strategy but was not taken forward, because
of the potential negative impacts on pedestrian and cyclist safety and perceptions
of safety.
No change required

At this point we could go through the NTA response and demonstrate the evidence we submitted, but this would clearly be a pointless exercise given that the NTA has no intention of listening to or including motorcyclists in any way shape or form.

What we have here is a classic example of the latent hostility towards all things motorcycle related, born of the perverse view that motorcycles are a “problem” to which some “solution” must be found. This transport strategy is fundamentally flawed, and the people responsible for it have demonstrated that they simply don’t care.

It now stands as a monument to what happens when the authorities refuse to listen to riders even where it’s manifestly in the interests of all concerned.

MAG Ireland is dissapointed but not surprised at this outcome. We will continue to work at breaking down the barriers of ignorance and misunderstanding erected by those who would much prefer we simply put off the roads in the first place.