Roadside lectures? Let’s get the basics right first.

MAG Ireland has been made aware of a piece in today’s Irish Times by Tim O’Brien (click here) relating to a high visibility checkpoint mounted by Gardai in Dame St. yesterday, 7th April, targeting vulnerable road users – specifically pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.

While MAG Ireland supports many road safety initiatives by An Garda Siochana such as the excellent “BikeSafe” initiative, we feel there’s a particular resonance in stopping & lecturing motorcyclists about safety on the very street they’re prevented from using during the operating hours of the contentious bus gate at College Green.

We know from you, our members, that many of you feel an ongoing sense of deep injustice in the way the bus gate situation was implemented because a ban intended to prevent congestion caused by cars at peak times arbitrarily included motorcycles. Why? Because the authorities concerned were too dogmatic to recognise that motorcycles help to reduce congestion, and do not add to it.

Furthermore, the most recent transport strategy document from the National Transport Authority utterly fails to make the modal distinction between single track modes (bicycles, scooters, mopeds & motorcycles) and twin track modes (cars, vans, buses & trucks), yet claims to be “inclusive”. To the NTA, “inclusive” clearly does not extend to motorcyclists who are lumped in with cars as part of the problem, and not with modally similar bicycles as part of the solution. Yet again we have a failure by the transport planning “experts” in the National Transport Authority to understand the most basic fact of all – a motorcycle is not a car!. MAG Ireland will be publishing our submission to the NTA on this flawed strategy shortly.

We have consistently called for the immediate extension of designated bus lane access from the current limited Dublin city center locations to all with-flow bus lanes across the state. Furthermore, MAG Ireland calls for the immediate lifting of the prohibition on motorcycles using the bus gate at Dame Street/College Green during operational hours. It is our belief that this simple zero cost measure would do much more for motorcycle safety than stopping riders and lecturing us on the very street which demonstrates the negativity of the transport authorities towards us as road users.

As motorcyclists, we’re only too well aware of our vulnerability, and in the main we ride defensively to counter the sort of hazards presented by drivers who persist in using mobile phones (but rarely indicators or mirrors). In MAG Ireland’s view these roadside lectures might better directed at the car drivers responsible for as many as seven in ten crashes involving a bike and a car.