WHILE the cycle-lanes have attracted untold vitriol from the public since they arrived a year and half ago, one Dundalk cyclist believes there is an anti-cyclist rhetoric to a lot of the debate.
In fact Nada Williams believes that the public anger has grown disproportionately thanks rabble rousing by both online and traditional media.
“What else could they have done I ask people,” says Nadia, speaking to the Democrat.
“The town engineer has addressed this, if motorists adhered to the law, there wouldn’t be a difficulty.”
Nadia, who lives on Chapel Street, believes there is a anti-cycling culture in Dundalk which makes cycling “hell” for people on two wheels.
Both Nadia and her husband, both of whom are from South Africa, have joined the Cycling Alliance, as they feel that there is no platform to express a pro-cycling sentiment in Dundalk.
“Cyclists are regularly shouted and abused in Dundalk, and some members of cycling clubs have had people throw things at them, and this is not to mention the general disregard for cyclists in Dundalk and in Ireland in general.
“Ireland has a reputation abroad as having an anti-cycling attitude. It’s a shame because the country could earn revenue from what is a multi-million euro tourist industry.
“Ireland is an extremely attractive place to cycle as it is mainly quite flat, but you also have excellent mountain biking in the Cooley Pennisula. Yet, because of motorists, the country has a poor reputation.”
Nadia says the situation in Dundalk is so bad that her teenage daughter is scared to go cycling.
“There i s a fear of cycling. Even my daughter is hesitant about cycling here now.”
“Pedal pushers in Dundalk find themselves in a difficult position. Cycle on the road, and you’re often exposed to dangerous driving. Motorists’ attitudes range from oblivious to openly aggressive. Few have an understanding of your fears, concerns, and limitations. If you feel unsafe on the road, your only choice is to take to footpaths: breaking the law, risking fines and pedestrians’ anger no matter how careful or cautious you are.
“Cycle lanes? Don’t make me laugh. Those which have been built are condemned and vilified.
“Motorists show their contempt and aggression by using these lanes like their own personal parking bays, of course forcing you into the path of their fellow drivers, who then get angry that you dare get in their way.
“All this is the cyclist’s reward for taking to a bike instead of a car.
“This is thanks for not contributing to traffic congestion, for not taking up limited parking space in town, for NOT polluting the air, for sacrificing your convenience for the greater good.
“Those who dare speak out in favour of the cyclist’s cause on social platforms get banned or shouted down.
“ I’ve so often heard people say of the cycle lanes: “It’s a disgrace.”
The real disgrace is in how this town treats its cyclists,” concludes Nadia.