Greyways – An Irish Solution to an Irish Problem

A Greyway?

It is with some concern that that we read about “Greyways” in the details of the government’s July Stimulus package. We googled “Greyways” and found no reference to Greyways pertaining to cycle infrastructure. There is also no reference to Greyways in the National Cycle Manual, the Design Manual for Urban Road and Streets or Rural Cycleway Design. So it appears to be yet another Irish solution to an Irish problem. Lack of quality cycle infrastructure is not an Irish problem – it is a world wide problem in many if not most countries.

Converting hard shoulders to cycle infrastructure is not a recent idea. Back in 2012-13, the Department of Transport funded a number of such schemes. An example was the R420 between Tullamore and Clara in Offaly.

As far as I am aware, one of the requirements for the scheme was that local councils had to include counters to measure the effectiveness of the scheme but there appears to never have been any publication of the results. Nevertheless, although there was no official announcement of its failure, the initiative was soon abandoned and the Department made clear that they were not going to fund such infrastructure in the future.

The July Stimulus package claims:

             “This would provide better and safer cycle facilities, between towns and villages,         facilitate modal shift and also help to reduce vehicle speeds because of reduced    carriageway widths. “

The addition of cycle logos has been proven not to protect vulnerable road users. While such hard shoulders are used by road cyclists, most people perceive them not to be safer especially where the speed limit is 80 or 100 km/hr?  They also do nothing to facilitate modal shift. They may help to reduce vehicle speeds of the majority of drivers but what is the evidence that they reduce the vehicle speed of the fastest drivers? We may be premature in jumping to conclusions about the quality of proposed infrastructure but we will wait and see.

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