Dirty bike lanes in Limerick are a vicious cycle

Cllr Leddin has hit out at the "dirt and grit" on Limerick's cycle lanes.

LABOUR Party councillor Joe Leddin wants Limerick City and County Council to allocate an annual budget towards the maintenance and cleaning of cycle lanes throughout the city.

The City West representative has called on the council’s Active Travel department to ensure that cycle lanes are properly maintained on a periodic basis to ensure the safety of cyclists.

“There has been a significant increase in the roll-out of cycle lanes, in particular segregated lanes to encourage a shift from car dependency as a safe means to travel around the city and suburbs. However, many of these lanes are now covered in leaves, twigs, and various debris making their use as cycle lanes dangerous and slippery,” Cllr Leddin told the Limerick Post.

“Our existing cleansing department crews are under huge pressure to keep our footpaths and roads clean and they simply do not have the resources in terms of machinery or manpower to take on the regular maintenance of our cycle lanes.”

According to Cllr Leddin, the design of the new cycle lanes require smaller cleansing machines in order to access and travel along the lanes in an effort to clean up debris and leaves.

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“If we fail to properly clean and maintain these cycle lanes, they will continue to gather leaves dirt and grit, leading to weed growth and an unsightly appearance.

“The Active Travel department is being funded by the National Transport Authority (NTA) to the tune of millions on an annual basis to build these cycle lanes, but we must equally ensure that they are properly maintained on a periodic basis to ensure the safety of cyclists.”

In response, the Active Travel department told the Limerick Post that it is acutely aware of the need to ensure Limerick’s cycle network, which is continuing to be enhanced, is serviceable and safe for all road users.

“In June 2022, the National Transport Authority (NTA) provided Active Travel with funding to purchase two mini sweepers, which are deployed throughout Limerick’s cycle network as part of efforts to keep segregated cycle lanes free of debris. These sweepers remain operational throughout the Metropolitan area,” a spokesman for the Active Travel department said.

“The Active Travel team’s annual funding allocation from the National Transport Authority is for the design, planning, and construction of new cycle lane proposals, as well as staffing costs associated with same. At present, there is no specific cleaning allocation via NTA funding. Limerick City and County Council will continue to raise the issue with the NTA in an attempt to determine if such an allocation can be provided in the future.”