Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has said that improvements must be made to ensure safer conditions for cyclists in the North County.

The Fingal based Senator said, “Cycling is an important feature of tourism in our area given the unique and picturesque landscape along the east coast. Visitors come from all over the world to cycle along some of the almost 90km of coastline stretching from Sutton to Balbriggan.

“The latest road safety figures for 2017 clearly show that new measures are needed to help protect cyclists on our roads, particularly here in Fingal where there are narrow country backroads with frequent bends and poor visibility.

“I very much welcome Fingal County Council’s plans to roll out a bike sharing scheme in the area on a pilot basis. The scheme has the potential to become a more feasible alternative for many local residents commuting to and from parts of the county.

“Many people in our area have raised the lack of pedestrian footpaths and cycle lanes across the county. With more and more of Fingal’s young population getting out on bikes, we need to establish a long-term vision for safe cycling.

“In order to ensure ongoing quality improvements to cycle lanes and road verges in the North County, Fianna Fáil has consistently proposed to put in place a funding scheme which earmarks a portion of the Local Government Fund.

“While the new M1 distribution road which is under construction at the moment will include a cycle lane, once cyclists come onto the Hearse Road, there will be no lane for cyclists.

“We already struggle with capacity on our transport system; we can only encourage more people to use bikes if the conditions are safe for them to do so.

“The introduction of minimum pass distances for motorists will go some way towards protecting cyclists but in tandem we need to better invest in the quality of roads and cycle lanes condition.

“The Government needs to send a signal that it is serious about protecting cyclists.”