Tips for Cycling in Dublin
A cyclist guide by Jade Connor
1. Heads Up!
- Beware of buses and taxis that may pull into the cycle lane to let out or pick up passengers, this is a hazard for the cyclist.
- Beware of pedestrians jaywalking on the road, they might be bolder stepping out in front of a bike than they would with a car, or they may not even look where they are going.
- Beware of Luas tracks. Even if you carefully cycle over Luas tracks at an angle, there are certain conditions that you cannot prevent as a cyclist and weather is one. The tracks can be slippy in the rain and greasy in the sun and so it is best to take care when cycling over them. As well as this, your tyre can become lodged into the track itself which could cause an accident.
- Beware of other cyclists that are swerving in between traffic and cutting across you as you cycle, or cyclists that are making dangerous decisions on the road. It’s clever to avoid, at best, these types of cyclists and to be aware that cyclists can be dangerous too.
2. Getting your bike serviced
Where to go?
Dublin is well stocked with bike shops ranging from high-end bikes to second hand bikes. Determining what type of bike you require helps narrow down your search as to what bike shop you should visit. Bike shops may be keen to upsell products to you that you do not need – so know your budget and stick to it.
Are you being overcharged?
- A general service check ranges from 30 to 40 euro, depending on what they find.
- A changed tube (including a new tube) ranges from 5 to10 euro (with or without fitting respectively).
- A new tyre ranges from 25/30 euro to 45/50 euro, depending on the type of bike.
3. Planning your route
It is important to plan your cycle route before getting on the road. It’s more efficient to do so and leaves less up to risk. Some roads in Dublin city centre are one way routes, and some routes may provide a cycle lane while others may not. Planning your route before your cycle best informs you on what to expect on the road for your cycle. For me, I don’t like turning right on a junction and so I will choose a different route to avoid having to do so. Small adjustments to the route will allow for a more comfortable cycle, as you can tailor it to your own preferences which may range from safety to a quicker route.
If you are new to the bike or a nervous cyclist, it is a good idea to cycle the route you plan to use on your commute when it is not busy to familiarise yourself with it.
4. Personal Prep
The Gear you need:
- A high vis vest. The RSA provide free high visibility products on their website which also has free shipping. See the website attached. https://www.rsaorders.ie/orders-online/. There really is no excuse.
- A helmet. Helmets can range in price not only by brand but by design, I got mine about 4 years ago and it is still serving me well. There are more expensive branded helmets available in bike shops if that is what you are looking for.
- Lights for your bike. Lights should be placed both on the front and at the back of your bike. The lights can be picked up at a cheap price in most euro shops. Rechargeable lights can also be found in bike shops but they may be more expensive.
- A lock. It is recommended that 2 locks are used to secure your bike. The locks are called a U Lock and a Cable lock. The Cable lock is generally cheaper but considered a low security locking measure when used alone. Although using two locks is regarded as the safest way to lock your bike, many people simply lock their bike with one lock. It is important to note that bike theft in Dublin is an issue – as a general rule of thumb, you should spend 10% of what your bike cost on your lock e.g. if your bike cost 400 euro then no less than 40 euro should be spent on your lock.
- Toolkit. This is optional for the preparation. Although it can be useful to have a toolkit for the bike, it is not entirely necessary as you can bring your bike to a bike repair shop to fix up any problems that may arise with your bike. Or if your workplace has a Travel Plan, you could suggest they provide bicycle repair toolkits for use by staff.
5. Cycling etiquette
Are you a hazard for other commuters?
Take responsibility for yourself as cyclist. If you choose to travel on a bike, follow the rules of the road, then stick to them. If you choose to travel on pavements, then dismount your bike and follow the rules of a pedestrian. Don’t claim both rights and interact in the space as both a vehicle on the road and a pedestrian – its unsafe for yourself, pedestrians, cars and other cyclists. It is hazardous to cycle on a footpath (and an offence unless entering or existing a property), as no one knows what space you are claiming to take and therefore cannot judge how you will interact with the spaces both on the road and on the footpaths.
Footpaths are for pedestrians. If you feel unsafe cycling on a certain part of the road, then dismount your bike and walk with it on the footpath, as to not be a hazard to pedestrians walking on the footpath. When there is a green light for pedestrians to walk, do not weave through them as it is not your right to that space. Either dismount your bike and walk with the pedestrians through the light, or wait for the green light for the vehicles to move and cycle alongside the cars.
Finally, try not to cycle with headphones in. Listening to music can inhibit the sounds on the road that make you more aware of your surroundings. The same goes for answering a call while cycling and using your phone while cycling.
Happy cycling – and check out SYSTRA’s Cycling Case Studies here