Cork Cycling Campaign has said that cycle paths should be swept as a priority by the council to reduce the risk of cyclists slipping and falling from their bikes.
Dr Dean Venables, chairperson of the Cork Cycling Campaign, said that we are at a time of year when leaves are falling thick and fast and this can pose a problem for cyclists.
Dr Venables, who is a lecturer in atmospheric chemistry at UCC, said there are a number of areas in Cork that are badly affected by the leaves, including along Carrigrohane Road from Ballincollig, Blackrock, Curraheen Greenways, and the road to the airport.
“The risk is obvious,” he said.
“Leaves are slippery, hide obstacles and hazards like sticks, glass, rocks, and potholes. And braking quickly becomes tricky.
“Adults and children will sometimes fall and hurt themselves under these circumstances.”
Dr Venables said that while it is an issue on flat roads, it is even worse on hilly routes such as the cycle lane from the airport to the city.
“Imagine the risks associated with trying to brake quickly on a leaf-covered downhill slope with heavy vehicles nearby,” he said.
“These paths need to be swept as a priority.
“More importantly, the city and county councils need a seasonally-appropriate schedule for cleaning cycle lanes and shared walking and cycling paths.”
The UCC lecturer said that the council should be more aware of the issue and also said that there are other benefits to be gained from the activity.
“It’s not a surprise that leaves fall at this time of year,” he said.
“Paths should be swept about three times from mid-October to early December and after major storms.
“Pedestrians and runners would also benefit for clean paths, and regular sweeping would reduce leaves blocking drains along the road.
“Sweeping costs little and is one of the easiest ways for the council to show that it takes sustainability seriously, and values walking and cycling.”
The Cork Cycling Campaign meets on the first Tuesday of every month (except August) at 7pm at Crawford and Company.