Ballincollig Bike Campaign said that more maintenance of cycle paths needs to be carried out.
Members of the campaign got together and removed large amounts of gravel from the worst affected sections of the bike lanes along the Carrigrohane Road (also known as ‘the straight road’) which links Ballincollig to Cork city.
“We asked the County Council several times, on Twitter and via email, to address the maintenance issues on the cycle paths and cycle lanes along the straight road, as this is the only dedicated cycling/pedestrian infrastructure connecting Ballincollig to the city,” said Conor O’Donovan of the Ballincollig Bike Campaign.
“This shared cycling/pedestrian path was in a really bad condition over the entire winter.
“On some section of the path, the organic debris was taking over half the path in some places, and had weeds growing in it,” he added.
“The remaining half of the path was strewn with gravel.
“The westbound section of the bike lane from the end of the Lee Fields Park to the Inchigaggin Road is still in a very bad condition but this was too dangerous for volunteers to work on as it is not segregated from road traffic.
“The entire cycling infrastructure of the Cork Metropolitan Area is only 100km,” he added. “A modified road sweeper travelling at 5kph would have every kilometre of bike paths in the Cork Metropolitan Area swept free of mud, glass, rubbish and debris in three days of work. This is not a huge request to place on Cork City Council and Cork County Council.”
Cork county council confirmed that it is responsible for the regular upkeep of the road.
A spokesperson for the council said there has been a substantial amount of cleaning of the side of the road from Inchigaggin towards the traffic lights at the junction with the R579, and scheduled footpath and cycle paths cleaning on the other side will be carried out over the next few weeks.
Cycling infrastructure maintenance needs to become a regular occurrence, according to Mr O’Donovan.
“It is frustrating to see grass being cut by the Council in the Lee Fields while you are navigating a dangerous bike path that has not been swept in a very long time,” he said.
“Census data from 2016 shows that circa 5,000 workers leave Ballincollig every morning but only 56 people do so on bicycles.
“Ballincollig is only 8 kilometres from the city centre,” he added.
“If it were a suburb of a Dutch or Danish city, you would expect to see up to 2,000 people commuting on their bikes every day.
“Long term, we can expect to see a greenway following the route of the River Lee from the Regional Park to the Mardyke but until then, Cork County Council and Cork City Council should be doing all they can to promote cycling.
“Cyclists are constantly reminded to wear their helmets and hi-vis clothing.
“Unfortunately, if a cyclist were to fall onto the road because of the poor condition of the bike paths on the straight road, a helmet or hi-vis jacket isn’t going to help them much.
“All too often, cycling infrastructure is upgraded or improved at a specific site after a fatal accident.
“Hopefully this matter will be resolved before a cyclist is seriously injured or killed on the straight road.”