Belfast Telegraph

Cyclists demand action on illegally parked car chaos

By Amanda Poole

Commuter cyclists find their journey through Belfast routinely blocked by illegally parked vehicles, according to a new survey.

The Belfast Cycle Lane Survey Report has investigated the problems cyclists face on the city’s busy roads on their way to and from work.

The report — compiled and analysed by researchers at the Centre of Excellence for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast — found that many find their dedicated road space unusable during the morning and evening rush hour.

Over five days from July 23, nine volunteers recorded instances of illegally parked vehicles on their usual cycle commuting route.

The survey, co-ordinated by Jonathan Hobbs through the Northern Ireland Greenways awareness campaign, revealed a typical journey between home and work included five cars blocking an operational bus lane or a cycle lane within an urban clearway restricted area.

For every kilometre of a clearway controlled cycle lane, or operational bus lane, there were an average of 4.5 illegally parked vehicles observed.

This meant that volunteers met an illegal route blockage on every three minutes of a typical journey.

The highest recorded number of illegally parked cars on a survey journey was 39.

The Springfield-Grosvenor corridor in west Belfast had the highest consistent rate of illegal parking, at 26 blockages per trip.

The two days with the greatest occurrences of illegal parking were Monday and Tuesday.

A spokesman for NI Greenways said the survey results puts clear evidence in the hands of frustrated Belfast commuter cyclists.

“Roads Service investment in cycle lanes is effectively wasted public money if the target road users are prevented from using them,” he said.

“Roads Service is also responsible for parking enforcement in Belfast, so it is also within their gift to tackle the issue.

“Greater awareness is needed among drivers that parking in bus lanes, or cycle lanes during urban clearway restrictions, is not only illegal, but puts other road users in danger,” he said.

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