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Campaigners slam Dublin tram operator for “irresponsible cyclists” video

Speculation that campaign showing poor riding is timed to deflect from criticism of Luas over cycle safety

Cycling campaigners in Dublin have questioned the timing of a video released by Luas, the city’s tram network, which attacks “irresponsible cyclists” and believe it is a response for their own calls for tram tracks to be made safer for people on bikes.

A video launched alongside the Be Tram Aware campaign shoes several instances of collisions or near misses between cyclists and trams in the Irish capital.

The tram operator said: "Luas drivers acted quickly and correctly in each incident and nobody was seriously injured in any of these incidents.

"This video shows some of the irresponsible cyclist behaviour that Luas drivers see on a daily basis and which puts both cyclists and Luas passengers in danger.

"Our aim is to educate cyclists about how to cycle safely around Luas. We are asking all Dublin cyclists to #BeTramAware and check out how to Cycle Safely Around Luas."

Earlier this month, Dublin Cycling called for rubber strips similar to those used in many cities on the continent to be inserted in tram tracks to prevent wheels of bicycles from becoming stuck there.

> Dublin cyclists call for rubber strips to prevent Edinburgh-style tram injuries

Campaigners said they want to avoid a repeat of the situation in Edinburgh where hundreds of cyclists have sustained injuries after coming down on tram tracks.

When Edinburgh’s tram system was being built in 2012, a firm of solicitors described the tracks as “a fatality waiting to happen” unless steps were taken to safeguard cyclists and in May this year a cyclist lost her life after the wheel of her bike got stuck.

Medical student Zhi Min Soh died from the injuries she sustained when she was thrown from her bike and run over by a tourist minibus, with her death coinciding with the third anniversary of the system going live.

Campaigners in Dublin have warned that without safety measures being put in place, parts of the city centre could become “no-go zones” for people on bikes.

Some have speculated that the Luas video is an attempt to deflect of criticism of its own approach to safety by showing bike riders who apparently have little regard for their own.

Meanwhile, Joe Zefran, commenting on the Luas video on the I Bike Dublin Facebook page, tweeted a link to an article about cycle-friendly tram rails being trialled in Zurich, Switzerland.

He wrote: “That's funny because I was just going to post this link to show how irresponsible the foreign, for-profit Luas ‘owners’ are for not installing this technology ASAP.”

In response, I Bike Dublin said: “We're fully in agreement with you and how this Luas campaign has conveniently been timed with the news that they've failed to adequately plan and design the Luas around cyclists (which was in the media last week).

“We've questioned their ghastly language which borderlines on hate speech and incitement to hate on Twitter. They never ran a hate campaign asking for multiple RT of irresponsible drivers which is funny because drivers who break red lights are far more likely to injure and even kill. At least one person lost their life as a result of one driver running a red with the Luas in town. 

“This profit over people (and their safety) seems to be a recurring theme when it comes to the ‘owners’ of the Luas as can be seen with their other business ventures and interests abroad.”

They added: “Rather than tackle the issue of their failings they want to close off streets entirely to people on bicycles. Is this another Irish solution to an Irish problem?”

Luas – the name comes from the Irish word for ‘speed’ – began services in 2004 and comprises two lines. It is currently operated by the French firm, Transdev.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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16 comments

Avatar
Paul J | 6 years ago
1 like

The one at 35s might also be the tram's fault. It looks like the cyclist was stopped, waiting to turn right and the tram came along and went right alongside him, then clipped him. We'd have to see it a bit earlier - or from other tram's POV (which must exist). However, that example may have been deliberately edited to not show poor behaviour from the tram driver.

Avatar
HarrogateSpa | 6 years ago
0 likes

The right approach to cycling infrastructure is to make sure so far as possible that everyday carelessness and lack of attention don't lead to serious injuries and death.

The people in the video aren't doing anything malicious, but some of them are careless. The video is effectively saying 'get out of the way or we may kill you.' It's not a responsible message.

The tram system should be designed so that human error doesn't have major consequences. Clearly there's a problem with the design and/or with the way the trams are being operated.

I would make these points below the youtube video, but funnily enough, comments are disabled.

Avatar
leewalton | 6 years ago
0 likes

I think the people of Dublin should campaign for fully segregated tram tracks, so that trams no longer pose a threat to other road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists...

Avatar
Zjtm231 | 6 years ago
1 like

Prehaps a video of 7 people being killed and 58 injured by lack of safty features and criminally negligent behaviour of a tram driver in Crydon would have been better?

 

After all thats by far the worst accident to happen to a tram in the British Isles in the last 70 years or so....but no lets pick on the cyclists as they are much easier victims to blame.

 

1950s

On 24 May 1950, a tramcar and double-decker-bus collided on Great Western Road in Glasgow, killing seven and injuring 43.
On 28 January 1959, a Glasgow Corporation Tramways tram collided with a lorry and caught fire. The tram driver and two passengers were killed. Thirty people were injured.

1990s

On 12 August 1996, a lorry collided with a Manchester Metrolink tram at the junction of Corporation Street and Miller Street. Sixteen people were injured, one seriously.

2010s

On 9 November 2016, a London Tramlink tram derailed at Sandilands in Croydon due to excessive speed on a curve. Seven people were killed and 58 were injured.

Avatar
JeevesBath replied to Zjtm231 | 6 years ago
0 likes
Zjtm231 wrote:

Prehaps a video of 7 people being killed and 58 injured by lack of safty features and criminally negligent behaviour of a tram driver in Crydon would have been better?

 

After all thats by far the worst accident to happen to a tram in the British Isles in the last 70 years or so....but no lets pick on the cyclists as they are much easier victims to blame.

 

1950s

On 24 May 1950, a tramcar and double-decker-bus collided on Great Western Road in Glasgow, killing seven and injuring 43.
On 28 January 1959, a Glasgow Corporation Tramways tram collided with a lorry and caught fire. The tram driver and two passengers were killed. Thirty people were injured.

1990s

On 12 August 1996, a lorry collided with a Manchester Metrolink tram at the junction of Corporation Street and Miller Street. Sixteen people were injured, one seriously.

2010s

On 9 November 2016, a London Tramlink tram derailed at Sandilands in Croydon due to excessive speed on a curve. Seven people were killed and 58 were injured.

Oh, grow up. That's like some kid in a playground defending bad behaviour because somebody else did something worse so they shouldn't get told off.

When they hold level crossing safety campaigns and show film of the stupid stunts that drivers pull, nobody starts producing a list of when train drivers have been at fault in order to divert blame.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to JeevesBath | 6 years ago
1 like
JeevesBath wrote:
Zjtm231 wrote:

Prehaps a video of 7 people being killed and 58 injured by lack of safty features and criminally negligent behaviour of a tram driver in Crydon would have been better?

 

After all thats by far the worst accident to happen to a tram in the British Isles in the last 70 years or so....but no lets pick on the cyclists as they are much easier victims to blame.

 

1950s

On 24 May 1950, a tramcar and double-decker-bus collided on Great Western Road in Glasgow, killing seven and injuring 43.
On 28 January 1959, a Glasgow Corporation Tramways tram collided with a lorry and caught fire. The tram driver and two passengers were killed. Thirty people were injured.

1990s

On 12 August 1996, a lorry collided with a Manchester Metrolink tram at the junction of Corporation Street and Miller Street. Sixteen people were injured, one seriously.

2010s

On 9 November 2016, a London Tramlink tram derailed at Sandilands in Croydon due to excessive speed on a curve. Seven people were killed and 58 were injured.

Oh, grow up. That's like some kid in a playground defending bad behaviour because somebody else did something worse so they shouldn't get told off.

Though from the sound of it that's precisely what the tram company is doing with this video.

Avatar
davel replied to JeevesBath | 6 years ago
1 like
JeevesBath wrote:

Oh, grow up. That's like some kid in a playground defending bad behaviour because somebody else did something worse so they shouldn't get told off.

When they hold level crossing safety campaigns and show film of the stupid stunts that drivers pull, nobody starts producing a list of when train drivers have been at fault in order to divert blame.

It'd be more accurate if kid A had carved up the playground, endangering a load of other kids, and, in response to people drawing attention to that, he then grassed kid B up for doing some minor daft shit that was only endangering kid B. Then kid C comes along and points out the real dangers.

Your second point - eh? Cars can derail trains. Your stupid stunts by car drivers risk not only themselves but trains' occupants. How many bikes/cyclists have derailed trams or put their occupants in danger through being on a bike in front of the tram?

Nobody's defending cyclists being dicks. A bit of perspective is what's being called for.

Avatar
tom_w | 6 years ago
5 likes

The tram driver from 00:24 onwards is completely at fault, he knows there's a cyclist beside and slightly ahead of him and carries on trying to take the gap regardless.  It matters not a jot if it's the trams lane.

Avatar
Jimmy Ray Will | 6 years ago
1 like

What grates me is saying things like.... "this is the bullshit we deal with from cyclists every day" then show no more than a hadful of incidents. 

If it really was a daily barrage of bullshit, then that video could have been far more in-depth than it was. 

 

Avatar
davel replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 6 years ago
0 likes
Jimmy Ray Will wrote:

What grates me is saying things like.... "this is the bullshit we deal with from cyclists every day" then show no more than a hadful of incidents. 

If it really was a daily barrage of bullshit, then that video could have been far more in-depth than it was. 

Yep... and even if it was, it would have to be a bullshit tide big enough to seriously undermine the use of the trams to approach balance: consider the risk to the cyclist of them riding like knobs and/or having to contend with shitty/cheap infrastructure - infrastructure that impacts the ability to ride on these streets, versus the risk/impact to anyone else. You have tram users' annoyance (plus, granted, possible trauma if anything gruesome happened) on one side of the equation vs  cyclists' risk of being maimed and having the gruesome thing happen to them, or avoid the tracks altogether, on the other.

That's not to say that anyone who does anything that inconveniences others, or is a PITA socially, can crack on as long as they run the risk of getting hurt themselves.  But we do need some perspective to the bitterness and bile spewed by some people who seem to begrudge cyclists doing anything a bit 'cyclisty'. If internet comments are anything to go by, there are already plenty of people who use anything less than Miss Marple-like cycling as evidence that 'they deserve all they get' or that the country's going to hell in a handcart.

This seems like insidious PR to me.

 

Avatar
StraelGuy | 6 years ago
0 likes

Agree there's not much wrong with the video, it simply shows a load of cyclists with the survival instincts of lemmings doing rather ill-advised things in proximity to trams .

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Alessandro | 6 years ago
2 likes

They could have at least checked that the wording at the end was grammatically correct. 

"None of these cyclists was injured". Grrrrrrr.

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Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
1 like

In fairness, all the cyclists featured were utter planks. It's not like a tram is making any wild moves.

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Leviathan | 7 years ago
2 likes

Monorail, MONORAIL!!!

Seriously, who doesn't like looking t the squiggly coloured lines and working out where they are going.

Avatar
sunnyape | 7 years ago
2 likes

Trams.... ugghh! Here in sunny Sydney, we're rolling back the clock to the early 20th century and putting trams back in (we call them 'light rail').

Many years ago the council installed a monorail that was a equally ill conceived. It cost a fortune to install, lost money to run and cost a fortune to remove. Only the companies that did all the work made a buck from any of it.

 

Avatar
pockstone | 7 years ago
7 likes

Why trams?

  • They cost a fortune.
  • Can only go where the expensive infrastructure will take them.
  • That infrastructure is inherently dangerous to cyclists, even when there isn't a tram around for miles,
  • and as we can see from the video, can't brake safely and can't steer out of a dangerous situation.

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