Video: RTÉ TV report on Ireland’s new cycle lanes launched in 1986

Posted on: December 1st, 2018

cycling lanes Dublin 1986 TV report

The messaging around the new cycling lanes is not all that different to today’s. While there is slightly more emphasis on driver behaviour now, it’s not much.


RTÉ has shared a clip from the archives featuring a news report on the opening of new cycling lanes in Dublin back in 1986.

The report, on this day 32 years ago, coincided with a new road safety campaign in a bid to reduce cycling fatalities.

And judging by the theme of the campaign, not a huge amount has changed in Ireland in the intervening three decades.

The messaging in the campaign – “be safe, be seen” – was sound advice, but it was all aimed at cyclists.

“This evening the Lord Mayor stressed the need for cyclists to be seen, especially at night,” said reporter Joe O’Brien of a young Bertie Ahern.

“And in launching the winter safety campaign, he urged cyclists to obey the rules and to wear reflective clothing.”

The new “cycle tracks”, as they were called, were located on the busy Swords Road and Drumcondra Road on the north side of the city.

And the report says the lanes were put in place without the need for the roads to be widened.

They also came at a time when 40 cyclists were killed on the roads per year; between three and four times more than today.

That was an incredible number considering the number today remains at unacceptable levels.

You can have a look at the report by following this link or via the Tweet below.



cycling lanes Dublin 1986 TV report

The lanes were in bits even when new.

cycling lanes Dublin 1986 TV report

Snorkel jackets and old telephone boxes; Dublin in the 1980s.

cycling lanes Dublin 1986 TV report

There’s always one rider going the wrong way, sometimes more than one!

cycling lanes Dublin 1986 TV report

This was the first lane, in Clontarf, Dublin. It had been operating a couple of years by the time the ones in Drumcondra were being launched. These Clontarf lanes are still on the go today, and they are also used as parking for coaches from all over the country when there are gigs on at the 3 Arena.

cycling lanes Dublin 1986 TV report

Bertie Ahern was the Lord Mayor of the city at the time and cut the ribbon on the new cycle lanes.