The problem with Grand Canal cycle path traffic lights

The segregated cycle path along Grand Canal is an example of the kind of cycling infrastructure that we should have all over the city.

It’s clearly a very popular resource, especially during the rush hours, with thousands of bikes passing every hour – mostly with people heading to and from the Grand Canal Dock area. It gets so busy that as many as 50 bikes bunch up to wait at each phase of the traffic lights crossing the arterial roads such as Charlemont Street and Baggot Street.

Unfortunately the traffic light sequences just aren’t long enough for the sheer volume of cyclists. The bike-specific green light only lasts for a few seconds – enough time for maybe 10 bikes to get through. And so cyclists are routinely setting off to cross the roads as soon as the pedestrian lights go green (ahead of the bicycle green light), which obviously leads to some contention with pedestrians trying to cross at the same time.

Most of the cyclists are respectful of the pedestrians, and wait for them to cross first, but there are a small minority of cyclists that act in a way that can appear selfish or dangerous to pedestrians.

On top of this there are also vehicles, waiting at the traffic lights, that sometimes block the junctions where people are trying to cross – leading to more contention between pedestrians and cyclists being squeezed into a small space between cars.

The answer to this would seem to be to adjust the bicycle-specific traffic lights along this route to allow a lot more time for bikes to get through – even if that's just for weekday rush hours. And also, to keep junctions free of vehicles, I would suggest that yellow boxes should be extended to include the crossing areas.

By doing this, we can make this route a safer and more pleasant environment for both pedestrians and cyclists, who vastly outnumber those in cars, and enhance this popular commuting route.

Hailo Promo Code

Hailo taxi app has introduced a new friends and family referral discount scheme.

All new customers that make their first journey using the Hailo app and pay by credit/debit card will get a free €5.00 discount off their taxi fare. To get the discount simply use the following promo code when signing up for an account:

RICHA4165

The offer is open only to new customers, and applies to the first journey only. A value of €5.00 will automatically be deducted from your taxi fair, and any balance will be charged to your card.

As it’s a referral scheme, I’ll also get a free €5 credit to my account!

Update: On 26th September 2016 Hailo reduced the referral discount from €10 to €5, so I’ve updated this post to reflect the reduced amount. The code still works, but you get a smaller discount.

3000 Days in Ireland

As of today I’ve been living in Ireland for 3,000 days.  That’s a little over 8 years.  And when you put it together with the 12 years I lived in Scotland, then I’ve been living outside of my home country of England for over 20 years.

In another few years, I’ll have been living outside of England for longer than I ever lived there.

And although England will always be my nation of birth, and my accent will always identify me as English, the length of time away has shifted my allegiances somewhat. For international sporting events, for example, I feel much more allegiance to the Irish team than I do for the English.

I guess England no longer feels like home to me.  Sure, it’s where I grew up, and it’s where I have family. But in my case, my feeling of connection to England has faded over time. And as such, I don’t really harbour any desire to return.

A suitable punishment for drivers that use their mobile phone

If you take a look at the passing traffic in Dublin, it generally only takes a minute or two until you spot a driver using their mobile phone.

Clearly some drivers are not worried about the prospect of 3 points on their driver’s licence, or a mandatory court appearance and fine of up to €1,000 if they’re caught texting.  Or the fact that they’re 4 times more likely to crash when distracted on the phone.

So I got thinking about a more suitable punishment, that would be reasonably easy to implement, and would be an added deterrent to people. The Garda and courts, in addition to the other penalties, would be able to enforce a 6-month outgoing call/text ban on an offender’s mobile.

The ban on outgoing calls/texts would remove the temptation from drivers to pick up their phones when driving, and it would be an enormous inconvenience to offenders generally. Incoming calls/text would still be allowed for safety purposes, as would outgoing calls to the emergency services.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping people switching to a new phone number, but that’s a massive inconvenience in itself, and would be embarrassing to explain to friends and family.