Erasmus student Cherelle de Graaf wonders how safe cycling really is in town

As an Erasmus student in Dublin I decided to join the city cyclists. Healthy, fun and fast or so I thought...

I’m originally from Amsterdam. This means I’m practically born with a bike. Cyclists in my country have first priority; in Dublin they seem to have the last one.

In my first week in Dublin the Gardaí stopped me twice: Once for riding through a red light, the other for cycling on the wrong side of the road. The guards told me that I have to be careful. Wait, what? I have to be careful?

Two months on I have almost been crushed by a bus, crashed into a walker when my brakes decided to stop working and a car door opened on me three times. There were some moments when I thought I was going to die. I’m not exaggerating. Every year dozens of cyclists die because of careless and reckless car drivers and a lack of safe cycling paths.

I have to admit that after a while you get used to the dangers that you put yourself in. So when you decide to take the bike and put your life at risk, keep the following things in mind:

  • Don’t cycle through red lights (even when you’re in a hurry)

  • Always cycle on the left side of the road

  • Don’t push yourself between two buses (they’ll see you as an obstacle, not as a human being)

  • Keep  a safe distance between every riding vehicle

  • Don’t stop for walking people (after watching and realizing that you won’t stop for them, they will stop for you)

  • Make sure people notice you when it’s dark outside (wear something light coloured or bring a lamp)

  • Take the pavement if the highway is too crowded

  • Always bring plasters (you know, just in case)

The city won’t protect you from being hit by a car, but you can do the best you can to protect yourself from the city.