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‘Take the cyclists out and shoot them’ says airline CEO who just wants to drive his car

The CEO of Dublin-based airline Ryanair really doesn’t like cyclists.

— By Philippe Tremblay

Ryanair’s  CEO, Michael O’Leary attended the Creative Minds conference in Dublin where the Dublin City Council spoke about extending the city’s cycling infrastructure. Earlier this year, the city council committed  €23 million ($34 million) to sustainable transportation projects to connect and extend bike paths, bike lanes and to building a bike route around Dublin Bay. Speaking at the conference and responding to the city councils earlier remarks, O’Leary  had some choice words for cyclists.

“That’s all we need in Dublin is more blooming bicycles,” O’Leary said at the conference at the Aviva Stadium, according to the Independent. “In a country where it rains about 250 days a year, the way forward for Dublin is, more bicycles. Let’s just go back to walking all together. Soon we’ll be living in caves designed by Dublin City Council. Traffic won’t work, there’s nowhere to park the cars and yet this is a smarter way forward. We should take the cyclists out and shoot them.”

His remarks are perhaps not the best way to express disagreement with the city council’s commitment to offering more choices for sustainable transportation options to the city’s residents. According to the cities website, 40 per cent of Dublin residents travel five-kilometres or less to work and notes that the average annual rainfall is less than that of Amsterdam which sees 804mm annually while maintaining one of the world’s  strongest cycling cultures.

O’Leary continued, “I want to drive and I expect Dublin City to come up with a smarter way for me to get around Dublin and be able to park my car somewhere in the middle of Dublin without it being dug up every six weeks so we can have some other faddy non-sustainable public transport solution. I hate to pick on Dublin City Council, but they’re here and they deserve a slapping.”

In response to his comments, Cycling Ireland said that the Dublin City Council, “has been doing great work in promoting cycling in the city and in creating a better infrastructure for all road users”.

In Canada, cycling infrastructure is also a contentious topic. Just recently, Toronto city council voted 38-3 in favour of a pilot project  that will see cycling infrastructure built between Shaw Street and Avenue Road with work perhaps being completed towards the end of the summer. If the responce by residents is negative however, the pilot project can be ended. The project will see curbside bike lanes installed on Bloor between Shaw and Avenue Road in both directions which will result in Bloor being reduced from four lanes for cars to two according to the CBC.