East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has called the introduction of 20-mph speed limits a "war against motorists".
According to the Belfast Telegraph the MP added: "The road safety anti-motor car Taliban don’t know when to stop and unfortunately there is not the political will to stand up against their increasingly draconian policies."
The MP was formerly a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly – he was an environment minister … with responsibilty for road safety.
20mph zones have been recently been introduced in Newtownabbey, Ballynahinch, Ballymena and Ballycastle as well as Belfast.
John Dallat, the SDLP spokesperson on Regional Development, said Wilson’s remarks were shocking and should be withdrawn.
"[The comments] are a shocking abuse of public servants who have a heavy responsibility to reduce deaths on our roads," said Dallat.
"If they were directed at organizations which lobby for safer roads then the remarks are even more shocking because many of these people are the relatives of those who have lost their lives through road traffic incidents caused by speed.
"If Mr Wilson was in anyway informed about road safety issues he would know that even a small drop in speed considerably increases the chances of survival.
"More people have died on our roads in the last 40 years than died in the troubles. Many of them may have lived had the vehicles that collided with them had been travelling a few miles an hour slower."
A spokesperson for Belfast’s road authority said: "The key aim of these schemes is to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, without causing any undue inconvenience for car drivers."
Wilson’s comments about the Taliban come almost exactly a year after the head of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association said cyclists were the "ISIS of London" live on LBC radio.
Steve McNamara said:
"These people, the zealots of the cycling world, are unbelievable.
"The loonies out there in cycling world, they’re almost the sort of ISIS of London. Their views and their politics – if you are not with them, and we are with the majority of it, then nothing is too bad for you. These people are unreal."