web analytics

CRAC: Cycle route assessment checklist

Bold Ambitions for Better Quality Cycle Routes

It’s 2021. And the cycle routes in Ireland are not yet good enough.

Why? 

  1. Too often the designs overlook key elements, which help to make routes safe and attractive. 
  2. Ordinary people like you, are not participating in the design process.

Cyclist.ie has a bold ambition to help solve both of these problems. 

How? 

By creating one simple tool that can be used by designers to make sure every aspect of good design is included, and can also be used by people on bikes to meaningfully let those designers know what does or doesn’t work. Check out our CRAC page www.cyclist.ie/crac to find out more and to trial the tool.

Ambitious Targets Set for Cycling in Europe!

Cyclist.ie is the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), and we are a regularly active participant in shaping policy and plans for the future of cycling in Europe through our parent advocacy body, the ECF.

Just recently the ECF, and the cycling industry grouping, Cycling Industry Europe (CIE), agreed a new cooperation agreement that set clear targets for the growth of cycling in Europe. The role of both ECF and CIE is critical in advocating for cycling at a European level, and major changes in the policy within the EU in relation to transport and ancillary areas have occurred as a result.

Some of the agreed targets for the next decade, as agreed between ECF and CIE, are outlined here:

  • Overall cycling levels to increase by 50%
  • 50 million European adults who prior to 2019 “rarely or never” cycled to take up cycling
  • 100,000km of new cycling infrastructure to be built in Europe
  • 15 new national cycling strategies to be adopted in the UNECE/WHO Europe region
  • An additional €15 billion for EU-funded cycling infrastructure projects, on top of national spending
  • Fiscal and financial incentives for cycle purchase and use to total €500 million per year in tax breaks, leasing support and new bike-sharing schemes
  • Bicycle and e-bike sales in Europe to grow to 30 million annually

These are undoubtedly ambitious but also achievable targets. We in Ireland must be similarly ambitious, by working at national and local levels, in pushing for better policies and radically improved and connected infrastructure. We need to encourage the “rarely” or “never cycle” cohorts to adopt changes in their lifestyles for their own benefit and for the benefit of the planet.

And as a final teaser; would you be able to describe in 5 words what cycling means to you? Try it out, and check out what Leury Kerpen of Thun Cycles in Germany, a family firm making bike parts thinks. Here are his 5 words for cycling

Do you agree? Let us know via [email protected] what your 5 words might be, and feel free to pass on the challenge to friends and family!

Rural Ireland CAN cycle!

“Rural Ireland CAN cycle!!” Cyclist.ie Rural Collective tells Councillors.

Major campaign calls for support for cycling in Rural Ireland 

A national campaign to encourage local councillors to endorse the ‘Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland’ began this week. The campaign is based on the “Vision” manifesto, launched in September 2020 by Minister for State, Malcolm Noonan. Coordinated by the national cycling advocacy network, Cyclist.ie, an information leaflet has been dispatched to every rural local councillor highlighting the need to prioritise the 8 Asks of the Vision.

Joan Swift of Sligo Cycling Campaign said: ‘We are launching this leaflet to build on the positive conversations that are happening as a result of our ‘Vision’. Our initial launch was well received by local and national government and the public. We then brought our message to all Chief Executives and Directors of Services responsible for road infrastructure, and now we want to take that campaign a stage further and reach out to the men and women who are our elected representatives in our rural local authorities – the people who can really make this change happen.’

She continued: ‘Active travel is receiving unprecedented funding and staffing and if the funding is spent effectively it can transform peoples’ experience of rural mobility. The aim must be to ensure that in rural as well as in urban Ireland, cycling for all ages and abilities can become a reality. The 8 Asks, described in our ‘Vision’ are a pathway to achieving this.’

Jo Sachs-Eldridge of Leitrim Cycling Festival, who led the creation of the vision, explains: “We know our councillors are concerned about the same things that matter to us – road safety, rural transport options, energy use, physical and mental health. What we are proposing will impact positively on all of those and more. Our ‘Vision’ recognises the need to move to a more strategic approach to rural cycle planning and design. It also recognises the need to change the social as well as the physical environment on our roads – so that our public spaces are safer for everyone. Rural Ireland is currently very car dependent and the percentage of people who cycle is low but there is huge potential to change this. It wasn’t that many years ago that cycling was a normal way to get around. Let’s all help rural Ireland cycle once again!.’

Anluan Dunne of Kerry Cycling Campaign also stressed the importance of community and stakeholder engagement: “Local authorities and councillors should see us as partners and allies as they consider plans for cycle routes. Our expertise and hands-on experience of cycling in rural communities will be invaluable in considering what makes a safe route for cyclists of all ages and abilities.”

Salthill Temporary Traffic Calming & Cycle Facilities – Cyclist.ie Submission

Earlier today Cyclist.ie made a submission to Galway City Council in regard to the Salthill Temporary Cycle Lane/ Traffic Calming Measures.

The full suite of documents relating to the scheme can be found here https://www.galwaycity.ie/SalthillTemporaryCycleway (and note that the deadline for submissions was 4pm on Fri 28 Jan 2022).

The main message in our submission is that Cyclist.ie broadly welcomes these temporary proposals for cycling facilities along the Salthill seafront, presented as two options. In general we favour Option 2 over Option 1, as it is less disruptive and more practical overall for the needs of the area.

We commend the City Council on this initiative which has been a long while in gestation and we are confident that the construction of these temporary facilities will be a huge success, once properly managed; and in the long term will, we hope, lead to a more permanent scheme which prioritises sustainable transport, and enables safe and comfortable access to the facilities in the area.

Our submission can be read in full below.

1 – Introduction

Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network (ICAN), is the Federation of Cycling Advocacy Groups, Greenway Groups and Bike Festivals on the island of Ireland. We are the Irish member of the European Cyclists’ Federation.  Our vision is for an Ireland with a cycle friendly culture, where everyone has a real choice to cycle and is encouraged to experience the joy, convenience, health and environmental benefits of cycling.

Cyclist.ie broadly welcomes these temporary proposals for cycling facilities along the Salthill seafront, presented as 2 options.  In general we favour Option 2 over Option 1, as it is less disruptive, and more practical overall for the needs of the area.  We commend the City Council on this initiative which has been a long while in gestation, but we are confident that the construction of these temporary facilities will be a huge success, once properly managed; and in the long term will hopefully lead to a more permanent scheme which prioritises sustainable transport, and enables safe and comfortable access to the facilities in the area.

We make some broad comments below on aspects of the temporary design of the Option 2 proposed scheme design.

2 – General Comments

2.1 Scheme Drawings/Images
Overall we welcome the presentation of this proposed temporary scheme, but the understanding of the proposal could have been enhanced with some 3D images and/or video presentations, to enable a clearer understanding of the proposals by the ordinary punter.  We urge the City Council to ensure this feature is added to all future scheme consultations.

2.2 Cycle Facilities
In the realisation that this is a proposed temporary scheme, Cyclist.ie generally welcomes the proposed cycle track/lane widths of 2metres for single way and 3 metres for 2 way cycle tracks.  But, we urge the Council to keep these minimal widths throughout the scheme, and not reduce them, as indicated on the Leisureland Cross Section drawing, where ample width exists on the roadway to facilitate a full 3metres.
In the long term we are confident that this attractive facility will be as successful as  -the temporary scheme built in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council in recent years – see image below, and will be well used, with a likely long term need to review these minimal widths. 


DLR Coastal Mobility Route – A game-changer and a massive success

A long term scheme will also give the opportunity to consider wider elements such as overall public realm improvement and clear prioritisation of vulnerable road users and sustainable transport users.

2.3 Pedestrian Facilities
It is noted throughout that no new proposals are included to provide safe crossing facilities for pedestrians along this stretch of roadway.  This is an unfortunate omission which should be rectified, particularly close to major landside facilities, housing estates, and car parks.

2.4 Public Transport
The ready availability of public transport will be a vital part of this proposed scheme, to give people a further alternative to accessing the seafront area other than by car.  The upgraded bus stops in some areas are to be welcomed, but we suggest the use and practice at these bus stops should be monitored to check on any pedestrian/cyclist conflicts.
We also note the apparent (from the drawings) omission of existing bus stops to the west of the proposed scheme?

2.5 Car Parking
We broadly welcome the proposed reduced car parking along the main seafront, which will help to improve the overall safety of the area, and also to make it more attractive.  However, it is incumbent on Galway City Council to manage the expectations of car users intending to arrive in this area, by providing adequate forewarning of available parking locations, and ideally providing alternative means of accessing the seafront by providing extra public transport from possible designated locations.
We would also recommend that all on-road disabled car spaces are relocated to the seafront side, to enable easy access to facilities by users.  There are a number of potential design options for this to be facilitated.

2.6 Other Issues
2.6.1 Scheme Extremities
At the Barna Road western end the proposed cycle track exit onto the busy Barna Road is not ‘intuitive’, and will undoubtedly cause problems, especially for beginner/young cyclists.  This exit on to Barna Road needs to be re-examined and ideally a safe crossing installed, for cyclists wanting to turn right
At the Salthill/Seapoint roundabout there is no obvious way for cyclists to exit the 2 way cycleway onto Upper Salthill Road.
2.6.2 Cycling Access to and from the Proposed Cycle Track
It is not clear from the drawings exhibited if cyclists can easily access the proposed route from side roads, or alternatively leave the proposed route to exit across the main carriageway to a side road.  This should be clarified.

3 – Summary / Conclusion

  • This initiative by Galway City Council is to be broadly welcomed, and will increase the safety and enjoyment of the Salthill/Seapoint areas overall.
  • We request Galway City Council to examine all of the issues that we have raised in Section 2 above, in order to improve the scheme overall, and its general acceptance by the public.
  • We look forward to the implementation of this proposed scheme and in the long term a full scheme addressing the broader transport, public realm, and climate issues that a final permanent scheme will bring.

We are happy to meet with Galway City Council at any stage to discuss any of the points raised above.

Colm Ryder
[email protected]
www.cyclist.ie

Cyclist.ie an Awardee of Rethink Ireland’s Glas Funding

Cyclist is delighted to be advancing its work on the Rural Cycling Vision with funding support provided by Rethink Ireland under their Glas Communities Fund. Rethink Ireland has granted this award with the support of the Department of Rural and Community Development from the Dormant Accounts Fund and Ornua. The project runs from October 2021 to April 2022. A summary of the projects of the five awardees under this scheme can be read here

Through this six month long project, Cyclist.ie is aiming to encourage and assist local cycling advocacy groups to establish and grow. It is doing this by facilitating the transfer of knowledge and expertise between cycling groups, empowering rural groups to engage systematically with their local authorities and advancing bespoke campaigns and events. The support from Rethink Ireland is also helping Cyclist.ie to build on its organisational capacity to achieve social impact over time. 

The support is already bearing fruit with the development of Cyclist.ie’s nine Action Groups. The creation of these groups enables our expanding volunteer base to contribute directly to specific domains of work. It also enables the transfer of knowledge between experienced and new advocates. 

Additionally, through the support of Rethink Ireland and with the professional input of Communications company We the People, Cyclist.ie is — for the first time ever — developing a Communications Strategy. This is another exciting development for the organisation and we look forward to engaging with many audiences with the new insights gained over the coming months and years. 

Watch this space for further updates on the project! 

Note that this funding success follows on from another recent successful project funded by Rethink Ireland under their Innovate Together Fund – see here

Great southern Trail extends into kerry

Liam O Mahony, Cathaoirleach of the Great Southern Trail Ltd (GST) visited the Greenway work in progress at Kilmorna near Listowel. The GST which has campaigned for over thirty years to convert the disused railway from Rathkeale to Tralee into a Greenway welcomes this long awaited extension of the Limerick Greenway across the Kerry Border and which is scheduled to be opened to Listowel by the summer.

Strategic Rail Review – Cyclist.ie Submission

Cyclist.ie made a submission today in regard to the consultation process associated with the all island Strategic Rail Review. You can read the consultation documents here

And you can read the submission of Cyclist.ie and An Taisce in the following text.

The first public commuter line in Ireland, from Dublin to Dun Laoghaire, was launched in 1834 – and the lines stretched out to Belfast, Cork and Galway over the following decades. The point here is that the rail corridors and infrastructure put in place back then have shaped development and settlement patterns for almost two centuries. When planning the future of rail on the island of Ireland we need to have similar timelines in mind, and be thinking about what type of transportation system and settlement patterns we want to end up with, not just in 2050 but in 2100 and 2200. This is the opportunity to shape that future. 

Our current rail “system” is almost exclusively a set of radial lines (with much of it single track) running to and from Dublin, with minimal direct inter-connectivity between towns and cities outside of the capital. This needs to change completely if we are to arrive at a transport network and system – and future settlement pattern – which is in line with our requirement to decarbonise our entire transport system (and economy and society by 2050) as per the Paris Agreement and our own brand new Climate Action Plan. There needs to be far greater recognition of the shaping effect of our transport infrastructure on where development ends up taking place. Additionally, we note the over-representation in the road traffic collision statistics of heavy goods vehicles in serious and fatal collisions (and particularly those involving vulnerable road users). The future of freight movement in Ireland needs to acknowledge this fact, and to maximise the movement of goods by rail, and not on roads with the associated road carnage that ensues. 

Image from page 7 of the Consultation Document

Therefore, the priority over the coming decades but starting now needs to be around connecting our regional cities with high quality rail infrastructure and services and then prioritising transit oriented development – i.e. development of almost every type close to rail stations (in line with the 15 Minute City / Town concept). There needs to be high quality, high capacity, direct and resilient connections from Dublin to Wexford/Rosslare (thinking ahead to take into account coastal erosion patterns) and on to Waterford and on to Cork and to Limerick and to Galway and to Sligo and on to Derry and then Belfast and back to Dublin. The North West of the island is severely lacking in high quality rail transport and there is no better time than now to rectify this problem – as against investing in road based options which will, inevitably, stimulate dispersed car-based development patterns and car trips (and hence higher energy use, emissions and use of raw materials).

The mainline train lines (Dublin to Cork, Galway and Belfast) should be upgraded to electric. Ireland is anomalous in Europe in mainline services being all diesel. There are local air quality issues at stake here as well as carbon emissions. 

The other point we wish to stress in this submission is the need to think about inter-modal journeys, and low / zero carbon trips. The catchment area of a train station when considering people cycling to it is approximately 9 times the area of the catchment area of the station for those walking to it (given that average cycling speeds are approximately 3 times those of average walking speeds). Therefore, there needs to be a full acknowledgement of the need to provide for bike / rail journeys when planning investment in the future of rail. Of most concern here is the following:

– The design of safe and attractive cycle routes to every train station and stop in the country, and this must include making areas close to stations properly permeable and well connected for those walking and cycling to stations (‘filtered permeability’ as it is called).

– The need for high quality, safe and secure bicycle parking at every train station / stop in the country. In cities, there needs to be a quantum leap in ambition and investment priority so as to provide high capacity / high quality infrastructure such as we see in cities such as Utrecht, Malmö and Munster (in Germany). See for example the facilities in Utrecht in this video: 

– The carriage of bikes on all trains needs to be greatly improved –  at a minimum to match proposed EU levels of 8 bikes per train (as per this ECF article).



Bicycle spaces on trains must be easy to use and suitable for a variety of bike types, including bicycles loaded with pannier bags (so as to nurture a strong cycle tourism culture), or even cargo bikes.  Cyclists who do not have good upper body strength (e.g. most women), find it hard to use some of the spaces on the existing Irish rail fleet. Furthermore, the bicycle compartment should be visibly indicated on the rolling stock itself – many logos on carriage doors showing the bicycle spaces are much too small.  Some of the intercity trains in Ireland now have fine big logos which is welcome, and such logos should be placed on all trains. Such a simple and inexpensive change would make life a lot simpler for people with bicycles trying to board trains. 

Cycle friendly rolling stock (Germany) – Photo kindly provided by Ray Ryan (Skerries Cycling Initiative)

– Additionally, there needs to be signs on the platforms showing where cyclists should wait (see Bath Spa station in the UK for example). Note that high-speed trains often stop only for a few minutes. To properly manage the timely loading of bicycles and avoid possible delays, customers need to know which section of the platform their coach is going to halt. They should be guided by diagrams, either paper (e.g. Deutsche Bahn) or electronic (e.g. SNCF), which clearly indicate where the coaches are going to stop. In addition, platform voice announcements should be given before the arrival of the train. 

As above, the north west quadrant of the country is severely depleted in regard to rail infrastructure. Similarly West Cork has a very large and long gap without any rail infrastructure. 

Furthermore, it is not wise to lift unused lines such as Waterford to Rosslare for conversion to greenways, when the first priority needs to be the reinstatement of high quality rail links. The closures were to a large extent due to very poor service frequency and timing from Irish Rail. This needs to be acknowledged and addressed. Lines also need to be made available to other operators if this improves services.

In addition, the current level of service on the Dublin to Rosslare line is extremely poor and results in an anomalously low modal share for train in this corridor.  The problem is exacerbated by the lack of connectivity between the ferry services to and from Rosslare and the train services.  This means that people who want to travel without a car on these ferry services effectively cannot do so.

We recommend strongly that a direct curve is provided towards Dublin at Ballybrophy to make the services on the Nenagh line connect to Dublin. The current track layout there does not promote a fast service.

.

Dr. Damien Ó Tuama
National Cycling Coordinator, Cyclist.ie http://cyclist.ie/ and An Taisce https://www.antaisce.org/
Vice-President, European Cyclists’ Federation (2016 – 2021) https://ecf.com/
The Tailors’ Hall
Back Lane
Dublin D08 X2A3

Bicycle Film Festival Ireland

The virtual 22nd Annual tour of Bicycle Film Festival is coming to Ireland in partnership with Dublin Cycling Campaign and Cyclist.ie.

The Bicycle Film Festival will take place between February 4th – 13th online and will offer 90 minutes of short films on all things cycling. These films are available to view any time during the week of the festival.

How does the virtual Bicycle Film Festival Ireland work? A ticket allows you to view the 90 minute short film format from Friday, February 4 at 6:00 PM GT through Sunday, February 13 at 11:59 PM GT streamed to your computer, tablet, or smart TV by simply clicking on the link provided by email 15 minutes before opening date and time. Ticket prices are “sliding scale” €9/$10, €13.50/$15, €18/$20 (£ 7.5, £ 11, £15) so all ticket prices entitle you to the same content. You may view BFF in one sitting, or as you will, from the comfort and safety of your home.

Get Tickets: https://btt.boldtypetickets.com/events/118366289/bicycle-film-festival-i…

The Films: BFF Select Shorts appeal to a wide audience from film connoisseurs to avid cyclists and everything in between. The curated collection of select short films will take you on a journey around the world, covering such topics as:

  • The first BMX crew in Nigeria
  • UK’s Jools Walker rediscovers her love of cycling and her desire to create space for young black woman like her
  • The story of road cycling legend and overall wonderful soul, Connie Carpenter
  • The struggle of a young woman and her bike in Iran
  • A father (actor, Timothy Spall) copes with the loss of his son through cycling
  • Cycle sport as relief from genocide
  • A bird’s-eye view of a BLM bicycle protest ride from New York to DC
  • A charismatic Ghanaian immigrant in Amsterdam who teaches refugee adult women to ride bikes and many more…

Get Tickets: https://btt.boldtypetickets.com/events/118366289/bicycle-film-festival-i…

About BFF: BICYCLE FILM FESTIVAL has been celebrating bicycles through art, film, and music the last 21 years. Founded in 2001, Brendt Barbur was compelled to start the BFF after being hit by a bus while riding his bike in New York. The physical BFF spanned the world in over 90 cities worldwide to an audience of over one million people. The festival has an incredible history of working with the most important artists, filmmakers, venues, and institutions around the world.The Subcultures of cycling have shared equal billing with the most exciting innovators in music, art, design, and film.

Participants have included: Erykah Badu, Karl Lagerfeld, Francesco Clemente, Shepard Fairey, Albert Maysles, Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Alex Katz, Kaws, Mike Mills, Paul Smith, the Neistat Brothers, Tom Sachs, Ridley Scott, Kiki Smith, Swoon, and Ai Weiwei. This festival is a celebration of way a life––not just entertainment.

Article about cycling in Irish Examiner

This article about cycling in Cork, Limerick, and Waterford by Ellen O’Regan from Saturday’s Irish Examiner is well worth a read. Featuring contributions from Cyclist.ie member groups such as Cork Cycling Campaign, Limerick Cycling Campaign, and Waterford BUG (Bicycle Users’ Group), this comprehensive and well-researched piece gives a useful overview of recent developments and ongoing challenges in the provision of active travel infrastructure in these three cities.

Photograph by David O’Leary.

Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy (Updated) – Cyclist.ie Submission

This week Cyclist.ie made a submission to the National Transport Authority (NTA) in regard to the updated Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area.

As per the NTA website, this strategy sets out the framework for investment in transport infrastructure and services over the next two decades to 2042. You can read the NTA’s draft transport strategy here.

You can read our own submission in full below.

Cyclist.ie wishes to sincerely thank its volunteers for the work involved in preparing and making this submission. It is this voluntary work and the membership subscriptions to Cyclist.ie that enables us to make these submissions.

1 – Introduction

Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network (ICAN), is the Federation of Cycling Advocacy Groups, Greenway Groups and Bike Festivals on the island of Ireland. We are the Irish member of the European Cyclists’ Federation.  Our vision is for an Ireland with a cycle friendly culture, where everyone has a real choice to cycle and is encouraged to experience the joy, convenience, health and environmental benefits of cycling.

Cyclist.ie broadly welcomes this review of the GDA Transport Strategy, its extension to 2042, its broad objectives within the context of Climate Objectives, and its acceptance that many aspects of the original Strategy have not been achieved.  In particular, in relation to achievements on the cycling front, Cyclist.ie is highly critical of the lack of development on the 2013 GDA Cycle Network Plan to date, but welcomes the commitment to complete an updated network by 2030.

It is evident from the substantial number (4,000+) of submissions made to the initial call in late 2020, that there is great interest in the development of an appropriate transport strategy for the GDA, and Cyclist.ie congratulates the NTA on reaching out through various means, to encourage submissions.  We, in turn, have a number of other comments on the overall GDA Strategy document, which we outline below.  We also include a Summary section at the end of these comments for ease of referral.

2 – GDA Strategy 2021 – The Active Travel Perspective

2.1 Changes/Improvements from 2016 Strategy
Cyclist.ie notes the extensive positive changes in the overall approach to this latest Transport Strategy review, which is a major improvement on that produced in 2016, and deals with each area in relevant depth.  It particularly highlights and prioritises the need for an increased emphasis on sustainable travel, including Active Travel.

We also welcome the inclusion of many points raised in our January 2021 submission, but highlight below a number of items we feel should have been included, or should receive greater attention.

2.2 Cycling Related Proposals
The graphic in the Strategy outlines the broad proposals of this updated Strategy.  Cyclist.ie queries the relatively low – 12% – Bike Mode Share envisaged by 2042, which is higher than the national 10% target originally projected as part of the 2009 NCPF, but lower than what has been previously projected for the Dublin region.  This is an unacceptable  regression on previous target levels, which were demonstrably higher.  And target mode share needs to consider the timing and alignment with Climate Action Plan targets, as well as the proposed completion of the new Cycle Network by 2020 – see below.

2.2.1 GDA Draft Cycle Network
Cyclist.ie welcomes the new classification of cycle routes on the network. But, we note the reduction in overall network kms between 2013 and the latest 2021 draft proposal.  And, on examination of the individual mapping sections posted we note there are a number of omitted routes from the 2013 draft network in some areas, and the non-inclusion of some actual existing facilities, and some facilities in active planning?

Cyclist.ie would welcome a meeting with NTA officials on this issue, to clarify the accuracy of the proposed network in certain areas?

We are also happy to see the proposed ambitious completion of the cycle network by 2030, but doubt it can be achieved based on past performance.

We note that no clear figure for kilometres of the 2013 network completed to standard, has been posted in Chapter 2.2.  This would show clearly the low level of progress since 2013.

2.2.2 Traffic Management & Inter-Modal Travel Options
Cyclist.ie welcomes the proposals for increased access to public transport for people on bikes, although the proposal to only increase the number of bikes on inter city trains to 4, is disappointing, and falls below the 8 bikes, which the ECF, and the EU Parliament Transport & Tourism Committee are recommending on a European level.  These proposals are critical in helping to increase the volume of sustainable trips across the GDA.  This proposal should be revisited in the light of likely EU initiatives in this area. 

In particular we welcome the commitment to lower urban speed limits to 30kph, as declared internationally in the 2020 Stockholm declaration.  This will make our city and towns’ streets safer for all.  This issue needs to be tackled from within the Department of Transport initially by reviewing the Speed Limit Regulations, to ensure Local Authorities can legitimately introduce these lower limits, and the NTA must play an active part in this process.  

We broadly welcome the proposals to introduce more car free zones, car parking restrictions, and in particular the reduction in public service parking facilities.  In an ideal world this initiative should begin with our legislators in Dáil Éireann?

2.2.3 Personal Mobility Vehicles (PMV)
Cyclist.ie broadly welcomes the introduction of PMVs, particularly if it increases the number of people opting to use them instead of a private car.  But, it is critical that clear legislation and regulations define their usage, and in particular the power and speed levels therein.  The present level of legislation is unclear, and many E-Bikes and E-Scooters are clearly travelling beyond the 25kph cut off speed.  We welcome the NTA’s commitment to ‘respond as required to any legislation adopted’, and would welcome a clear commitment to engage with organisations such as Cyclist.ie as part of any responses.

2.2.4 Covid Learnings
Cyclist.ie welcomes the recognition outlined in Section 11.2 of the Strategy, of the valuable learnings from the trial cycle route constructions during the height of the Covid lockdowns.  As a result of these ‘trials’ many of these protected/segregated cycle tracks will remain in place.  This points to the need to recognise in legislation, as happens in other countries, the right of local authorities to trial installations, without the need for a full long drawn out planning process.  We deal with this point further, among others, in Section 3 below.

2.3 Walking, Accessibility & Public Realm
Many of the issues related to improvements in walking/pedestrian conditions, such as speed limits, junction design, permeability, public realm, and wayfinding also apply to cycling requirements.  Changes in these elements of our infrastructure can have important benefits for both cyclists and pedestrians, and also bring immediate improvements in sustainable travel numbers.

We welcome the commitment to remove slip lanes, and to narrow junctions, and would like to see these commitments moved on rapidly within a specified time frame.  Together with these suggested changes we would like to see a gradual program of improvement in side road junction design to benefit both pedestrians and cyclists, by also including raised ‘at-level’ crossings for pedestrians, clearly indicating priority for pedestrians and for private vehicles to give way.  These raised entry crossings have the added benefit for both cyclists and pedestrians of slowing down vehicles entering and leaving the side roads.  They should be introduced gradually,as a matter of course, throughout the local authorities within the GDA.  We have previously referenced these issues and others in our January 2021 submission.

2.4 Public Transport
Cyclist.ie broadly welcomes the proposals for public transport outlined in the Strategy, and we would hope that the general timelines outlined can be adhered to, particularly in the initial major Bus Connects project, which also has significant impact on proposed cycle routes. We have referred to the issue of bikes on trains above, but in general we support the proposed improvements in the DART system as well as the proposed LUAS lines.  

2.5 Roads
Cyclist.ie welcomes the retrenchment decision on the Eastern Bypass, and the proposed development of the bypass corridor for sustainable transport.  We await definitive plants for these proposals. We also welcome the  ‘Principles of Road Development’ outlined in Chapter 13.2, and the low level of proposed road developments;

We note the broad ‘place making’ proposals in Chapter 13.6, in relation to Urban Roads and Streets, but would like to see this associated with the ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ outlined in 14.6, and in particular the reduction/removal of rat runs.

3 – Missing Elements from GDA Transport Strategy?

3.1 Planning Issues
Over the past decade and more it has been obvious that most major sustainable transport and public realm schemes, including cycle related initiatives, have been inordinately delayed, or even halted, due to issues arising as part of the statutory planning processes.  Within the context of Dublin City alone we have seen innumerable project timelines being adjusted at an embarrassing rate through the years, and poor progress being made.  While there have been learnings, as a result of these problems, it is incumbent on the NTA as the overall ‘overseer’ of these projects, to examine and report on these planning issues, and recommend possible solutions.

We do not see this critical planning problem being addressed as part of the GDA Transport Strategy, and we feel it should.

3.2 Trial Projects
As referred to above in section 2.2.4 the Strategy has realised the value of Covid Trial/Temporary projects in being able to demonstrate to the general public what effects a possible long term project can have, but also to enable the designers to tweak on the ground any perceived faults or difficulties.  These trial projects, common in many countries, need to be placed on a legislative footing and must be part of this Strategy.  This would enable Local Authorities in particular to demonstrate the value of their proposals to the public.  In general they have resulted in positive outcomes for both the planning authority and the public.

3.3 Legislative Issues
There are innumerable legislative proposals that have been discussed and debated over the years, which could be initiated in order to increase the ease and safety of travel for cyclists.  Cyclist.ie has highlighted these proposals in meetings with the NTA and the Department of Transport on a number of occasions in the past 7 years.  In particular we have referenced the 2014 Transport for London (TFL) Study as an exemplar of what could be done.  It will be appreciated that this study is already 8 years in publication, and Dublin was one of the referenced cities in the lead-in study.

There needs to be a sense of urgency in translating ideas into legislation to improve conditions for cycling.  This needs to be addressed in the Strategy.

3.4 Data Evaluation & Monitoring
Cyclist.ie, in our submission of January 2021 to the GDA Strategy process, highlighted the issue of poor data/information and ongoing monitoring of active travel data.  While the areas of collection of available data sources, such as through CSO or other agencies, is referenced in Chapter 19.2 of the Draft Strategy we see no reference to improved internal collection of additional data from the NTA itself or via the local authorities, particularly in relation to active travel.  This is a serious omission.  A single ‘Monitoring Report’ in 2025, as proposed in Section 19.2.4 is woefully inadequate to address the need for assessment of progress.

It is incumbent, via this proposed Strategy, to ensure that sufficient and regular data collection is carried out, and published, to enable a true and full assessment of all projects to be progressed.  We have yet to see any such comprehensive data in the context of active travel projects.  In turn we have yet to see the upgrading of the Common Appraisal Framework used for project assessment, to enable the assimilation of the benefits of active travel and climate change.  This urgently needs to be addressed.

We call on the NTA and the Local Authorities to ensure that detailed traffic related data is regularly collected, which enables comprehensive assessment of all transport projects, but particularly active travel projects. This assessment should be combined with an updating of the Common Appraisal Framework, to ensure that all health, environmental, social and economic benefits are included as part of the assessment process.

3.4.1 Road Safety Data
We fail to understand why the national Road Safety Authority (RSA) has not been included as a data source within this monitoring Chapter 19.  As it stands, road safety data, in particular that related to serious (and minor) injuries, is simply not made available regularly or soon enough.  As a result, while we have seen road deaths generally decrease year on year recently, there has been a concomitant and frightening increase in serious injuries, as highlighted in table 5.1 of the Draft Cycle Network Report. 

The last available comprehensive and  reliable data on serious injuries dates back 5 years to 2017.  This is simply not good enough and must be addressed as it is germane to improved transport, and in particular active travel.

4 – Summary / Conclusion

As stated above Cyclist.ie gives a broad welcome to this new Draft GDA Transport Strategy, but with certain reservations and major omissions.  Our main points are as follows:

4.1 The Strategy does not address the ongoing problems with project delays, and how the planning process ‘works’.

4.2 Trial Projects, as demonstrated during the Covid period need to be addressed long term and put on a legislative footing.

4.3 There are a number of legislative proposals that have the potential to actively support an increase in active travel that have been on the table for a long time and need to be enacted.

4.4 Data gathering and assessment needs to be seriously upgraded, and NTA and Local Authorities ensure that ongoing travel related data is available to ensure rigorous monitoring of Strategy targets, and individual projects.

4.5 The RSA need to be data partners with the NTA, and  the collection, assessment, and publication of road safety statistics needs to improve to ensure road safety issues are addressed with speed. 

4.6 The low target level mode share for cycling by 2042 of 12% is a regression on previous targets 

4.7 There are perceived faults and omissions in the published Draft Cycle Network Plan 2021.  Cyclist.ie seeks to meet with the NTA to begin to address these faults.

4.8 The proposals for a minimum 4 bike places on the new trains  is inadequate in light of EU proposals for 8 bike places, and needs to be upgraded.

4.9 The introduction of clear legislation for PMVs needs to be accelerated, to ensure clarity on usage, and the safety of all road users, in particular active travellers.

4.10 We want to see a clear commitment to the quick introduction of the simple  initiatives proposed in Chapter 10 related to junction design and pedestrian crossings, which can have immediate impact.

Colm Ryder
[email protected]

x Logo: Shield Security
This Site Is Protected By
Shield Security