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Safer, rounder trucks to hit the roads next year

The introduction date for more aerodynamic, safer truck cabs on Europe’s roads will be brought forward to 1 September 2020, EU lawmakers agreed yesterday. The European federation of transport NGOs, Transport & Environment (T&E), welcomed the reform which will speed the roll-out of more rounded truck fronts that allow drivers to better see pedestrians and cyclists and improve fuel efficiency.

Under the changes agreed last night, truckmakers will be permitted an additional 80-90cm of cab length in return for improving the aerodynamics, vision, safety and driver comfort of the truck cab.

James Nix, T&E’s freight and climate director, said: “For decades EU law prohibited truckmakers from producing more streamlined, rounded cabs, holding back safety and aerodynamics. Today’s decision puts an end to this and paves the way for more fuel efficient and safer trucks to hit the road from next year, many years earlier than previously agreed.”

Today’s trucks account for 2% of vehicles on the road but 15% of fatalities, amounting to 4,000 deaths every year across Europe. Around 1,000 of these deaths are cyclists and pedestrians. Combined with other design changes, the reform will also enable emissions reductions and fuel savings of up to 10% from long-haul trucks.

On 21 February, legislators will decide on another key reform – the introduction of a ‘direct vision’ standard for new trucks in the General Safety Regulation – in a vote by the European Parliament’s internal market committee (IMCO). The standard is expected to set out the area surrounding a truck cab the driver must be able to see without using mirrors or cameras, thus improving safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

James Nix concluded: “The design change just agreed will help consign the brick-shaped cab to history. However, unlike for cars, there is still no minimum area of the road that truck drivers must be able to see directly. MEPs should now pass the direct vision standard which will go a step further in making Europe’s roads safer for all.”

T&E noted that the reform of truck cab design has taken place in less than nine months, showing that the EU can move speedily. The proposal was published as part of the mobility reform package in mid-May 2018.

Trishaw bike brings joy to residents of Belvilla Community Unit

“We have taken trips along the canal and really enjoy heading through the Tenters to Weaver Park, ending up in a shaded spot to enjoy some people-watching and ice-cream. Children and dogs find us particularly fascinating and come over to have a closer inspection. We’ve also had fun sitting in the sun listening to the bells of the Cathedral in St Patrick’s park and chatting to tourists about our ‘contraption’.” Read article

With help from Cycling without Age

Great Southern Greenway: Limerick – Kerry

Inching forward: two reports now issued, from Kerry County Council, on the the Listowel and Fenit Greenways

They contain a lot of information including maps and photographs. Also included are the 350 or so submissions on the project with over 300 of these being from the general public

Background: this Greenway follows the route of the old Limerick – Tralee / Fenit railway line. Currently a stretch between Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale is open, in co. Limerick.

The Listowel document relates to the Limerick county section up to the Kerry boarder; the Fenit document relates to a separate section, from near Tralee to Fenit, both currently undeveloped.

Main website: http://www.southerntrail.net/

Further update, from the Kerryman

Cyclists call on gardaí to protect them from road rage drivers

Cyclists have called for more action by gardaí to protect cyclists after a number of apparent road rage incidents emerged in videos on social media.

The call came after dash-cam footage of an incident involving a cyclist and taxi driver on Belvedere Road between North Circular Road and Dorset Street in north Dublin was published on social media on Wednesday.

Read article (which contains video)

Cycle Right or Cycle Wrong?

In 2017, Deputy Catherine Murphy addressed a question in the Dail about the management of the cycle training programme Cycle Right, specifically the anticipated increase in cycling to school and the benchmark for success. This was against a background in the UK of increased training having no significant effect on cycling levels unless accompanied by the provision of high quality infrastructure.

The response by Minister Shane Ross was in short that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport had no idea about how effective the scheme would be and did not have any benchmark for success.

In 2018, one year on from having introduced the scheme, Deputy Catherine Murphy again asked about the effectiveness of Cycle Right. (​ See full transcript of question and answer) In a rambling response, the Minister Shane Ross confirmed that there was no data available on the number of children cycling to school directly as a result of Cycle Right training.

He did state that in 2017, 15,245 pupils participated in Cycle Right training in 428 schools. which means that 4% of primary schools pupils (if only primary schools took part) 1 or 2.7% of all pupils received cycle training. He went on to state that

“This cycle training ……. will result, over time, in an increase in the number of responsible cyclists on our roads. As Cycle Right is essentially a training programme, we will continue to monitor it based on the number of participants ……

There is no evidence that cycle training on its own will lead to increased cycling. In stating the increase in terms of additional responsible cycling, it could be interpreted that there would be no additional cyclists – only more ‘responsible’ ones. The statement that they will continue to monitor Cycle Right based on the number of participants is “flannel”. Of course the Department is going to continue to monitor the scheme as it is funded on the basis of a payment per head.

The response to the parliamentary question then rambles on to discuss the Green Schools programme although Green Schools were not referred to in the question. The Green School programme monitors the number of children travelling by active means but only those schools which are participating in the Travel Module. Any school which is not participating in the Travel Module or in the Green Schools programme is not monitored. The survey results report an increase from 3% to 4% over two years. This is more selective hype and spin by the Minister and his Department as they aggregate the results over more than one year in order to boost the results.

So now we know that only a small percentage of pupils receive cycle training and nobody has any idea about its effectiveness. This lack of interest in its outcome begs the question what is this Minister and / or senior management doing?

Minister Ross announces additional Funding for New Safety Measures for Cyclists

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross T.D. today confirmed an additional €400,000 of funding  is being made available to Dublin City Council for investment in cycling safety infrastructure.

Speaking at today’s announcement Minister Ross commented –

“I want to encourage more people to cycle and I realise that safety is a concern to many, so I am continuing to invest in safety measures for cyclists. This €400,000 will improve safety for cyclists at 40 key junctions across Dublin City Centre and is a great example of my Department and the National Transport Authority working with local authorities to improve cycling and walking infrastructure generally.”

This investment will be used to  fund Dublin City Council’s installation of  smart cyclist detection equipment at 40 key junctions around Dublin. This new traffic management feature aims to make busy junctions safer for cyclists by using smart technology to regulate traffic more effectively. In particular these measures will help alleviate concerns of cyclists regarding collisions and crossing times at busy junctions.

Minister Ross stated: “This funding is in addition to the €110million I have already secured for the development of cycling and walking infrastructure across the country over the next 4 years. Furthermore, significant investment is planned under the BusConnects programme in Dublin, which will deliver around 200km of, where possible, segregated cycle paths.”

The Department is also a key sponsor of Velo-City 2019 and is working closely with Dublin City Council (DCC), who will host the event.  The Minister said “I am delighted to support this prestigious event and look forward to welcoming the conference, delegates and sponsors back to Dublin in June of next year.”

The Minister also wished the NTA’s Smarter Travel Team success for their ‘Reboot your Commute’ campaign that is launching tomorrow and thanked the National Transport Authority and DCC for their continued commitment to improving infrastructure.