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Tralee to Fenit Cycleway/ Walkway

This event will take place exactly a year after the last public event, a year which has seen little progress on the project yet again !

It is also 6 years since the first public support walk in 2011, this time we are calling on people to get on their bikes to demand the development of important facility.

Meet at Saint Brendan’s church Rock Street for a 2.30 departure for cycling leisurely cycle to Mounthawlk and back.

This is a family friendly event for young and old and all abilities but if you don’t fancy cycling please come along and walk.

Spread the word and lets make the greenway happen, hopefully next year we can cycle to the beach.

More information

Great Southern Trail Christmas Walk & Railway Book

The  annual Christmas Walk along the Great Southern Trail Greenway will take place on Wednesday 27th December at 12.30p.m.. Assembly is at the newly opened Longcourt House Hotel (formerly the Courtenay Lodge), St. Mary’s Road, Newcastle West. The hotel is on the N21 and the public bus services stop alongside it. Walkers will be transferred by courtesy coach to Barnagh from where they will walk the 6 miles[10km], all downhill and mostly along the old railway, back to the Longcourt House where they can enjoy seasonal mince pies, whipped cream and tea/coffee at their leisure. All walkers must wear visibility vests as the final section is through the streets of Newcastle West and involves crossing the busy N21 which must be crossed at the zebra crossing close to the hotel. Cyclists, with visibility gear, helmets and lights, are also welcome and we suggest that they also meet at the hotel at 12.30p.m. and cycle outwards along the Greenway for approximately one hour to Barnagh or beyond and then return in time to enjoy the refreshments. Beidh fáilte roimh gach éinne ar an lá.

As Christmas is coming a nice gift to oneself or to family/friends would be the  Great Southern Trail Limited’s newly published “Limerick & Kerry Railway: Twilight Years” by Liam O’Mahony which is laden with information about the Greenway’s railway history. It is not alone a personal memoir by Liam of the 1950’s to 1980’s railway finale but also reproduces several historic documents. These include a list of the 300 or so shareholders (many of which names are still to be found locally) in the Rathkeale & Newcastle Junction Railway Company which built the line to those towns 150 years ago. Another historic gem which is included is a chapter from “Through the Green Isle”; a Victorian era travel guide which extolled  the historic attractions of Adare, Askeaton, Foynes, Ballybunion and Ardfert along with the then newly operational Lartigue railway in Listowel. Liam’s book is  very well illustrated with thirty of the photographs being in colour. Twenty full colour railway posters advertising  excursion trains to Dublin, Thurles, Cork, Killarney, Knock Shrine and Listowel Races during the 1950’s to the 1970’s will bring back memories to many.

Copies of the book will be delivered throughout all of Ireland for €15 (inc.postage). Orders from all of Britain will be £17stg  and  from all other countries €20 due to overseas postal rates. The book has 187 pages including a 32 page colour section. It is 170mm x 240mm format, soft cover. Enquiries to Liam O’Mahony, 9, Bishop St., Newcastle West, Co.Limerick V42HT66, Ireland to whom cheques should be made payable[or phone/text 00353876471956]. If payment by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is preferred please email your name and address to [email protected] and you will be provided with the bank BIC and IBAN. Please remind the bank to include your name on the EFT.

“Stop Killing Cyclists” – Vigil & Demonstration

In the past week two more people have lost their lives while cycling on roads in Ireland, bringing the total number of cyclists killed in 2017 to 14*. That is *four more than were killed in all of 2016, and it makes 2017 the deadliest year for cyclists in more than a decade. The number of people who cycle who have been seriously or fatally injured is available at the Road Safety Authority

The members of each of our groups are sick and tired of the silence and inaction by government, both local & national, when it comes to cyclists’ safety. We have been calling for increased funding and resources for cycling and for the Garda Traffic Corps, so as to increase the member and officer complement from its present low of approx. 700 to a strength of 1,200, but those calls have fallen on deaf ears, and cyclists continue to be killed as a result.

Just yesterday we had a report on Facebook of a club cyclist clipped by an overtaking vehicle while out on a club spin. It was yet another hit-n-run caused by dangerous overtaking, which is a statutory offence covered by the Fixed Penalty-Points regime. However we never see any statistics published by An Garda Síochána to show how many FCNs are issued for this offence. We need this vital data. There is silence and inaction from the key government ministers – Minister Ross (Transport) & Minister Flanagan (Justice) – who hold responsibility for road safety and policing, respectively.

Colm Ryder (Chair of Cyclist.ie) stated: “The number of cyclists dying on our roads is growing, while other vehicle casualties drop.  This government needs to invest in cycling to protect vulnerable road users from these increased tragic losses of life.  Our thoughts are with the two most recent casualties, who came from both ends of the age spectrum.  This trend needs to be reversed, and can only be reversed by the Government making the right decisions and investing more in active travel.  MAKE CYCLING SAFE!”

Dr. Paul Corcoran (Chair of Dublin Cycling Campaign) stated that “the number of vehicle fly-parked in the mandatory-use cycle tracks on the streets of our capital, and right across the land in urban areas, during their period of operation is unacceptable. Illegally parked vehicles force cyclists out into the fast-moving traffic-stream putting riders at increased risk of being hit. They are not an aid to doing business”.

Clara Clark of Cycling Without Age, www.cyclingwithoutage.ie, “asks all road planners and users to respect and look out for cyclists on all our roads. We want Cycling Without Age trishaw trikes to become an accepted form of mobility for our older and mobility-impaired citizens. Cycling offers sustainable and healthy travel to all. Motorists need to recognise and allow space and for safe overtaking, safe road use, particularly at junctions, and parking for cyclists. We call on government and local authorities to consult with cyclists and cyclist groups when planning and upgrading new road layouts. For example, Cherrywood in south Dublin new road proposals offer unrealistic and bicycle-unfriendly junction options”.  

Stephen McManus for IBIKEDublin says: “Death by car should never become normalised in a society that cares for its people. Thirteen parents, children, partners, siblings have been killed while cycling to work, school or while just out going about their lives.
The state must act immediately and make infrastructure safer for pedestrians and cyclists to avoid further deaths.
The Dáil must also pass the Minimum Safe Distance Passing Bill into law immediately.

We must all remember that roads are primarily designed to facilitate the movement of people. The people who choose the most dangerous mode of transportation must carry the most responsibility for the safety of other road users.
Every death is one too many.”

Phil Skelton of ‘Stayin Alive at 1.5’ says: “Many motorists are simply not aware of the rights of bicycle riders and the challenges they face in navigating a road system designed primarily for motor vehicles, underpinning a stubborn prejudice that bicycle riders are “rogue” road users.

While bicycles are defined as vehicles, and given similar rights to cars when on the road, they face disproportionate vulnerability
The Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 campaign, has made use of social media, various awareness videos, vehicle signage, safety campaigns, press releases etc. to ask motorists to “give space” to bicycle riders.  The RSA has been active in this area too, but this has been ongoing with cyclists for some time now and and although has some positive effect it doesn’t reach the target audience we need to engage, those who are might view people on bicycles as road furniture, as an inconvenience, which needs to be overtaken hastily and at the first opportunity. those unwilling to take on the message or dismissive of vulnerable road users altogether.
Introducing a minimum passing distance law would be a significant and progressive step in changing the focus on sharing the road”.


This Tuesday, 21st of November, we are joining forces as #Cyclist.ie #IBikeDublin, #StayingAliveat1.5, #DublinCyclingCampaign and #Cyclingwithoutage to let the Government know that the issue of cyclists’ safety can no longer be ignored.

Join us from 5.30pm as we hold a vigil in memory of the people killed while cycling on Irish roads.

Further information

  • Colm Ryder: 087-237 6130
  • Stephen McManus: 089-977 5896
  • Phil Skelton: 086-811 4118
  • Paul Corcoran: 086-103 5617

Latest Tragic Cycling Death Unacceptable

Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, is troubled and saddened by the recent death of a cyclist in Co Meath last weekend, bringing to twelve the number of people killed while cycling in Ireland, so far in 2017.  This is more cyclists than were killed in all of 2016.  All of these deaths have involved motor vehicles.  We would like to convey our deepest sympathies to the family of the latest victim and indeed to the families of all those killed on our roads.

Colm Ryder, Cyclist.ie Chairman said “These deaths have not been caused by accident; they have been caused by avoidable collisions.  Collisions arise because of error, incapacity, inattention or distraction on the part of drivers or cyclists, with inadequate design or maintenance of roads or vehicles as contributory factors. Other factors that contribute are lack of awareness of, and/or respect for people who cycle, and dangerous driving such as speeding and dangerous overtaking.”

We are calling on the following immediate actions to reduce or eliminate the risk to cyclists on our roads:

  • We call on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to increase funding for cycling, invest in safe, well designed infrastructure for cycling and to introduce necessary changes in the law such as the proposed Minimum Passing Distance Law (Note: Less than 2% of transport funding is allocated to cycling. This low figure compares with a UN recommendation to allocate 20% of Transport funding to cycling.)
  • We call on the Minister for Justice, Charles Flanagan, and the Garda to improve and increase enforcement of road traffic laws, especially in relation to cyclists’ safety and well-being.
  • We call on the RSA to increase its efforts to improve road safety for vulnerable road users, and in particular to bring about improvements in the education of drivers to be more aware of, and to give adequate space and respect to cyclists and pedestrians on our roads.
  • We call on all road users
    – to drive with due care and attention,
    – to refrain from speeding and using mobile phones and other distractions,
    – to refrain from drinking and impaired-driving,
    – to keep their vehicles roadworthy, and above all
    – to be aware of, and respect each other on the road.

As we have stated so many times cyclists do not throw themselves at motor vehicles with a death-wish. There is something wrong with traffic on our roads.

NTA Makes Dog’s Dinner of Cycle Quality

The NTA have made a dog’s dinner of cycle facility quality. Yes they are concerned about quality and yes they refer to it in the National Cycle Manual but does anyone outside the NTA really understand it?

When people are booking a hotel or apartment, they have an understanding of the ‘Star’ system of ranking. They may not understand the difference between a 2 star and 3 star hotel but they understand that a 3 star hotel is more luxurious or offers better facilities than a 2 star one and they would expect to pay more for it (all other things being equal).

So what is the story with the quality of cycle facilities? There are five levels of service – A+, A, B, C and D. Any cycle facility which does not fall into the first four is category D. Width is one of five determinants of quality the other being number of conflicts, percentage of HGVs on the route, pavement condition and journey time delay. (There has been some modification to pavement condition as a result of the development of the Greater Dublin Cycle Network but the amendments have not been incorporated into the written or digital version of the Manual.) Width is by far the most important determinant so what does the Manual say about width and level of service? The Manual assesses width in terms of the number of adjacent cyclists as shown below.

 

Quality of Service

No of Adjacent Cyclists

A+

2+1

A

1+1

B

1+1

C

1+0

D

1+0

 

So is the width of Level C the same as Level D? And is the width of Level A the same as Level B? What width is necessary to achieve category A? In Section 1.5.2 of the Manual, there are references to widths of five cycling regimes but the Manual does not state if the cycling regimes corresponds to the Level of Service, and furthermore the exact meaning of different regimes is unclear and open to interpretation. For example what does basic two way mean? It can mean whatever you want.

Section 1.5.1 of the Manual Determining Width includes the following The designed width of a cycle facility is comprised of the effective width, i.e. the space that is “usable” by cyclists, as well as the clearances that will be required in different circumstances.

Effective width as opposed to designed or constructed width is a very important concept as it takes edge conditions into account. This is important as local authorities often provide a 2m wide cycle track which with a kerb adjacent to the footpath on one side and another kerb adjacent to a traffic lane on the other, only has an effective width of 1m.

To make matters worse, the minimum standard is defined as 3m, but whether this is effective width or designed/constructed width is not clarified and it does not define whether this is one way cycling shared with two way pedestrians or two way cycling shared with two way pedestrians. As 3m is the minimum standard in accordance with the National Cycling Manual, it is assumed that the level of service for cycling is the fifth and lowest category ie D. Then, just when you think that the NTA couldn’t complicate things further, they succeed.

In 2015, they published a Permeability Best Practice Guide which also has five levels of service but in this case they are A,B,C, D and E.

Section 3 of the Guide defines widths for the different Quality of Service (see below) but doesn’t define whether these are effective or constructed widths.

 

Quality of service

Minimum Width (m)

A

4m+

B

3-4m

C

2-3m

D

1.5-2m

E

<1.5m

 

The Best Practice Guide states that local authorities in urban areas should aim to provide a Level A quality of service for any pedestrian or cycle links between residential areas and destinations such as schools and shops. Not unreasonably, the document goes on to point out that Level A will often be unachievable due to constraints but at least sets out a high target.

So where does that leave the common situation that arises where one section of a route has segregated cycle facilities and the next section has a 3m wide shared footway? Using the permeability criteria, the shared section is ranked category B and C (second and third) but using the National Cycle Manual criteria, it is D (fifth). What would you think of an organisation which ranks a hotel as one star, three star and four star at the same time? The idea of a star ranking is good. It gives politicians and the general public a crude but widely understood assessment of quality. However, the time to properly define its use is long overdue.

This article originally appeared on the website of Maynooth Cycling Campaign.

Ironic that the NTA HQ features a vehicle parked outside on the pavement

River Shannon Athlone cycling and pedestrian bridge approved

We are thrilled that An Bord Pleanála has approved the proposed development of a pedestrian and cycle bridge crossing the River Shannon in Athlone. The decision was made on 31st October 2017. 

This is a critical element of the jig-saw in building the Dublin to Galway Greenway which is part of the longer Moscow to Clifden EuroVelo Route #2 Capitals Route

Cyclist.ie, made detailed submissions to An Bord Pleanála supporting the proposal and we are delighted it has now progressed through planning. One of our submissions is below. For all of our members who helped out with the site visits and fed in to our submissions, we say *A BIG THANK YOU*!

The next stage is, of course, securing funding to get the bridge built … and that is where more advocacy work is required! 

Keep in touch with us if this is an area of cycle advocacy that interests you! 

Note: the image shows the location of the proposed river crossing. More anon on the details of the bridge and links. 

Dangerous overtaking

OK so you have been out cycling and you feel the chilling effect and intimidation of wind displacement and vibrations caused by a close passing vehicle. You know the feeling from previous incidents but this time you are using an onboard or head camera and you’ve recorded the incident on your ride. You’re mad as hell and want to report it to the Gardaí.