The Rural Cycling Collective is an expanding array of small groups and individuals within the wider Cyclist.ie Advocacy Network with a focus on making rural communities (towns, villages and rural roads) cycle friendly for all ages and abilities.
This August 15th – 29th 2020 – Practice Walking, Cycling, Scooting or Kite-Surfing to your school – with events happening around the country and a nationwide ‘scavenger hunt’ style competition there is plenty of opportunity to show that kids like you want to be able to get there safely and on their own steam! Find out about events near you by getting in touch with your local cycle advocacy group, find them on ourinteractive map here.
The Nationwide ‘Get to School on your own Fuel’ Competition
As long as it’s human powered you can play the game!
How to play : Start by registering your team of 1-8 participants (primary or secondary level students), once registered you will be redirected to a print-friendly Competition Scorecard. Each item on the score card has a point value, the more points you score, the more likely you are to win our hamper of bike-y goodies!
What’s involved: Some items on the list require you to post photos to our facebook, like a photo ‘along your route’ or ‘with your group in front of your school’. Others are tasks like ‘create a route map’ or ‘count the bike parking at your school’! Full details are on the print-friendly score card. (If you are under 13 you will need adult supervision on all your cycles, and use of a parent/guardian’s facebook account.)
When you are done : Post your final score on our Facebook (tagging #gettoschool @cyclistie) total by Friday 28th August at 12pm – the top 3 teams will invited to submit a photo of their completed scorecards and some evidence of items completed – a winner will be declared Saturday 28th of August by 5pm and we will post out your big hamper of bike-y goodies!
MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday 30 July 2020 A Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland Launched by Cyclist.ie’s Rural Cycling Collective
During the lock-down period of restricted travel, one widely remarked phenomenon was the large increase countrywide in the numbers of people of all ages out walking and cycling.
A desire to retain that peace and freedom, together with the promise by the new coalition government of an annual €360 million spend on walking and cycling infrastructure has led to the formation of a new Rural Cycling Collective. Comprising an array of groups and individuals under the umbrella of the wider national Cyclist.ie advocacy network, the group is focused on making rural communities (towns, villages, and rural roads) cycle-friendly for all ages and abilities. It aims to re-balance the debate on active travel so that everyday journeys by bike across rural Ireland are enabled and supported.
“A VISION FOR CYCLING IS A VISION FOR THE FUTURE”
Launching the manifesto, Joan Swift, speaking on behalf of Sligo Cycling Campaign – a member group of Cyclist.ie – said
Today, we launch our vision document which aims to promote and celebrate everyday cycling in towns, villages and their surrounding areas. We are launching the Rural Cycling Collective to highlight the needs of areas outside of the major cities. We are campaigning for a fair distribution of transport funding to regional parts of the country to make cycling for all ages and abilities a reality. Our 8 identified priorities have the potential to completely transform our communities.
“RURAL COLLECTIVE HAS 8 PRIORITIES”
The collective is calling on Local and National Government to:
Create an environment in our towns, villages, and rural roads where cyclists are expected and respected.
Create and map useful, connected cycle routes throughout Local Authority areas.
Implement best practice design so that routes are safe and comfortable for all ages and abilities.
Prioritise safe cycle routes to schools and car-free zones at school gates.
Lower Speed Limits to make our roads and streets safer and more accessible for everyone, and to reduce casualties.
Ensure clear and timely access to funding by improving capacity at all levels of local and national government.
Collaborate with all stakeholders – including cycling and community groups – at all stages of planning and design.
Provide cycle training for all ages especially children
Taken together, these measures would transform active travel throughout Ireland. The co-benefits would include improvements to health, safety, congestion, air-quality, noise levels, and the public realm. More cycling will also help us to meet our climate change obligations. Speaking ahead of the launch, Anluan Dunne from Kerry Cycling Campaign said:
We can be a voice for areas of Ireland that have not yet realised the potential of cycling for everyday activities – cycling to school for children, to work, to the post office for your pension, to shops to buy a litre of milk – or to cycle around to your neighbours for a catch-up. We need to change how we develop our towns, villages and rural roads and we need our collective voice to be heard
At a recent family fun cycle in Clonakilty as part of the multi-location launch of the Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland, there was an overwhelming feeling that both children and adults love exploring their local neighbourhoods and areas on their bicycles, and that cycling needs to become an everyday part of life in Ireland again.
Jo Sachs-Eldridge, from Leitrim Cycling Festival, who led the creation of the vision, invites everyone – people who cycle, people who don’t cycle, want-to-be cyclists, mums, dads, planners, councillors, Ministers and An Taoiseach – to get involved in shaping this vision and helping to make it a reality.
The Rural Cycling Collective plans to foster collaboration amongst cycling groups across Ireland and to jointly lobby local authorities and public representatives for the changes which will entice more people to choose the bicycle for everyday activities. It will also work towards a cycle-friendly Ireland by collaborating with all stakeholders, organising regular events, fun-cycles and campaign actions.
Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network is the umbrella body of cycle campaigning and advocacy groups in Ireland – https://cyclist.ie/. It is the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation – https://ecf.com/.
Cyclist.ie made a detailed submission today, Sun 22 Nov 2020, to the Road Safety Authority in regard to the preparation of their Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 (as per this formal consultation process). You can read our submission below. A big thanks to the Cyclist.ie Executive Committee for leading on this and to our many volunteers for their valuable inputs.
Questions 1 and 2: What are Our Road Safety Priorities for the coming 10 years? And Suggestions to Meet Them.
1.1 Stockholm Declaration 2020
Ireland is a signatory at this year’s Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety. The agreed Stockholm Declaration is a wide ranging document that sets out the basis for a broader road safety approach, and recognises that ‘the overwhelming majority of road traffic deaths and injuries are preventable and that they remain a major development and public health problem that has broad social and economic consequences’.
In this upcoming RSS, the RSA needs to ensure that the statements and resolutions of the Stockholm Declaration are mirrored in Ireland’s RSS.
Cyclist.ie urges that the RSA take full cognisance of the 2020 Stockholm Declaration statements and resolutions, as signed by the Government, and seek to ensure we fully meet our international commitments under this declaration.
1.2 Beyond Vision Zero
The RSA has outlined that the main principle of the new 2021-30 RSS is for a Vision Zero approach. This Vision Zero approach ensures that broader aspects of road safety planning are considered such as road design, speed limits, as well as the road user.
But a further development on this approach has evolved titled Beyond Vision Zero (BVZ) – This approach advocates not just for reduction of road fatalities and injuries, but also for the parallel promotion and increase in cycling and active travel, a broader whole society approach. This approach also mirrors aspects of the 2020 Stockholm Declaration. Resolution 2 of the Stockholm Declaration broadly describes this approach – see below.
Address the connections between road safety, mental and physical health, development, education, equity, gender equality, sustainable cities, environment and climate change, as well as the social determinants of safety and the interdependence between the different [Sustainable Development Goals] and targets are integrated and indivisible;
Essentially, more people walking and cycling is an indication of a safer and healthier transport system, as people grow to have greater confidence in the overall safe road designs. These increased levels of participation need to be also backed up by regular monitoring and research.
Cyclist.ie urges the RSA to move from Vision Zero to embed a Beyond Vision Zero concept into our national Road Safety Strategy 2021-30, to ensure a more holistic approach to road safety, and public health.
1.3 Collision Data and Analysis
As in all systems approaches, good data is a critical baseline information point to enable clear analysis of the issues arising. Throughout the last RSS the ready availability of good quality data, on all aspects of road incidents, has been found wanting, much of this problem related to doubtful GDPR-related decisions, but also to the lack of resources invested in data researchers. An example of the paucity and delays in data analysis is exemplified by the latest detailed analysis on Serious Injuries available now in late 2020, is from 2017, 3 years ago. Is this really acceptable?
If high quality data is unavailable it is more difficult to diagnose the problems and the required solutions. It is critical that the public availability of anonymised data is delivered regularly, and as soon as possible following road incidents. This will likely involve additional training for Gardaí, to ensure all data is recorded at locations of incidents, that there is increased cooperation between An Garda Síochána (AGS) the RSA and the Health Service Executive in regard to hospital Emergency Department data. That there will be improved technology in collecting the relevant information, and increased investment in data analysis, to ensure the timelines between incidents and analysis is reduced. That annual reports are published jointly by Garda and RSA on all aspects of road incidents from death and serious injury analysis to conviction levels for driving offences.
Cyclist.ie wants any GDPR-related issue to collection and analysis of road incident data be resolved, resources for data research to be increased, and data be released to Ireland’s research community as soon as possible for speedy analysis and feedback into ongoing RSS development. Annual reports must be delivered to measure how we are performing on the various measures set out.
1.4 Reduction of Injuries to Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs)
As road deaths to VRUs have generally decreased or flatlined in recent years, available analysis from AGS / RSA would indicate that serious injuries to VRUs have been increasing, both in terms of absolute numbers, and disproportionately in comparison to vehicle occupants. This data, which unfortunately is only available up to 2017 highlights the need to seriously target issues which will support the safe use of our roads by VRUs. More frequent, and more detailed reports such as the recent Cyclist Injuries 2016-18 report need to be made available. But also, and this has not been a factor in reports issued by AGS and RSA, through analyses of the information obtained, solutions need to be developed. Solutions such as infrastructure design improvements, reductions in speed limits and technology use, to make our roads safer, need to be put forward.
This continuing large increase in serious injuries to VRUs needs to be tackled and solutions addressed. Simply presenting figures related to deaths and injuries is not enough. The figures need to be drilled into, and need to be analysed critically, and without delay. The impact of serious injuries on people’s livelihoods, and the economy in general, is profound and needs to be factored into RSS 2021-30.
While recognising the specific commitment to VRUs in the Draft RSS 2021-30, Cyclist.ie demands particular emphasis on more frequent, timely, and critical analysis of serious injuries to VRUs, to enable timely solutions to these serious injuries to be addressed.
1.5 An Garda Síochána to set up a dedicated online portal for the processing of video evidence
The recently introduced ’Dangerous Overtaking of Cyclists’ law has given some increased protection for cyclists on our roads, but the law needs to be strengthened through the use of technology, common in other jurisdictions, e.g. London’s Metropolitan Police. This technology allows cyclists and other VRUs, and all road users, to report dangerous overtaking offences via a dedicated police online portal, from where the footage can be triaged by a dedicated team and sent for prosecution as deemed appropriate. At present this reporting can only be done by physically visiting a Garda station and reporting the incident with camera footage of dangerous overtaking and other driving offences. This reporting system needs to be completely updated.
We also want to see the implementation of all the recommendations made in the RSA 2018 Report on Minimum Passing Distance (MPD), and ensuring that Garda Traffic conduct Operation Close Pass as part of these recommendations.
Cyclist.ie wants to see the rapid introduction of incident reporting via a dedicated online portal, as is common in other jurisdictions, and the implementation of RSA’s recommendations on MPD.
1.6 Speed Limit Reduction
Speeding accounts for a significant portion of road traffic deaths, and despite this awareness, drivers continue to exceed posted speed limits regularly, as indicated by all recent RSA Free Speed Surveys. There is no doubt that vehicle speeding also accounts for a significant proportion of serious injuries, which have debilitating social and economic effects. As outlined in the Stockholm Declaration (Resolution 11), and recently introduced in the Netherlands all default urban speed limits should be reduced to 30kph. We also need a suite of lower ‘fit for purpose’ speed limits on our rural roads, and not a blanket 80kph limit. Cyclist.ie recommends consideration of a new ‘Rothar Road’ designation (minor rural roads waymarked for cyclists) where the speed limit is tailored to the safety of all potential users, and where people on foot and on bikes are ‘expected and respected’. See https://cyclist.ie/ruralvision/
We would also like to see annual Free Speed Survey updates to measure progress on speeding issues. Additionally, we would like to see the RSA making formal submissions on all measures affecting road safety, and especially in regard to proposals for Local Authorities to introduce lower safer speed limits. We also want to see the national Speed Limit guidance updated, the corresponding website https://www.speedlimits.ie/ kept up to date, and engineering features introduced into speed limit setting.
Cyclist.ie seeks the introduction of a default 30kph speed limit in all urban areas, the introduction of ‘fit for purpose’ speed limits on rural roads, and the updating of our national speed limit guidelines.
1.7 Safe Routes to School
The present Programme for Government outlines the provision of Safe Routes to School as a transport priority. This is a critical proposed development, as the numbers of young people cycling have dramatically dropped since the mid-1980s, and the school gate car drop has become a feature of our modern obsession with the car. Shockingly, just 694 girls cycled to secondary school in 2016 (as per the most recent Census data and as discussed on page 14 of the 2018 Get Ireland Cycling Strategy Framework produced for Sport Ireland). These graphs of both ‘Active Travel’ and cycling to school indicate the vast range across the country.
The growth of Cycle Buses, parent-led initiatives to protect children cycling to school, is a development that should not be necessary. Children should be enabled to travel safely to school by bike or on foot as far as possible. Safe routes to school, and not just designated ‘school streets’, need to be prioritised, and also accompanied by lower speed limits for motor vehicles.
Cyclist.ie seeks a concerted national effort, with appropriate guidelines, to ensure that facilities for children countrywide to cycle and walk safely to school are provided.
1.8 Roads Policing and Legislation
The need for continued enforcement of road traffic infractions is unfortunately a continuing requirement of a road safety policy. In line with the resolutions of the Stockholm Declaration, Ireland must ensure that the requisite resources for this necessary policing are provided and that all road traffic infractions are punished in line with legislation. Legal loopholes need to be clearly eliminated to ensure that all unacceptable driver behaviour is properly prosecuted. Crucially, the road traffic legislation needs to be consolidated and simplified to ensure that all enforcing authorities and road users can understand it. Cycle-friendly legislation, such as ‘presumed liability’ measures, contra-flow cycling, and left-turn-on-red traffic lights, needs to be introduced, similar to our European neighbours, to encourage more people to cycle, and thus make our towns and cities healthier and more people friendly. Gardai need to be regularly updated and trained and able to comprehend road traffic legislation in its entirety, including new laws introduced.
Cyclist.ie wants to see the full complement of the Roads Policing Unit in the Garda reached. We also seek a consolidation of the existing road traffic legislation, and elimination of legal loopholes. New cycle-friendly legislative initiatives need to be introduced to encourage greater levels of cycling. And Gardai must be au fait with traffic legislation.
1.9 Targeted Education Programmes
Where data and research indicate particular road safety issues, the RSA needs to develop specific messaging for different groups (across age, gender, class, ethnicity, locality, etc) with stories told in their own words. Local Authorities could, for instance, do this through their Healthy Ireland / Local Community Development Committees. But a particular opportunity for further education and updating of drivers on road safety issues occurs during the times of mandatory vehicleNCT testing. It is a chance to put drivers through a form of ‘revision’ testing or at the least reminder points, while they await the results of their NCT. Cyclist.ie would also like to see taxi drivers undergo a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) test.
Cyclist.ie wants to see targeted messaging of different population sectors to increase the impact of the messaging, as well as the introduction of specific programs for drivers having their vehicles NCT tested, and a CPC for taxi drivers.
1.10 Language Used in Messaging
So often in the media the use of language, in such descriptions as ‘cyclists versus cars’ or the continuous use of the term ‘accident’ when the word ‘collision’ or ‘crash’ is more appropriate, can lead to a perpetuation of the misguided assumption that people on bikes are somehow fundamentally different than people who drive. In the UK, guidelines are being developed to encourage responsible reporting around cycling road collisions and incidents, and to avoid particular language that can lead to the ‘othering’ of people on bikes. In short, those choosing to cycle or walk need to be spoken about as people using a particular form of transport – and, most likely, they will be multi-modalists, i.e. users of different transport modes for different trip types. We need to get away from the divisive language of ‘cyclist’ versus ‘motorist’ versus ‘pedestrian’ “at war with each other” as the tabloids unhelpfully describe it.
RSA and Gardaí interacting with posts on social media will allow opportunities to educate road users on issues they may have little understanding of. The addition of a cycling module in the rules of the road would help with this in the future but as a beachhead strategy, behaviours such as riding in primary position are not widely understood beyond those who cycle. Other misunderstandings will also present themselves and allow further education opportunities. Many UK police forces use their social media accounts for this purpose.
Cyclist.ie would like to see media guidelines developed on collision reporting, and general road incidents, in line with the developments taking place in the UK.
1.11 Rules of the Road and Driver Testing During this upcoming RSS we would like to see an open consultation process on suggested amendments to the RSA Rules of the Road (ROTR) publication, whereby stakeholders provide inputs on particular elements of the publication. Up until now, the process by which the ROTR publication was updated has been opaque.
Additionally, we recommend that there is a specific cycling module as part of the driver testing process, such that any prospective driver learns to understand the expected positioning of cyclists on the road, and their safety requirements. We would further strongly recommend that every trainee driver of a heavy goods vehicle needs to undertake on-bike training to understand experientially what it is like to be on a bike as part of the mix of vehicles in a busy (multi-lane) road environment. Currently, HGVs are over-represented in the road traffic statistics on serious and fatal collisions involving people on bikes.
Cyclist.ie wants to see an open consultation on the Rules of the Road publication, and the introduction of a specific cycling module as part of the driving test.
1.12 Reduce Emphasis on High-visibility Clothing as a Solution
While the ‘Be Safe-Be Seen’ message is important for all road users, the preponderance and ubiquity of RSA hi-viz jackets has sent out a message that walking or cycling is an inherently risky exercise. In court cases and inquests following incidents, the references to wearing or non-wearing of hi-viz has often skewed the verdict against the victims of the incidents. This emphasis on what the person cycling or walking needs to do to keep safe, creates a false impression that once you don hi-viz and/or a helmet you’re safe. It shifts the onus from the real source of danger, the large vehicle, the speeding vehicle, the drunk or distracted driver, or the unsafe infrastructure.
Hi-Viz is not a solution to road safety. The messaging and level of distribution of hi-viz has tended to ‘dangerise’ the simple acts of walking and cycling. Positive messaging, such as the safety, health and fun aspects of walking and cycling, and greater emphasis placed on road planning and driver behaviour, as illustrated in the hierarchy of controls graphic below, and all road schemes, whether, maintenance, upgrades or new developments, must include consideration of walking and cycling. PPE is at the bottom of this hierarchy.
Cyclist.ie would like to see greater emphasis on better planning of roads to factor in safe walking and cycling, greater emphasis on the safety, health and fun of cycling, and less emphasis on wearing of hi-viz by pedestrians and cyclists.
1.13 Working Together Groups
The proposal under the previous 2013-20 strategy of recommending the setting up of ‘Working Together’ groups in Local Authorities in order to progress the Strategy, was a positive idea. Unfortunately, as it was just a proposal, many Councils did not set them up, and the difference in approach to the Strategy varied from Council to Council. We propose that the setting up of these Working Together Groups in each Council area should be obligatory, and should contain at least the following representatives: Council officials and engineers; Councillors; Garda Traffic senior person; RSA representative; NGO sector groups, including cycling representatives.
Cyclist.ie recommends that the Local Authority Working Together groups be made mandatory for Councils to set up, and with an agreed membership.
Question 3: Any Comments on 2013-20 Strategy?
While a mid-term review of the 2013-20 strategy was carried out in 2016, we still await a final review of the Strategy in 2020. This necessary review is critical in evaluating the past strategy and in trying to shape the ambitious targets for the new 2021-30 strategy.
The 2013-20 Strategy specifically targeted a decrease in road fatalities to 124 in 2020. While road deaths have decreased considerably we note that the most recent available data shows that there have been 129 deaths already in 2020, so unfortunately this target will not be met.
Similarly, with serious injuries the previous strategy targeted a level of 330 serious injuries in 2020, as being ‘realistic’. But we know from the most recently available data in the RSA-Garda analysis from 2019, but related to 2014-2017, that serious injuries were increasing year on year, and had reached a level of 981 in 2017 nearly 3 times above the original target. 43% of these serious injuries were to pedestrians and cyclists, the most vulnerable of our road users.
So, as can be seen from the above data we have patently failed to meet the targets set out in the 2013-20 strategy. The question must be addressed as to what form targets should take, and how can we really move towards a Vision Zero, or Beyond Vision Zero strategy for the 2021-30 strategy?
While government departments and agencies were listed stakeholders in the previous 2013-20 strategy, no other NGO or Community stakeholders were listed. All stakeholders should have been listed, and the value of community and NGO stakeholders was borne out by a number of legislative and legal interventions during the period of the previous strategy.
Question 4: Any International Examples that would help improve Ireland’s Safety Performance?
Operation SNAP is a good example from Wales of the use of a dedicated online Police portal for the reporting of video footage of alleged traffic violations. http://gosafe.org/
1 – The Review of the 2013-20 strategy was published prior to advancing this new Strategy in order to ensure that all elements were captured. A few months delay in developing the new strategy would have little effect on the outcome.
2 – The initial consultation period was longer to allow local groups, NGOs, and individuals to fully consider the implications and possibilities within a new Strategy.
3 – Wider advertising of the Strategy 2021-30 consultation had been undertaken, to encourage greater participation and input from the wider population.
Waterford Bicycle User Group, formerly called Waterford Cycling Campaign, is an increasingly active local advocacy organisation and member group of Cyclist.ie. In this article, Frank Ryan from the Waterford BUG fills us in on what is happening in the south east.
Can you tell us what the main issues in Waterford City are as regards making cycling easy and safe and normal as a mode of transport?
Background Similar to other major population centres in Ireland, Waterford city pursued a car centric planning policy from the 1950s onward. This culminated in a city with one river crossing dominated by motorised traffic.
To make the city centre more attractive to pedestrians the then Waterford City Council adopted a policy of pedestrianisation of the primary retail area from the 1980s onwards. This policy was supported by the construction of a number of car parks along the city quays and adjacent to the periphery of the historic core of the city. These were designed to bring the motorist to within walking distance of the main shopping areas of the city centre.
The construction of the N25 Waterford city bypass presented the council with an opportunity to redesign the layout of some of the main routes into the city. Following the opening of the bypass in 2009, the City Council reviewed the main traffic thoroughfares into the city centre, specifically the city Quays and the Ferrybank dual carriageway. An attempt by the City Council to develop a ‘Green Route’ along these routes ran into significant objection from motoring, retail and other interest groups. The amended outcome created bus and cycle lanes which have to co-exist and interact with road traffic and on-street parking.
The Present Changes to road usage and the protection of cyclists and pedestrians brought about by Covid-19 presented an opportunity to review some of these ‘green’ aspirations.
Waterford City and County Council (WC&CC) received funding of €2.3m from the National Transport Authority (NTA) towards the development of a ‘slow zone’ in Waterford city centre. The design and implementation of the projects approved under this programme must be completed by the end of November 2020. According to an NTA statement: “The funding will also allow for changes to traffic management arrangements to facilitate the reallocation of overall road space to improve facilities and safety for pedestrians and cyclists.”
The Bike Share scheme was due to be extended to Waterford city before the end of 2020. The implementation of this scheme has been delayed by Covid-19. It is envisaged there will be 14 docking stations in the city, primarily in the city centre and the public transport hubs. These will link up with a number of radial routes catering to Tramore commuter traffic at Waterford Regional Sports Centre, University Hospital Waterford, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and the IDA Industrial Park.
The NTA has committed funding for a number of cycle related projects for Waterford city including €750k for the WIT to city centre cycle route, €75k for the design of cycle facilities on the inner ring road (Cork Rd to John’s Hill), €1.55m for the Bilberry to Waterford city cycle route extension of Waterford Greenway and €100k for a multi-modal transport study for the Dunmore Road to city centre route.
And what about the other towns in Waterford such as Tramore and Dungarvan?
The amalgamation of Waterford City Council and Waterford County Council under the local government reforms of 2014 brought about a more cohesive and unified transport planning approach for the combined city and county area.
The town of Dungarvan (pop 9,227 in 2016) was the county town and administrative centre of County Waterford prior to the merger of the city and county. The merged council has retained administrative functions in the town. Dungarvan covers an area of 553 hectares which is relatively flat and is conducive to cycling. It benefited from the Smarter Travel scheme in 2012, receiving funding of €7.2m. It could be argued that the focus on cycling brought about by this initiative was one of the factors behind the development of Waterford Greenway, which opened in 2017.
The town of Tramore (population 10,381 in 2016) is located 12kms south of Waterford city. It is a popular bathing and watersports destination. It consists of a waterfront area with the ‘old town’ area based around the main street. The construction of the Tramore by-pass stimulated the development of housing which attracted purchasers from Waterford city during the boom years of the early noughties. Tramore is classed as a commuter town for Waterford city. Using figures from the 2006 census, approximately half of the population of the town travelled between 5-24 km to attend work, school and college, primarily in Waterford city.
Waterford County Council received funding of €310,500 under the National Cycle Network Funding Scheme 2012/2013 to develop a cycle along the R575 between the outskirts of Tramore and the Waterford city ring road.
Have you noticed any additional interest in making Waterford (city and county) more cycle friendly on the back of the success of the greenway?
The opening of the 46km long Waterford Greenway between Waterford city and Dungarvan in 2017 has been a significant draw for national and international tourists. The route is based on the former Waterford, Dungarvan and Lismore railway which opened in 1878.
The economic benefit for the urban centres of Waterford city, Kilmacthomas and Dungarvan has stimulated demand for additional connectivity to the Greenway from smaller towns and villages.
The towns of Cappoquin and Lismore are lobbying for an ‘extension’ of the Greenway. Unfortunately this section of the former railway line has been closed for a significant period of time. The proposed does not lend itself to a removal of the track and vegetation and resurfacing as a cycle and walkway which was the case with the Waterford to Dungarvan section.
There is a ‘spur’ currently under construction from Kilmeaden Railway Station, home to the Waterford and Suir Valley Railway, to the village of Kilmeaden, some 2km away. This will be achieved by the construction of a new hard surface track to junction with an existing roadway which will be altered to incorporate a dedicated cycleway.
Can you tell us a bit about the history of Waterford Cycling Campaign, and its re-emergence as the Waterford Bicycle User Group!?
Waterford Cycling Campaign was re-established in Jan 2018 with the aim of making Waterford city and county the cycling friendly county.
The change of name to Waterford Bicycle User Group in 2020 was implemented to broaden the appeal of the group to cyclists who may have been challenged by the more adversarial connotations attached to the previous name.
Do you have any contact with your neighbouring campaigning organisations – WEXBUG, Cork Cycling Campaign and Kilkenny Walking and Cycling Campaign – either unilaterally or though Cyclist.ie?
We have been in contact with Kilkenny W&CC through Cyclist.ie events.
Initial contact has been made with a group in Tramore who are lobbying for the reopening of the former Waterford Tramore railway line as a Greenway.
It is planned to make contact with Wexford BUG, arising out of the construction of the New Ross to Waterford Greenway, which is scheduled to open in Spring 2022.
How are you looking to change the policies and practices of Waterford City and County Council re sustainable transport and cycling? Any successes (or frustrations)?
Our group has made a submission to the Waterford City and County Development plan 2022-2028.
Are there any opportunities emerging which could be exploited to advance the cause?
The announcement of public funding of €110.6m on 10/11/2020 towards the regeneration project for Waterford City’s north quays will greatly enhance the connectivity of Waterford city and its suburb of Ferrybank on the northern bank of the river suir. The former port area was mothballed following the relocation of Waterford City port downriver to Belview in the early 1990s.
One element of the North Quays project will consist of the relocation of the train and bus stations to a site north of the river. The development will be linked to the city centre on the southern bank of the Suir by a 207m footbridge which will incorporate an electric busway.
The bridge will also act as a link between the Waterford Greenway and the New Ross – Waterford Greenway.
The Road Safety Authority, the government agency with a remit to “save lives and prevent injuries by reducing the number and severity of collisions on the road” (see here), is preparing a new Road Safety Strategy, 2021-2030. Information on the consultation process can be read here. Cyclist.ie will be making a submission on this process which has a deadline of 18 November 2020.
Several representatives of Cyclist.ie already took part in the online consultation session on the new strategy on 21 October and a delegation from Cyclist.ie met with the new CEO the RSA, Sam Waide, on 03 November.
Our overarching message to the CEO, which will be fleshed out in our written submission, is that the RSA needs to Go Beyond Vision Zero in its new strategy. In other words, it is not sufficient to be aiming to have zero fatalities and serious injuries on the roads – we need to be aiming to have a roads and transportation system which also promotes good physical and mental health, and hence is welcoming for people walking and cycling of all ages and abilities. We need to reduce and ultimately eliminate road danger, and create a society in which active travel is a normal way to get about.
Examples of other points we will be stressing are that collision data and their analyses need to be far more thorough, and there needs to be close coordination between the collating of hospital Accident Department (AD) data on road traffic collisions and Garda data. Other points we are stressing are the need for lower safer speed limits in all built-up areas and a change in the language used in reporting on collisions. On this latter topic, see this article by Cycling UK: What’s in a word? Cycling UK helps draw up new media guidelines.
Over the coming days we will be drafting our submission to the RSA, so if there are particular points you would like us to stress in our submission, please contact us and keep in touch.
Post-script of 22 Nov 2020 You can find our submission sent into the RSA on 22 Nov (the extended deadline) here.
Eamon Ryan, Minister, and Hildegard Naughton, Minister of State, at the Department of Transport jointly announced on 9th November 2020 the allocation of a further €63.5million towards Greenway development in 2021. Greenways development is overall a good news story, particularly for rural Ireland as they provide a new level of amenity and access to safe active travel.
Cyclist.ie warmly welcomes this increased allocation and we look forward to progress on the proposed developments, which are spread over a total of 11 counties. A number of these funded routes will form sections of the planned EuroVelo Route 1 trail, which will undoubtedly help to attract European and other bicycle tourists to different parts of Ireland in the future!
Additionally, most of the routes announced link into towns and villages which will help to boost active travel in these areas, and provide safer conditions for local people looking to cycle and walk. Besides enhancing the public realm and facilities in the areas, the development of the greenways will provide a welcome boost for jobs both at the construction stage and beyond.
Now it is up to us cycling advocates to ensure these monies are well spent on high quality facilities in our areas. We will do this by linking in with local County Councils. So those of us who are from any of the 11 beneficiary counties – Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Limerick, Wexford, Wicklow, Offaly, Longford, Kildare, Galway and Mayo – make sure you familiarise yourself with the plans and do what you can to support them, but also to monitor developments. Many of our Cyclist.ie local groups are already doing this!
The Dublin Cycling Campaign CLG Annual General Meeting will take place on Thursday, 3 December 2020 at 7.30 pm. The Dublin Cycling Campaign CLG is the legal entity under which Cyclist.ie and Dublin Cycling Campaign operate.
The AGM is open to fully paid-up members of the Dublin Cycling Campaign and Cyclist.ie. Please register your attendance using the link below with the email address you use for your membership. Deadline for registration will be 5pm on Wednesday, 2 December 2020.
Elections – there are no open positions on the board therefore there will be no elections
Submitting and voting on Motions
Member motions can be submitted by paid-up members and must be submitted to the Secretary ([email protected]) by 26th November 2020. Motions will be proposed and seconded by members. We will not accept any ammendments to motions on the day so please make sure they are written as clear, actionable items for the board.
Final date of registration – 2nd December 2020. Only fully paid-up members of Dublin Cycling Campaign and Cyclist.ie as at 5pm on 2nd December 2020 can attend and vote at the AGM.
Cyclist.ie made a submission yesterday (Fri 30 Oct 2020) to the National Transport Authority (NTA) in response to their consultation on the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS).
The draft LSMATS aims to sets out a framework for investment in transport for the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area for the next 20 years.
Cyclist.ie is incredibly disappointed with the document. We maintain that the current draft of strategy lacks integrity and credibility and will struggle to deliver for Limerick and the Shannon region over the next twenty years. LSMATS needs to be the oversight document that establishes the transport ambition in the region for the years ahead. The ambition for active travel in the draft strategy is nowhere near where it needs to be.
Cyclist.ie is requesting that the NTA and Minister for Transport pause the current process to:
(a) align LSMATS with the climate and active travel commitments made in the current Programme For Government, the Living With Covid Plan, the Climate Action Plan, and the National Planning Framework, and
(b) bring an updated draft of LSMATS forward for a subsequent round of public consultation and engagement that allows for meaningful stakeholder and public engagement .
An Taisce is running an online fundraising campaign to support the work of the National Cycling Coordinator (NCC)
For the last seven years, Cyclist.ie has had a strategic partnership with An Taisce – the National Trust for Ireland in support of the NCC position. This part-time role was created following a successful funding application by Cyclist.ie to the European Cyclists’ Federation’s Leadership Programme. See here and also here for more information on that programme.
The NCC role is all about helping everyday cycling to grow, drawing on expertises from within An Taisce and Cyclist.ie. One of the main challenges of the role is to help Cyclist.ie’s member groups link together and make decisions in a cohesive way and thus create a stronger campaigning force at a national level. In 2008, there were just seven member groups in Cyclist.ie – from Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Maynooth, Skerries and Waterford. As of October 2020, there are 25 member groups within the network, with further cycle campaigning (and greenway) groups now crystallising and looking to become part of the network. On this interactive map (with a screen shot below), we show the cycling campaigning/advocacy groups on the island of Ireland with many of them member groups of Cyclist.ie. The map is currently being developed and updated further.
An Taisce and Cyclist.ie are now working to ensure that the NCC position can operate on a more permanent and full-time footing, so as to help build the network of campaign groups countrywide – and, ultimately, so that government funding can be leveraged to be spent on more high quality cycling infrastructure nationwide and so that more cycle friendly legislative interventions can be introduced.
(This post previously appeared on the Maynooth Cycling Campaign website)
Kildare County Council recently carried out Covid-19 works in Kildare Town. Part of the works included the reallocation of space in the town square from car parking to tables and benches for people to sit and relax. The change in the environment from a place dominated by cars to a place for people to linger is striking and has deservedly been warmly welcomed.
However, the same cannot be said of the second works in the town on Cleamore Road (Academy Street). Cleamore Road is approximately 250m long and contains a school, community building, shops, factory unit and private houses. Its cross section varies from 7.5m at the lower section, 8-9m in the middle section and increases to 15m at the upper end. Traffic has been restricted to one direction and footpaths have been widened to give more room for social distancing. The photographs below show the result of the works.
Cyclists from the north west of the town have to take a circuitous diversionary route via Grey Abbey Road to access the school as no contraflow cycle track has been provided. Rather than providing a School Street or School Zone to enable children to safely cycle to school, the work is more likely to encourage cycling on the footpath than to encourage more cyclists.
The works have been heavily criticised by cycle campaigners for its failure to properly provide for cycling. Covid funding was intended to provide for increased walking and cycling, not walking OR cycling. Over 1000 children attend the adjacent St Brigid’s School but according to the 2016 Census, only 7 children cycled to primary school. As can be seen from the photograph, cyclists are expected to share the road with cars. Few parents allow young children to share the roads with cars anywhere, so why does the Council expect them to do so in Kildare Town?
Kildare County Council made a short video of the works which can be seen here. A council engineer describes how the works allowed the footpath on one side to be widened a minimum of 3m and on the other side to nearly as much. While this is true of the lower section, it is patently untrue in relation to the middle section. As can be seen from the photograph, there is room for parking on both sides of the road and a footpath on just one side ( and also hatching for vehicles) but there is no room for a dedicated cycle path. To crown matters, parking on the west side is perpendicular to the road – just what is needed for reversing cars to deter any cyclists with doubts about cycling safety. Further along the road, there are road markings which indicate “Private Parking” in front of the factory unit so the Council acquiesces in the decision to allocate public space to parking for a private company. The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets sets out a road user hierarchy with pedestrians at the top, followed by cyclists and with drivers of private cars at the bottom. The design for Cleamore Road ignores this but councils get away with such decisions as they are judge and jury on the matter.
In Ireland, cycling has flatlined nationally for the last twenty years. Unless Kildare County Council starts to provide high quality cycle infrastructure, it won’t change in Kildare for the next twenty. In the July Stimulus, Kildare only received half the allocation of similar commuting counties such as Meath and Wicklow. If the council continues to ignore the needs of cyclists with designs such as Cleamore Street and even worse recent examples in other Municipal Districts, Kildare will be lucky to get half in the future.
Cycling Ireland is the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of cycling on the island of Ireland and it is affiliated to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). As an NGB it has access to specific levels of government funding (via Sport Ireland), the bulk of it related to cycle racing, but it also runs a variety of programs supporting cycle training and casual or leisure cycling. We in Cyclist.ie work with Cycling Ireland, and we are close to signing an updated Memo of Understanding (MOU), which will cement support to Cyclist.ie from Cycling Ireland over the coming years, and enable us to work more closely together on agreed cycling targets.
This year’s Cycling Ireland AGM, held on Saturday 17th October 2020, was a successful online event to which Cyclist.ie was officially invited for the first time, and whose Annual Report contained a dedicated page on Cyclist.ie, also for the first time – see below.
It is interesting to note that despite the largest element of funding for Cycling Ireland being allocated to competitive cycling, the largest block of its paid-up members is leisure cyclists – nearly 70% of the total membership. This is also reflected in the results of its membership survey carried out this year, which shows that their main reason for cycling is leisure, not competition, and many of them participate in Cycling Ireland organised leisure events. This important membership category was recognised a number of years ago by the setting up of a separate Leisure Commission within Cycling Ireland. And looking at the objectives of this Cycling Ireland Leisure Commission, it is notable to see the number of aims that coincide with some of our work in Cyclist.ie, such as:
Promote Safe Cycling by devising and implementing Initiatives.
Continued support for AXA Community Bike Rides.
Promoting courses to train members as ride leaders.
Build communication with schools and promote cycling as a healthy activity for both physical and mental well-being.
Promote cycling as an environmentally friendly activity and an alternative means of transport for short journeys.
Build communication with local County Councils with a view to having an input regarding cycling infrastructure at the planning stage.
Cycling Ireland is also to be commended for the wealth of education and awareness programs it operates such as the flagship national Cycle Right training program, and also a variety of other programs geared towards getting more women and children cycling such as Bike Like Me, Sprocket Rocket, Bike for Life etc. Check out the Education and Programmes section of the Cycling Ireland Annual Report
So, we in Cyclist.ie look forward to future cooperation and development of cycling together with Cycling Ireland. Why not contact your local cycling club and see if they are interested in moving everyday cycling forward on your Local Authority agenda?