It’s 2021. And the cycle routes in Ireland are not yet good enough.
Too often the designs overlook key elements, which help to make routes safe and attractive.
Ordinary people like you, are not participating in the design process.
Cyclist.ie has a bold ambition to help solve both of these problems.
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.
Cyclist.ie welcomes the continuing high level investment in Active Travel projects and personnel from the present government. These investments are critical in helping Ireland to match its Climate Action Plan ambitions. The most recent announcement on 1st February 2023 allocated funding of €290 million nationwide for 2023 and sees a wide array of projects being funded. These range from small footpath schemes to full blown urban greenways and bus corridors. The allocation of this National Transport Authority (NTA) funding recognises the breadth of work that needs to be done to begin to increase cycling and walking, and reduce the use of the private car in our society.
Funding allocations range from a high of nearly €60 million for Dublin City down to several million Euro for some of the less populous local authorities. The four Dublin local authorities together account for nearly 43% of the allocated funding.
In this article, we provide feedback from some of our own member groups in the Cyclist.ie network on allocations for particular counties / local authority areas. Our contributors have highlighted where spend seems appropriate and is to be lauded, but they also have concerns on the spend on some more questionable schemes (particularly road resurfacing projects).
Limerick Limerick Cycling Campaign warmly welcomes the allocation of €21m in funding for Limerick as part of the NTA funding allocation of €290m for walking and cycling projects in 2023.
It will see delivery of large primary routes such as the TUS (Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest) to City Centre and Hyde Road schemes in this calendar year as well as a number of key secondary routes in all three metropolitan wards. Progress on Active Travel measures on the Dublin Road are particularly welcome. It’s currently a very hostile road for those who walk or cycle and is a significant barrier to modal shift for those residents and UL students living in the area.
There has been a significant increase in rural funding including a fund of nearly €5m for active travel improvements in rural towns and villages as well as an expansion of the Safe Routes to School Schemes for many primary and secondary schools in the city.
One slight concern is the low funding amount attached to the Pathfinder project from Park Canal to Clare St. We would hope that we would see a significant increase to this essential project in 2024 as plans progress.
While it’s encouraging to see the Ballycummin area of Limerick City West included, we would hope to see progress to deliver the full orbital route around the Ballycummin / Church Hill Meadows area and the inclusion of the main Church Hill Meadows Road and the remaining small stretch of Dooradoyle Rd as soon as possible. With excellent projects on Fr. Russell Road and the Quinns Cross route being delivered in 2023, these will be the natural next steps to connect the largest estates in Limerick City West to the rest of the network.
Overall the funding shows the work that Limerick’s Active Travel Team, supported by the larger council and our elected reps, is advancing is gathering significant steam. We would call on all Limerick stakeholders to see the huge opportunities that this funding presents for Limerick as we move to a transport system that supports our climate responsibilities, our health and well-being and a more sustainable way of moving around our city.
Meath Meath’s allocation of €14,135,000 is very welcome and, outside of the four Dublin local authorities, Cork and Limerick, is the highest allocation to a county from this year’s funding. The allocation is spread across 38 different projects, and in total almost half of the total funding (€7m) is for schemes in Navan.
The majority of the funding for cycling infrastructure in Navan is for ongoing schemes which are already in various states of planning, such as the Trim Road Cycle Scheme, the R147 Kells Road Scheme and the R147 Martha’s Bridge to Circular Road Scheme. One notable addition is the inclusion of the Pathfinder Project, on the R161 Navan to Trim road.
Of the €7m funding for Navan, €3m is for the ongoing Navan 2030 works at Kennedy Plaza, which unfortunately do not contain any plans for cycling. €1m is allocated for the new LDR4 bridge from the Kells Road to Ratholdren Road. While this new bridge and road will incorporate active travel infrastructure, it is well documented that new roads only serve to further embed car dependency, a phenomenon known as induced-demand. It is unclear how this project can be awarded funding under active travel.
We feel that active travel funding should have been secured for this area of the town to facilitate the installation of cycle lanes along the Ratholdren Road. We have been advocating for safe cycling infrastructure along this road since last May. There are two schools at either end of the road, a leisure centre, the town’s only park and the trailhead for the soon to be opened Boyne Valley to Lakelands County Greenway. We are very disappointed about the lack of progress as Navan’s residents are denied safe cycling access to the host of amenities mentioned above. The new greenway is highly anticipated and we are very concerned for the safety of children and other vulnerable road users, either trying to access Navan town centre if coming from Kilberry/Wilkinstown/Nobber or Navan residents trying to access the greenway from the town. This existing problem will only get worse as demand for greenways around the country has proven to be exceptionally high. We cannot wait years for the completion of the LDR4.
Sligo Spokesperson for Sligo Cycling Campaign Joan Swift said the Campaign very much welcomed the €3m Active Travel allocation for Sligo and is particularly pleased with the Safe Routes to School funding for Scoil Ursula, St John’s, Strandhill and Enniscrone. Giving children and parents the freedom to get to school on their own fuel is key to unlocking the health and well- being benefits of active travel.
Sligo Cycling Campaign is also pleased that funding has been secured to commence the Pathfinder schemes, Carraroe to town centre and town centre to the ATU (Atlantic Technological University). The Campaign will be looking for clarification on some schemes which merely say “Active Travel” as it’s unclear what this means in practice. We very much welcome the proposed footpath scheme from the station in Collooney, but we are concerned for example that in a social media post Councillor Thomas Walsh included road resurfacing as well as footpath enhancement and junction tightening in his description of the Collooney schemes. Road resurfacing, while necessary in our view, should come from the roads maintenance budget and not the Active Travel allocation. The footpath from Collooney to Ballisodare also appears to be already well advanced, so again we will be asking for clarification in regard to the purpose of the €550,000 allocation for this scheme. A further concern we have is why a parklet costing €70,000 is included under Active Travel.
Clare We note the allocation of €4.5m for County Clare and more than 50% of this is allocated to Ennis town and surrounds. €400,000 is allocated to Active Travel Team staff costs. €1.2m is allocated to footpaths in towns and villages.
Almost €6m was allocated to Active Travel in Clare in 2021. Many of the proposed schemes in 2023 seem to be very similar to those that were proposed in 2021. There is not enough evidence that the schemes proposed in 2021 have actually been completed. We would like some clarification on what was spent from the 2021 allocation and on what exactly, and how these schemes differ from what is being proposed in 2023.
There has been virtually no funding allocated to cycling infrastructure in this round. Some such infrastructure was implemented in Ennis from the 2021 funding.
No funding at all seems to be allocated to active travel in rural areas, or visitor attractions and sites. There is very little in North and West Clare, except for small amounts in Lisdoonvarna and Miltown Malbay / Spanish Point for footpaths and pedestrian crossings.
For example, there is a section of cycling / walking path between Lahinch and Liscannor which was started a number of years ago, and it remains unfinished and dangerous to walk or cycle on. This is not included in the current allocations, but needs to be remediated at the very least.
Many of the Active Travel Schemes have very limited funding allocation, apart from one on the Tulla Road in Ennis which has been allocated almost €1.8m (40% of the total budget). There is also no detail on what any of the Active Travel schemes will actually include, so we would like clarification on this and exactly what these schemes include and hope to achieve.
South Dublin County The South Dublin Sub-group (of Dublin Cycling Campaign) welcomes the allocations in the Active Travel Investment Programme 2023 which advance the Cycle South Dublin Programme. We are especially pleased to see all the unfinished sections of the Dodder Greenway included in the Programme as well as major investment in the Wellington Lane Cycling and Walking Scheme, the Castletymon District Enhancement Programme, D24 Neighbourhood Cycle Network, Killinarden Park and Greenway Scheme, Active Travel for Clonburris and the Grand Canal to Lucan Urban Greenway. We are pleased also that some funding has been allocated under the 2023 Greenway Programme for the Grand Canal 12th Lock (Lucan) to Hazelhatch scheme but disappointed that the allocation is not adequate for completion of the scheme in 2023.
Conclusion Cyclist.ie welcomes the investments in Active Travel projects countrywide. However, we stress here the need for spending to go on those schemes which form important elements of local cycle networks and which connect to important destinations such as schools, colleges, town centres and greenways. We do not support AT funding being spent on motor traffic / road capacity expanding schemes with minor ‘tag-ons’ of cycling infrastructure or on road resurfacing projects. We will be following up with the NTA and with the local authorities in due course in regard to these.
For more information on the Active Travel Grants Programme delivered by the Active Travel Investment Section of the NTA, see here.
Hats off to University College Cork, Cork Cycling Campaign and the Cork Environmental Forum for devising and running the wonderful Socio-Cycle: Cycling Symposium last Friday and Saturday (03 & 04 Feb 2023)! It was just what the doctor ordered after almost three years of mainly non in-person cycling advocacy (and academic) gatherings in Ireland.
The lead organiser was Dr. Eileen Hogan from the School of Applied Social Studies in UCC, and her team packed quite an amount into the symposium which lasted a day and a half – with formal sessions taking place in Cork City Hall and in the gorgeous Hub building in UCC.
Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in a special #IBIKEBop on the streets of Cork (see video below), and then catch up more informally for food and drinks afterwards.
Cyclist.ie was out in force with over a dozen active members of our network giving papers and talks – and with many more attending as delegates and contributing to the discussions.
The keynote lecture in City Hall was delivered by Dr. Meredith Glaser (pictured below) from Urban Cycling Institute, University of Amsterdam. She gave a wide ranging presentation on the multi-pronged and multi-dimensional processes associated with demotorising and rehumanising our cities, based both on her studies and her lived experiences of Dutch cities. Her descriptions of the people filled – rather than motor vehicle filled – streets in Amsterdam near the school she lived beside reminded us all of why we are doing what we are doing! Plenty of food for thought in her talk which was followed by a long and lively Q&A.
Meredith’s talk was followed by a Policy Fishbowl, which the organisers described as “an interactive discussion informed by participants’ cycling experiences”. It was a really great format in which a brief pitch on a cycling topic was followed by rapid fire contributions, with delegates swapping between the main audience and a revolving panel – and all happening with the prominent count-down clock keeping us in check! We will be robbing this format for a future event in Cyclist.ie, we are sure!
The topics and questions explored in the fishbowl were: – firstly, how can we harness public consultation to deliver the best possible solution? – secondly, should cycle training be made mandatory in schools? – thirdly, how do we ensure that future governments preserve the 20% allocation for walking and cycling from the transport capital budget?
On the point of cycle training, Cyclist.ie maintains that we need curricular reform at primary level to mandate it in the same way as we have for swimming.
The sessions in UCC on Saturday ran from 9am until 4.30pm with a wonderfully diverse array of topics covered from multiple disciplinary perspectives. We highlight here the contributions of some members of Cyclist.ie.
Mairéad Forsythe, Chair of the Board of Dublin Cycling Campaign CLG / Cyclist.ie (pictured below – and in blue in the policy fishbowl above!), explored the topic of lower speed limits in urban areas and their role in increasing the numbers of people cycling. She highlighted just some of the work that the Love 30 group has spearheaded in recent years, and brought us up to speed on where the campaign is to make 30km/h the default speed limit in built-up areas.
Mairéad Forsythe from Love 30 (Photo Credit – TBC)
Meanwhile, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, National Cycling Coordinator with Cyclist.ie and An Taisce, explored the topic of where cycling advocates’ energies should best be targeted in the coming years. He stressed the need for us to focus on capacity building, and on fundraising in particular, so that Cyclist.ie can grow into a much stronger outfit and better leverage the amazing volunteering energies and skills of our network of members. This is what our counterparts on the Continent have done in recent years.
Damien Ó Tuama showing the extent of Cyclist.ie’s growing network of groups (Photo credit – Siobhán McNamara)
Jo Sachs Eldridge from the Cyclist.ie Executive Committee / Leitrim Cycling Festival gave two talks on Saturday. The first, drawing on the ‘Emergent Strategy’ ideas of Adrienne Maree Brown, examined the topic of how can pro-cycling activism become more impactful; while at the end of day – in a packed plenary session! – Jo spoke about the “Cycology of Change”. Both talks whetted our appetites and we look forward to debating the points and questions she raised in another forum very soon!
Clara Clark from Cycling Without Age spoke about “Cycling Without Age: The Right to Wind in your Hair”. The key point was the exponential growth of the take-up for trishaws nationwide (60 to date, with more on order), and the benefits to passengers. Many of the recent trishaw sponsors are local authorities placing them for community-based use. This demands better safe cycling infrastructure to accommodate all types of non-standard cycles: Infrastructure = Accessibility. There needs to be greater liaison with the LA Active Travel officers to ensure this will happen.
Clara Clark from Cycling Without Age (Photo Credit – Dr. Eileen Hogan)
It is well worth watching this “Inclusive Bike Scheme – Coastal Mobility Route” video produced by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council if you haven’t already seen it. It shows the inclusive nature of high quality cycling infrastructure, especially when used in combination with the CWA trishaws.
Conor Buckley, Chair of Limerick Cycling Campaign, spoke about successfully campaigning to get targets included in the final / published version of the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS) and the importance of unifying these targets in transport strategies across the country. He also discussed the importance of independently monitoring and reporting on targets to measure the return on the significant investment currently being made on infrastructure. In short, it is not enough just to make sure funding is spent!
The above overview just scrapes the surface of what was delved into (mainly by Cyclist.ie speakers) at what was a top class conference. It was a pleasure to hear so many informative talks from academics and campaigners based in Ireland, all of whom are thinking seriously about low carbon mobility. Additionally though, there were two excellent speakers tuned in from afar, with the technology bringing them right into the room and allowing for quality conversations and Q&A.
Firstly, Professor Peter Cox – now based in the Rachel Carson Institute near Munich and well known in cycling academic circles – gave a keynote address entitled “Care, Commons, and Uncontrollability: Developing Habits for Anthropocene Citizenship”. His talk engaged with a number of concepts linked to the destructive ways of 20th century modernism (the results of which are covered in the IPCC 6th Assessment Report), how the system of automobility colonises travel spaces and encloses “the commons of road space”, and how we notice the world more when on a bicycle. A lot of food for thought in his paper. We look forward very much to the publication of his book on this topic so we can dig into his ideas properly!
Secondly, Dr. Léa Ravensbergen, Assistant Professor, School of Earth, Environment & Society, McMaster University in Toronto, spoke about “Fostering Equitable Cycling Cities: Considering Gender and Cycling Through a Mobility Justice Framework”. She explored some of the main hypotheses which seek to explain the gender gap in everyday cycling, before unpacking the important concept of mobility justice. It was another thought provoking session, which generated many questions from the delegates.
Both of these talks added greatly to the symposium.
As well as talks, there were videos played including a lovely one from Cork Cycling Festival shown in a packed Shtepps Theatre.
There was so much else that stimulated us at the UCC conference, that we will be thinking about the topics over the coming weeks and months and beyond. We might even post another article on the symposium quite soon, pointing to some of the other fine speakers and presentations that we heard. It’s simply not possible to do them all justice in this short article here!
Cyclist.ie sends its hearty congratulations to all of the organisers and contributors. We look forward to meeting them again soon and to continuing the conversations.
As we launch ourselves into another year’s campaigning, we have taken some time to reflect on the breadth and depth of advocacy work that Cyclist.ie carried out last year.
In this article, we look back on 2022 through the frame of our 2021-26 Cyclist.ie Strategy (with our six strategic aims shown below) and consider how much progress we have made. In particular, we highlight where Cyclist.ie and its member groups are making a real impact on the mobility culture of Ireland. Note, however, that this article only scrapes the surface of all of the incredible work conducted by our network of volunteers for which we are very grateful. We are happy to receive feedback on this article, either in the comments below or else by contacting our National Cycling Coordinator directly.
Aim #1 – Developing a vibrant and resilient all-island cycling advocacy community (p6 here) The nurturing of a vibrant campaigning community is a central aim for Cyclist.ie. Without new members coming on board, feeling welcome, getting active and collaborating with others in an organized way, it is difficult for our advocacy work to make the impact we are seeking. Thankfully, Cyclist.ie has been led by a super committed Executive Committee of 12 persons (see here) over the last year. It met 11 times in 2022 (almost every month!) and organised two well attended online Council meetings for our group and individual members. While the online meetings worked very well, we are all looking forward to meeting up in person in 2023.
One of the big organisational developments made during the year was the bedding in of our nine Action Groups, formed to help advance particular strands of work in Cyclist.ie. Our AGs, shown below, are each generally based around particular skill-sets (such as finance, IT, communications, people-skills around engaging with ‘the system’ of politicians or officials, engineering / planning, and research) plus advancing the rural cycling agenda (which itself involves a real mix of skills).
In terms of organisational development on the Communications front, Cyclist.ie was delighted to receive the professional input of the Marketing Agency We the People in drafting a brand new Communications Strategy for us. This arose as part of a successful funding application to Rethink Ireland (see below). This support sets us up well for 2023, when we are looking to adopt a fresh approach to getting our message out and engaging in public debates. In addition to this, we posted over 35 original articles to the website, issued 12 action packed newsletters to our 2000+ subscribers, and made many postings to our social media platforms on our core campaigning topics. We comment further on our broader impacts on the public under Aim #2 below.
A crucial part of the development of the organisation in 2022 was the work advanced by the board of Cyclist.ie / Dublin Cycling Campaign CLG around our governance structures and developing a completely new Constitution and Operations Manual. The board met 9 times in 2022, and we are now nearing the end of our journey to arrive at a more fit-for-purpose and modern governance configuration for the organisation. The finalisation of this work will have many positive knock-on effects including ending up with a stronger organisation which is more attractive for members, staff and funders. Additionally, the regulation of our activities will be streamlined and risks better managed. All in all, we will be able to make a bigger impact on public policy and practice with our new arrangements in place.
Funding for Cyclist.ieand for the position of National Cycling Cycling Coordinator has remained a real challenge in 2022, as we set out in this article in November. The uncertainly over funding has been our Achilles’ heel as we seek to strengthen cycling advocacy and make a bigger impact. That said, we scored a great win in 2023 with a successful funding application to the European Commission as part of a consortium applying for Erasmus+ funding on a project entitled Generations Pedaling for Inclusion and Climate Action as set out in this article. Meanwhile our strategic partnership with An Taisce, initiated back in 2013, has continued successfully and it will shortly enter its 10th year. Additionally, we are very grateful to Cycling Ireland for their own support for the National Cycling Coordinator position, and we look forward to engaging with them regularly in 2023. We also acknowledge here the support of Lime in joining Dublin Cycling Campaign / Cyclist.ie as a Business Member – as per this article and the ongoing support of the Irish Heart Foundation.
In 2022, we forged stronger connections with other organisations through formal and informal coalitions. We remain active members of The Wheel, of Stop Climate Chaos and of the European Cyclists’ Federation – and we were delighted to have three Cyclist.ie representatives (Mary Sinnott, Colm Ryder and Damien Ó Tuama) attending ECF’s in-person AGM in Berlin in May as reported on here.
All in all, a lot of ‘behind-the-scenes’ work was advanced in 2022 to improve the organisational structure of Cyclist.ie, put it on a firmer footing and enable us to collectivise the massive energies and skills of our network so that we can make a significant impact on the transport culture.
Aim #2 – Influence the national conversation on mobility and quality of life (p7 here) Our work to change the conversations and discourses around mobility and quality of life take place on a daily basis.
This happens through our social media postings, newsletters and web articles, but crucially we articulate our low carbon vision of the future of mobility through regular contributions to TV and radio programmes and podcasts, and print and online media. Some of the major media appearances included:
Galway School Cycle Bus on What planet are you on?;
RTE’s Morning Ireland regarding the Athlone to Galway Greenway;
Public online meetings are another way in which we disseminate our messages, and Cyclist.ie / Dublin Cycling Campaign planned and ran many successful public meetings during 2022. Some of the more popular meetings with a national and international focus included:
Public Meeting on the Velo-city 2022 conference. See the recording here.
Public meeting on EuroVelo Route #1 held on 15 Nov. See recording here.
Finally, over the last year, we have been creating new partnerships and aligning ourselves publicly with events, projects, groups and individuals with overlapping values and other overarching ‘liveable communities’ priorities – such as with the Hospital Active Travel Awards above.
Aim #3 – Seek to ensure public policy embraces cycling (p8 here) Amongst the most important policy documents shaping what actually happens during a term of government are the Programme for Government and the National Development Plan – and then the annual budgets. Both the PfG and the NDP already include significant commitments for investing in cycling, and the annual allocations for the NTA and TII (and hence to Local Authorities) for cycling are unprecedentedly high. From a policy perspective, cycling is in a far better place than it has been for, perhaps, any other period in the history of the state – and Cyclist.ie has played an important role in this positive change. However, one of the major difficulties we are experiencing in 2022 has been the under-spending of those government allocations by local authorities. We revisit this point under Aim #5 below.
Cyclist was pleased to engage directly with Transport Infrastruture Ireland (TII) on the advancement of plans for the National Cycle Network, and the updating of the Rural Cycleway Guidance design document.We also welcomed the publication of the CycleConnects proposals by the National Transport Authority, and we made detailed submissions on both of these – on the NCN (in June) and on CycleConnects (in November).
Overall, Cyclist.ie made close to 100 written submissions to Local and National Authorities in regard to transport strategies and schemes, with further submissions made by local campaign groups. Our Consultations Action Group is now developing a new more user friendly consultation tracking system. Some further examples of major submissions made include:
Metrolink (by Dublin Cycling Campaign) to An Bord Pleanála – see here
Finally, at the end of 2022, the government published its Climate Action Plan 2023 on which Cyclist.ie provided its initial assessment in this web article. It is worth noting that the transport section of CAP23 was influenced strongly by the publication of the OECD’s Redesigning Ireland’s Transport for Net Zero report, as commissioned by the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC). Back in April 2022, Cyclist.ie was invited by the CCAC to a two-day workshop which was held as part of the planning work underpinning the development of the report. Joan Swift (from Sligo Cycling Campaign) represented Cyclist.ie at it. Joan was subsequently invited onto the panel for the launch event of the OECD report. Cyclist.ie warmly welcomed the publication of this report as it argues strongly for transformative change in the mobilities space – not simply incremental changes or an excessive reliance on the electrification of the private motor vehicle fleet for the decarbonisation of the transport sector.
Note that in 2022, Cyclist.ie met the Department of Transport (twice) on a variety of policy and practical issues, the National Transport Authority (three times – mainly in regard to the National Cycle Manual) and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (twice – in regard to the National Cycle Network and the new Rural Cycleway Design Guidance).
And in regard to engaging with politicians, some of our main activities in 2022 included:
Parliamentary questions (PQs) submitted on several topics of concern to cycle campaigners.
Meetings with Labour, Sinn Féin and People Before Profit on the development of their new cycling / transport policies.
Engagements with all parties on retaining / making the best use of the 20% of transport budget allocated to active modes in all party cycling policies.
Aim #4 – Advocate for more effective institutions and new legislation (p9 here) Within this strategic aim, we have two related objectives:
4.1 We will encourage and seek to ensure that key figures in transportation and related fields are inspired and motivated by experiencing cycle friendly cultures first hand.
4.3 We will advocate for the key personnel in government departments and agencies to receive up-to-date training in cycling policy and provision.
We put a lot of work behind the scenes into disseminating widely information about the Velo-city conference, the largest cycling advocacy conference in the world, that took place in Ljubliana in Slovenia in 2022. We were delighted to see representation at VC by senior staff members of the Department of Transport, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and many of the Irish Local Authorities – as well as several members of our own groups. You can read detailed reports by our own team members here:
Another related strategic objective for us under this main aim is as follows:
4.2 We will advocate for institutional reform so that active travel is given priority and so that there is good coordination (‘horizontally’ and ‘vertically’) between government departments, agencies and local authorities.
Our advocacy work on this objective continued throughout 2022 – mainly through our meetings with officials and politicians and, for example, through inviting staff from state agencies to participate in our public meetings. See for example our meeting on EuroVelo#1 in which Doug Corrie from Sport Ireland spoke, as well as Florence Lessard, a cycling tourist from Quebec in Canada.
Finally, we pressed on in 2022 with work on following objective under this same aim:
4.4 We will advocate for road traffic legislative changes to improve cycling. We will advocate for more effective enforcement of appropriate legal sanctions against drivers of motorised vehicles who endanger the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. We will not support cyclists engaging in dangerous, reckless and inconsiderate behaviour.
Some of the main activities related to this was the work around advocating for 30km/h to become the default speed limit in built-up urban areas – including members from our Love 30 group speaking at the Road Safety Authority annual research conference. See here (and the picture below). Additionally, Cyclist.ie has been in regular contact with the RSA with a view to convening a meeting in early 2023. We continue to liaise with the Road Safety section of the Department of Transport on the updating and improvement of legislation in favour of active travel.
Aim #5 – Seek to ensure there is ample funding spent on cycling (p10 here) As alluded to above, Cyclist.ie is very concerned about the under-spend of active travel allocations by local authorities. As reported in the Irish Times in August 2022, “more than half of the funding provided to rural local authorities last year [i.e. 2021] for active cycling and walking infrastructure was unspent”. Much of this underspend can be attributed to the lack of capacity at local authority level, while at the same time local authorities have been seeking to build up their staffing levels to meet the demands of funding allocations both in quantity and quality. We in Cyclist.ie will continue to monitor spending levels, but are hopeful that local authorities will improve their performance in this critical area. Note that the NTA’s 2022 Active Travel Investment Grant Allocations can be read here.
In 2022, Cyclist.ie put a lot of effort into advancing the following objective in our strategy:
5.3 We will advocate for further fiscal / taxation measures to be introduced to incentivise cycling (including the use of cargo bikes and e-bikes, and for cycle training instruction).
Following the delivery of our detailed Pre-Budget 2023 Submission plus further engagements with politicians and media oriented work, we were very pleased to see the Finance Bill containing provision to facilitate families looking for an alternative to a second car with the new €3,000 tax incentive for the purchase of cargo bikes (as reported in the Irish Times here).
The mass adoption of the use of cargo bikes – as road conditions improve – will go a long way to help decongest our towns and cities, and to deepen the cycling culture countrywide. Note that we expect that many Cyclist.ie members will be plugging into the special event organised by the European Cyclists’ Federation on 28 Feb 2023 on Cargo bike friendly cities: Tracking cargo bike developments across Europe – details and registration link here.
Aim #6 – Seek to secure high quality routes and infrastructure (p11-12 here) This is, arguably, Cyclist.ie’s most important aim and the one we are putting significant resources into achieving. As noted above, we engaged with the planning process very closely in 2022 and delivered over 100 high quality submissions to Local Authorities and An Bord Pleanála on schemes.
Additionally, we have continued to seek temporary quick-to-construct cycle facilities as an appropriate interim response to emergency situations, such as with the Covid-19 restrictions, with a view to having the facilities carefully assessed and then made permanent as improved designs. (see Objective 6.4 of our strategy).
Some of this work (and plenty of additional advocacy work) takes place through our member groups’ being represented on some of the (Transport) Strategic Policy Committees of the 31 Local Authorities in the country. In a separate article, we will provide an update on Cyclist.ie’s participation in and contributions to the work of these Transport / Infrastructure SPCs and, where appropriate, their Walking and Cycling Sub-committees.
Objective 6.7 of our strategy reads as follows: “We will work to ensure that the main standards / guidelines documents (National Cycle Manual, Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets, and the Rural Cycle Design Guidance) are fully updated and improved in line with international best practice.”
Overall, we were pleased to see the publication of a revised version ofTII’s Rural Cycleway Design Standards (Aug 2022), with specific changes made as a result of our meetings with TII, and of our detailed submission.
We also spent much of 2022 prodding the National Transport Authority in regard to progressing the revision of the National Cycle Manual (current version available here). The document is over 18 months behind schedule but is due to be released very soon (as per our understanding at the end of January 2023). Overall, Cyclist.ie has been frustrated by the slow pace of the work on this document, which we maintain is a crucial part of the jigsaw for the development of high quality cycle networks. This domain will be a priority one for us in 2023.
In regard to the rural environment and creating networks of cycle friendly rural roads, Cyclist.ie – through its Rural Collective – made seriously impressive leaps during 2022. Huge credit is due here to the very active Rural Collective team which was convened back in 2020. The Rural Collective’s main achievements in 2022 are listed here:
Bike Week events with lots happening across rural Ireland – see here.
Attendance at Velo-city 2022 (plus the publication of the web article report on it and presentation at a subsequent webinar on Velo-city) and the ongoing search for answers about Rothar Roads and the potential for cycle tourisms
Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that Cyclist.ie’s Action Group on Research made great strides in 2022. Good research underpins all of our submissions and the development of our papers and positions on a wide range of sustainable transport and safety topics. This AG is now also beginning to reconfigure the “Resources” section of the website so as to make key documents more easily locatable – as shown below.
Finally, at the end of 2022, several active members of Cyclist.ie submitted (successful!) abstracts for the “Socio-cycle” symposium taking place in University College Cork on 03-04 February 2023 – see here for conference and registration details. We look forward to catching up with our colleagues in Cork Cycling Campaign (who are co-organising this event) at this event!
Conclusion Organisationally, we have advanced on many fronts and are in a much stronger position than this time last year. However, core funding remains our main weaknesses, and we look forward to resolving this with the help of our own members and supporters in 2023. We highlight this point in this article when we point out that “Cyclist.ie will mark its 15th birthday, Dublin Cycling Campaign its 30th birthday, while the European Cyclists’ Federation will have 40 candles on its campaigning cake” in 2023.
As one can see from the summary above, 2022 was yet another incredibly busy year for Cyclist.ie and its (now) 35 member groups. Huge credit is due to our fabulous network of members and volunteers.
That said, we continue to punch well above our weight in terms of our impact on mobility discourses, public policy, the development of new legislation, funding for cycling infrastructure and standards.
We imagine a day, not far into the future, when we will have a core staff complement of, perhaps, half a dozen members, who themselves are supporting a far larger membership and mass of supporters. This will enable us to further shape policies and conditions on the ground so that active travel, and active travel combined with high quality public transport, becomes the normal way for many if not most people to get about on a daily basis.
We look forward to your support in 2023 to make that happen.
Over the coming days we will celebrate our first Imbolc/St Brigid’s Day public holiday, the first Irish public holiday named after a woman, and a range of activities have been organised countrywide to acknowledge the critical role that women play and have played in Irish history, culture and society.
Neither the goddess Brigit nor St Brigid had a bicycle, of course, but we like to think that if either of them were around today they would make use of this ‘freedom machine‘ to help them get stuff done.
So for this Imbolc/St Brigit’s Day, we are going to celebrate how 21st-century Irish women use bikes or trikes to help them live fulfilling lives. If you are a woman who cycles, we invite you to share a photo on social media with the hashtag #BikeItLikeBrigid celebrating how your bike or trike helps you get stuff done, whether it be commuting, volunteering, transporting children, grocery shopping, or meeting friends and family.
2023 is a big year for cycling campaigning. Cyclist.ie will mark its 15th birthday, Dublin Cycling Campaign its 30th birthday, while the European Cyclists’ Federation will have 40 candles on its campaigning cake.
It will be an especially significant year for DCC and Cyclist.ie as we completely rework our governance structures and become a much stronger campaigning force.
Related to this is the development of a new and sustainable funding model for cycling advocacy. Our ambition is to move to having several staff members supporting many multiples of our supporters, members and active volunteers. We also aim to build much stronger partnerships with allied groups.
We have already succeeded in bringing several high profile companies on board to support us through our Business Membership Schemes (such as Dropbox and Lime), and have secured funding from bodies such as Rethink Ireland, the Irish Research Council and, most recently, the European Commission (see below for links).
We are now asking you, our members and supporters, to take a simple action.
If you are working for a company that might have a Corporate Social Responsibility scheme – i.e. a way in which a business integrates its social and environmental responsibilities into its operations – we would love to hear from you.
Securing the support of companies for our cycling advocacy work will help to accelerate the transformation of our cities and towns and rural areas into bicycle friendly places for all. And better cycling provision means more employees cycling, and all the research shows that means healthier and more productive employees.
Cyclist.ie has been successful with an Erasmus+ funding application to the European Commission, where we are one of seven partners collaborating on a brand new and exciting three year project. The name of it is Generations Pedaling for Inclusion and Climate Action or, in its abbreviated form, GenCy4In&ClimA.
For those less familiar with it, Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. We are delighted with this news as it will enable us to deepen our connections with organisations doing good cycling / environmental advocacy work in several European countries, and to help nurture a new generation of cycling campaigners in Ireland.
This story on our website summarises what the project is about, while this presentation (prepared by the lead organisation) provides more information on the partners (from Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Poland) and on the exchange trips happening in 2023, 2024 and 2025. And you can check out the brand new project website here (still under construction). Note that the main project themes (and work packages) are centred around Social Inclusion, Climate Action, Intergenerational Relationships and Cycling Promotion – all core campaigning areas for Cyclist.ie.
At this point, we want to find out if there are active members of our network who are interested in being part of the project. There will be a few different ways to get involved.
Firstly, we will need one or two people, in addition to Damien, to attend (at least some of) the online Project Team Meetings, where we all check in with each other (say, over 1 to 1.5 hours) and plan the next strands of the project. These meetings typically take place once every month or six weeks or so.
Secondly, we will be looking for participants to partake in, what are called, the LTTs (“Learning and Teaching Trips”) over the coming years. Cyclist.ie will be looking to send, maybe, 4/5/6 people on each trip (lasting 4 full days plus a day’s travel at either end – i.e. 6 days away in total per trip). The essence of these trips is doing multiple (mainly outdoor) learning activities with lots of people from different countries.
The draft schedule of trips is as follows: – Corella (in Navarre, in the north of Spain), late March 2023 [Update note of 31.01.2023. Dates still to be confirmed. Also a possibility that this trip will take place around / during the week commencing Mon 24 April. Will be confirmed ASAP.] – Waterford, last week in June 2023 – Azambuja (just north of Lisbon, Portugal), Oct 2023 (date TBC) – Wodzislaw (in the south of Poland), Oct 2024 (date TBC) – Estella (also in Navarre, near Pamplona in the North of Spain), June 2025 (date TBC).
Thirdly, when the crew come to Dublin (sometime in late 2024) for the LTT, we will need plenty of helping hands to formulate and run a diverse programme with a focus on cycling advocacy / events, especially targeted at a youth / younger adult audience. The programme can plug into some events that we might be running anyway – all to be figured out. A decision about the date of the Dublin LTT meeting in 2024 will probably need to be made by mid/late 2023.
Forth, there will be blogging work to do in between the LTTs. This will include penning stories for the project blog (reporting, for example, on what is happening in Ireland on various cycling advocacy fronts and linking to articles on https://cyclist.ie/ and https://www.dublincycling.com/), proofing articles drafted by those without English as a first language, posting articles and social media pieces about the LTT trips to our own platforms, and other bits and pieces.
Finally, we will need a hand on the admin and project management side – mainly around making sure we get a good spread of our people attending the LTT trips, and keeping a careful track of expenses etc. This item links back to the first one above (on Project Team Meetings).
We are assuming that we may have more people interested in taking part in each LTT than there will be spaces available, so the Cyclist.ie Executive Committee (EC) is developing a fair and simple system to figure out who goes on the trips (and acts as ambassadors for Cyclist.ie). In Appendix I below, you can see the criteria we propose to use to assess applications (for the first trip anyway – we may tweak it subsequently). We also wish to flag it up here that we will require everyone going on trips away to be Garda Vetted in advance because five of the seven partner organisations are secondary schools. We will formalise the process around this soon, but in the meantime you might like to check out this ‘Garda Vetting’ web page.
As above, the first LTT will take place in Corella in the North of Spain from Thu 23 to Tue 28 March inclusive. [Update note of 31.01.2023. Dates still to be confirmed. Also a possibility that this trip will take place around / during the week commencing Mon 24 April. Will be confirmed ASAP.]
The trip will comprise four full days of activities, plus a day for travel at either end) and we expect we will be sending, maybe, 4, 5 or 6 people from Cyclist.ie on the trip. The trips will be fully paid for – to include travel, accommodation, food and all of the various indoor and outdoor activities. Note that with the new ferry services from Ireland to the north of Spain, which now take foot passengers and cyclists, we may look into weighing up the pros and cons of traveling over land and sea, as against flying, from the perspective of low carbon travel (but we will also consider the travel time and costs involved for each option, and hence the numbers of delegates we can support).
We are now seeking expressions of interest (EoI) from potential participants in attending this first LTT in Corella at the end of March, which promises to be an action-packed trip!
We ask that you submit a short letter of application (no more than two pages long) which explains why you would like to go on the trip and which responds to the criteria listed in Appendix I below. Please email [email protected] by latest Tuesday (night) 7th of Feb 2023 with your letter attached.
A sub-committee, comprising reps from the Cyclist.ie Executive Committee and from the board of DCC CLG / Cyclist.ie, will assess the applications, aiming to revert to (successful) applicants ASAP so that we can book our travel arrangements without delay.
Please discuss this opportunity with colleagues in your local cycling advocacy group as soon as possible. If you have any questions on any of the above, please email Damien by 6pm on Wed 25 Jan. Note that if there is lots of interest in the project or questions on the above, we may organise a special Zoom meeting (most likely during the week commencing Mon 30 Jan).
Appendix I – Criteria for Assessing Applications for Partaking in the first LTT trip to Corella in Spain
Further Details / Background / Explanation
Marks (out of 100)
Member of a Cyclist.ie Member Group
The current list of groups is here. Please confirm that you are a member of your local cycling advocacy group – and include a copy of a short email from your group Chairperson or Coordinator confirming that (i) you are a member of that group and (ii) your Chair / Coordinator supports your application for being an ambassador for Cyclist.ie on the LTT.
Active in your local group
Please describe in your letter of application what you have been active in within your own cycle campaigning / advocacy group, particularly over the last year. Extra marks for those who have been on the organising / Executive Committee of the local group and/or of Cyclist.ie.
Enthusiasm, experience working with younger groups and broader skills!
The Erasmus+ trips are very much convivial gatherings of diverse people, brought together under common themes – in this case social inclusion, climate action, intergenerational relationships and cycling promotion / advocacy. If you are especially sociable / easy to get along with, or perhaps you play an instrument or sing a song or do a dance, or have experience working with younger groups (maybe in outdoor settings), please let us know in your application! These ‘softer skills’ are valued a lot in this project where it’s all about nurturing exchange between diverse groups.
Erasmus+ focuses particularly on the youth and younger adults (see here), so we are especially keen that within the Cyclist.ie delegation we have at least some members who are under 30 years of age. Let us know if you are under 30 (but also 18 years or over).
There are partners on the project from Spain, Portugal and Poland so it would be advantageous if you have (even basic) conversational Spanish, Portuguese or Polish. Please let us know in your application.
Organised / Can help out with some basic admin
Besides the trips themselves, there is an amount of admin support work to help to manage the project well – plus a need to post lively / informative web articles and blog posts. Let us know in your letter of application if you are prepared to help out with this and/or if you have experience writing articles of various types. You will receive guidance and training on this as needed / appropriate.
Additional Criterion to be used in assessing all applications collectively, after the initial individual assessment has been completed
For this project, we are keen for the Cyclist.ie delegation to be diverse in every sense of the term. We are especially keen to have a good spread of active members of our network from all around the country, both urban and rural, with a good gender balance and mix of backgrounds. Do please tell us a bit about yourself in your application!
Cyclist.ie made a submission today, Thu 12 Jan 2023, on the Options Selection Phase of the Development of the Lough Derg Greenway in County Tipperary. Information on the project can be read here https://loughderggreenway.ie/. You can read our submission below.
Note that the Options Selections Phase, in terms of its position in the sequencing of phases of the project, can be understood from the following graphic:
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 member for Ireland 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, climate, and environmental benefits of cycling. An Taisce is the National Trust for Ireland – https://www.antaisce.org/.
Cyclist.ie is and An Taisce are delighted to see the planning for this greenway / high quality cycling route on the eastern shores of Lough Derg progressing. When constructed it will hopefully form part of a lacework of cycle and walking routes around the iconic Lough Derg, which will encourage local people to travel actively more frequently, and also entice visitors to the area to experience the many attractions and activities.
We have only some general comments at this early Route Options stage, in response to the non-statutory public consultation as set out on the https://loughderggreenway.ie/ webpage. We outline these below.
2 – General Comments 2.1 Population Access It is critical that whatever route option is chosen that the route services the largest catchment populationpossible, so as to ensure that it is used all year round by the local population of close to 19,000, as well as by visitors to the area. We highlight, in particular, the need to link seamlessly to schools, sports grounds, shops and employment locations. We need to nurture a culture where it is safe and easy and enjoyable to cycle to school, sports training and other destinations where distances are amenable to this.
2.2 Constraints As outlined in particular in Section 6 of the Feasibility & Constraints Report, there are a variety of design difficulties to be overcome in choosing the best option for this proposed greenway. National greenway design standards will limit the choices for the different route options outlined, but it is obvious that a mix of sections along the various route options will likely be the final route choice. In other words, the chosen route will likely comprise a mixture of quiet back (L) roads (with reduced speed limits – see below), of providing segregated facilities alongside any short sections of R road that are to be followed, plus elements alongside field boundaries when done in an ecologically sensitive way.
2.3 Use of L Routes and the need for lower / safer speed limits. It is unclear from the documentation supplied as to whether some of the L routes on the different route options are proposed to be used directly without widening – with improved surfacing – or with additional width provided. Cyclist.ie advocates for the development of L routes for cycling and walking, without major upgrades, but crucially with consideration of reduced speeds and some possible design interventions, as outlined in our Rothar Roads document.
We would argue in particular that having 80km/h as the speed limit on these back roads (some of which have grass up the centre) is totally inappropriate (even if road side separate facilities are created). We highlight here the back road shown (below) as Figure 11 of the Feasibility and Constraints report (page 33) and where the text indicates that there is “little room for widening on one side… and significant earthworks would potentially be required to widen the road to accommodate the greenway”. Cyclist.ie wishes to challenge the idea that such attractive roads with grass running up the middle (which suggests low motor traffic volumes) need to be widened in order to make them cycling friendly. The crucial intervention here is to have lower, safer speeds on these roads and with driver behaviour improved so that cyclists are “expected and respected”. The use of some type of (lateral or vertical) physical interventions to reduce speeds on these roads would seem appropriate.
TII, in the latest update of their Rural Cycleway Design standard, endorses much of this thinking, particularly in its section 3.4, which could be utilised in developing the alignment and design of this proposed greenway.
2.4 Landscape- and ecology friendly route design Cyclist.ie wishes to stress the need for minimal ecological and habitat disturbance in the development of this route – and this point relates back to our previous point challenging the apparent approach of seeking to widen some extremely quiet back roads in the creation of the route. In essence, rather than seeking to create a continuous ‘greenway’ all the way around Lough Derg, it would seem more prudent to include some lengths of very quiet L-roads, where there are some motor vehicle movements (of a local access nature) but where these happen at lower / safer speeds.
2.5 Connecting to the National Cycle Network and CycleConnects routes We are aware of the bigger picture here of the development of the NCN (by TII) and the CycleConnects Routes (by the NTA). We would urge the designers to liaise closely with both of the relevant teams here, so that the Lough Derg Greenway / Cycle Route connects seamlessly with those other national and county level cycle networks (which themselves will connect to the EuroVelo#1 and EuroVelo#2 cycle routes).
3 – Summary/Conclusion In conclusion, Cyclist.ie and An Taisce strongly supports the creation of this greenway / cycle route, where it is done in an ecologically sensitive manner. We also endorse the use of quieter back roads – especially those with grass running up the middle – as part of the overall route, but where attention is paid to reducing the speed limits from the completely inappropriate 80km/hr existing limits.
We would be more than happy to discuss our ideas further with the project team in due course.
We would be grateful if you can acknowledge receipt of this submission.
Cyclist.ie welcomes the publication of the Climate Action Plan 2023 (CAP23) with Chapter 15 (pages 183-212) dealing with transport.
We observe generally that this document is a synthesis of many already-announced government commitments in the sustainable transport domain.
However, Cyclist.ie notes and welcomes that CAP23 targets have been revised to meet the higher level of ambition (compared to CAP21), including a 20% reduction in total vehicle kilometres, a reduction in fuel usage, and significant increases to sustainable transport trips and modal share (p184).
This is significant in that the assumption underpinning pretty much all transport modelling conducted in Ireland over recent decades was that vehicle kilometres would continue to grow (and therefore, as the argument went, road capacity would need to increase). We are now in a new era when we have an explicit understanding and acknowledgement by government that we need to operate under an “Avoid – Shift – Improve” framework as set out in the 2020 EPA State of the Environment Report (shown below) and now inscribed into the CAP23.
Cyclist.ie also notes the recognition within CAP23 of the OECD report’s findings (see here) that the Irish transport system embeds car-dependency and increased emissions by design, and again that the Avoid-Shift-Improve framework for transport sustainability needs to be applied to categorise all actions. And we welcome the statement that a “net-zero decarbonisation pathway for transport must seek to reduce demand, through mechanisms that lessen or avoid the need for unnecessary travel by unsustainable means. This Climate Action Plan reframes the previous pathway outlined in CAP21 under the Avoid-Shift-Improve Framework.” (p187)
We note that CAP23 puts additional emphasis on the need to engage the citizen on climate action and sustainable mobility (p194). This systematic engagement has been largely missing from government action in relation, for example, to conveying the many benefits of reallocating road space to public transport and active travel users and away from private individualised motorised transport. Cyclist.ie would be in a position to contribute to the National Sustainable Mobility Stakeholder Forum on its establishment (Table 15.7).
Cyclist.ie notes and broadly supports the 67 Actions (listed on pages 210 to 212) in relation to decarbonising transport, and we look forward to taking a close look at the implementation maps for actions, including timelines and responsible organisations that will be set out in the accompanying Annex.
At this point, we know that we will need strong and persuasive leadership at national, local and community levels to nurture public understanding of and support for the many measures that, cumulatively, will help to turn the transport ship in a sustainable direction. We need urgent action!
We look forward to engaging with the relevant national and local agencies and our own members in 2023, with a view to examining closely the CAP23 Annex of Actions and supporting their implementation.
This year we have already delivered close to 100 submissions to local and national authorities on various transport schemes – and have advanced campaigns on many fronts through our engagements with politicians, officials and the media. In another article, we will provide more details of this work and of the year’s campaigns and achievements.
In 2022 we have also been expanding the size of our network and are delighted to announce that, following the hosting of our Cyclist.ie Annual Members’ Meeting last week, we now have 35 member groups. These are listed below and can be seen on our map here. Note that back in 2008, Cyclist.ie had just seven member groups so we have quintupled in size!
We wish to give a special welcome to our newest member groups – Naas Cycling Campaign, Portarlington Cycling Campaign and The Republic of Bike (in Cork). We look forward to meeting up in person with them soon.
Cyclist.ie made the submission below to the National Transport Authority (NTA) on Friday 18 November 2022 in respect to the public consultation on “CycleConnects”. This was all about the proposed cycle networks in both rural and urban areas lying outside of the Greater Dublin Area (as shown in the light green shaded counties of the map below).
Cyclist.ie wishes to thank its many volunteers who chipped in with their local knowledge and informed reflections as the submission was being drafted – terrific team work all round. We also note the many more detailed submissions made by our local member groups in regard to county-specific proposals (which you can read here amongst all the submissions published by the NTA).
We will be following this process closely as it moves to the next stages of development. Watch this space.
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 member for Ireland 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.
Our submission here concentrates on providing feedback on the principles and standards underpinning the development of the cycle network and, crucially, interrogating the meaning of what is proposed as a cycle network, rather than location specific feedback. We also comment on the ongoing planning of the National Cycle Network (NCN), and the relationship between both projects. Additionally, many of our member groups are making their own separate submissions in regard to the proposals and these will provide more location specific feedback.
2 – General Comments We welcome the commitment in the CycleConnects document ‘to enable and promote higher levels of sustainable transport and are therefore tasked with increasing active travel mode shares – supporting new cyclists, those transitioning from other non-sustainable modes and improving conditions for existing cyclists’. It is an important and welcome restatement of government policy in this area.
2.1Cycle Connects and the National Cycle Network (NCN) We note the reference in the CycleConnects report to the regular collaboration with the TII team working on the NCN. This is good to hear, although we are disappointed that the publication of the NCN final report has been delayed beyond its original date, and thus makes comparison for us, as advocates, more difficult. Much of our (Cyclist.ie’s) comments in our detailed submission on the NCN, delivered earlier this year, can be applied to the development of CycleConnects. Of necessity there is some repetition. In essence all of the points raised in Section 2 of our NCN submission are also germane to the development of CycleConnects and we ask the CycleConnects team to examine that submission and to consider its recommendations. 2.2 Who are the target users for each route type? We would like to see an explicit statement in all of the documentation (both the overarching and the county level documentation) indicating who the target users of the routes will be – ie. for: – urban primary routes – urban secondary routes – greenways – inter-urban routes This appears to be missing in the documentation. Without having a clear sense of who exactly the routes are being/will be designed for, the concepts remain too vague, and the meanings of the lines on the map remain too nebulous. This makes the consultation more difficult to respond to.
We would like to see a crystal clear statement about the target users for each of the route types being set out, to include consideration of the following cohorts (at a minimum): – parents with children on bikes / trikes (including cargo bikes) and/or riding alongside parents – primary school children cycling to school, sports grounds, local shops and other destinations (on their own) – secondary school children cycling to school, sports grounds, local shops and other destinations (on their own) – those commuting to work and other ‘utility journeys’ – those using non-standard bikes such as trikes, handcycles, mobility aids and trishaws – recreational cyclists – touring cyclists
Without the above being thought through, we would be concerned that future decisions about route alignments and infrastructure types and standards end up being made with ambiguous and perhaps conflicting senses of who the target users will be – and this could lead to routes of sub-optimal quality being advanced.
2.3 Urban Cycle Networks It is critical that any proposed urban cycle networks are given protection in local development plans into the future, to preserve potential alignments. Ideally the core networks need to ensure that there are permeability links into and from them to ensure maximal usage of the network, by surrounding populations.
In the ‘Route Development Methodology’ section of the main report , while ‘services’ are generally referenced in ‘Link Selection’ there is no explicit designation for bus or train stations, which will be a critical part of any developed network, as transport hubs . We want to see these destinations identified clearly on the Cycle Connects maps because inter-modal trips involving bikes and trains/buses will be critical as we seek to reduce the number of car journeys.
While we note the point stated in the FAQ doc that “no cycle infrastructure has been considered as part of the development of these routes”, we would like to stress at this point the need for 30km/h to be considered as the default urban speed limit in each of the urban areas intersected by the network. There is a need to make towns and cities cycle friendly for all ages and abilities. The default 30km/h speed limit is widely recognised as the far safer vehicle speed limit to achieve that target (see https://www.love30.ie/ and other sources).
2.4 Investment Prioritisation As the CycleConnects project moves to the next phases of its development, we would like to stress the need for the following principle to be adopted when figuring out how route investments will be prioritised – particularly given that we are probably going to end up with several thousands of kms of lines on maps by the end of the route identification phase. We would like to see a prioritisation given to making investments on the basis of the number of people living within, say, 5km of their most common destinations – and then on the basis of the number of people living within, say, 10km of their most common destinations (this longer distance can be very easily done on e-bikes which are a growing part of the cycling market).
Drawing on some of the analysis conducted as part of the (2007) Strategy for the Development of Irish Cycle Tourism, what often happens with Irish towns is that there is ribbon development extending out from the villages and towns in all directions – not just one direction, linking to other villages (which might be a good distance away) – which means that interventions to improve the quality of provision for cyclists needs to be concentrated on all roads extending from these villages. Therefore, one might end up with slightly wider local networks (extending into rural areas), which themselves are linked to the county cycle networks.
2.5 County Cycle Networks We commend the detailed exploration of initial potential cycle networks, and the opportunity to comment on them. In the FAQ document, under the section called “How have the rural routes been selected”, the following text is provided: ‘It has generally been found that rural regional roads tend to connect more smaller towns and villages than National 100kph roads which will miss many of these towns. The exception to this is when a 100kph National Road is present with a wide hard shoulder and thus the potential for cyclist infrastructure, and potentially is located along the TII National Cycle Network’.
However, we introduce a cautionary note on the above statement as follows:
(i) Many rural regional roads carry far higher traffic volumes than the local roads, and often at much higher speeds. They are also not particularly pleasant places to cycle on, and are not suitable for less experienced and/or younger cyclists.
(ii) While some N roads do indeed have wide hard shoulders on them, it does not follow that they may be suitable as designated safe cycling routes. The experience of cycling directly alongside motor vehicles (including HGVs etc) travelling at or close to 100km/h is frightening, and generally to be avoided. Additionally, Cyclist.ie wishes to emphasise that the so-called ‘greyway’ solution is certainly not a fit answer to this issue – See our website piece. The consultants and future designers need to be especially aware of the limitations of providing formal cycle routes on N-roads, as well as recognising the (apparent) positives.
(iii) Cyclist.ie would ideally like to see a much greater use of the local road network (i.e. non- R or N roads) in the development of the county cycle networks – but these roads need to be re-examined so that “cyclists are expected and respected” as set out in our Rural Cycling Vision. And as these local roads move closer to towns and villages (and hence have higher traffic volumes), then special attention needs to be given to intervening more radically in terms of reallocating space for people on bikes and bringing speeds right down. Some design issues for these roads are dealt with in the latest update of the TII Rural Cycleway Design, Section 3.4. Cyclist.ie would like to see the locations of all schools shown on the county level maps, not just on the urban maps.
2.6 Standards While not specifically referred to in the main CycleConnects Summary report, we note the reference to the National Cycle Manual under the ‘segregation’ FAQ. It states that the ‘National Cycle Manual and other cycle design guidance’ will be utilised to ‘inform infrastructure upgrades’. We would like to see all reference documents utilised for cycle design purposes clearly identified as part of this project, for the guidance of designers in the development of these networks.
3 – Conclusion / Summary Cyclist.ie warmly welcomes this first phase of the initiative on the development of local cycle networks across the country, which we fully support, and we look forward to feeding into the actual development of the proposed routes. We want to see these routes developing quickly and being used by local communities. Our local member groups are submitting detailed comments on specific local county networks.
As outlined above, and in our previous submission on the National Cycle Network, we want to see: – Prioritisation of route development to ensure highest potential usage by the local populations – Inclusion of bus and train stations (and Transport Hubs) and Schools/Colleges on all network maps, both urban and rural – Clear linkage with final NCN alignments – Clarity on target group users for the networks – Greater consideration of L road usage as part of the networks (along with a re-examination of speed limits on those roads) – An abandonment of the original concept for ‘Greyways’ on National or Regional Roads. – Listing and Application of the Design Standards to be applied
Cyclist.ie is happy at any stage to engage directly with the NTA in the furtherance of this important project, as part of sustainable transport in Ireland.