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CRAC: Cycle route assessment checklist

Bold Ambitions for Better Quality Cycle Routes

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

Why? 

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

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

How? 

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

ECF AGM 2022 – WE MEET IN PERSON AGAIN!

Cyclist.ie was once again delighted to be able to attend the recent AGM of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) in person! Cyclist.ie is the member for Ireland of the ECF. It was held in Berlin and hosted by ECF Member German Cyclists’ Association (ADFC). This followed two years of online AGMs where we craved some real interaction, workshops, socialising and guided bike trips with our European colleagues. 

Cyclist.ie was represented by Mary Sinnott from the Cyclist.ie Executive Committee, Damien Ó Tuama (Cyclist.ie’s National Cycling Coordinator) and Colm Ryder (former Chair of Cyclist.ie). 

Overall ECF is in good shape after another year of high impact campaigning at an EU level. At the AGM, ECF members welcomed four newly elected and re-elected board members – Jan Vermeulen (from Belgium) as Treasurer, and Camille Thomé (France), Francesco Baroncini (Italy) and Prof. Angela Francke (Germany). 

ECF also welcomed six new member organisations. They were Cycling UK, Biciklo.me (from Montenegro), Marakli t’Biciklave (from Kosovo), and Tüm Bisiklet Dernekleri Federasyonu (TUBIDEF – the Federation of all Cycling Associations of Turkey) as Full members, as well as Polish Union of Active Mobility (PUMA) and Cycling & Health Tech Industry R&D Center (CHC from Taiwan) as Associate members.

Cyclist.ie is especially happy to see Cycling UK  (formerly known as the CTC / Cyclists’ Touring Club) back to being part of ECF and we look forward to liaising with them over the coming years. Sarah Mitchell, CEO of Cycling UK, informed us that it was the pressure from her members that pushed them to rejoin ECF, and break that Brexit hoodoo. As a membership organisation of approximately 70,000 members, it also represents a significant boost to the ECF to have them back on board.

The most impactful and emotional presentation from the AGM was, undoubtedly, that made by the two members of U Cycle in Kyiv, Ukraine, who managed to attend against all the odds. Even their journey to the AGM was highly eventful as they were delayed at various points along the way due to the attacks on their transportation system. But what the volunteers from U Cycle have achieved since the war started has been inspirational – and, as the women stated in their presentation, bikes have become central to the movement of people and goods in their war-torn cities. Do check out their presentation here.

Workshops were also held around Data and Cycle Campaigning, which gave much food for thought including impressive statistics on the growth of cycling in most EU countries during Covid. We recommend you take a look at these presentations too. In particular, there is a huge amount happening on the data front that we need to keep abreast of and use in our own plans in Cyclist.ie. Additionally, there were several presentations from smaller ECF organisations showing some of their recent successes. The ones from Croatia, Portugal & Slovakia were particularly impressive.

One of the most enjoyable parts of any ECF AGM is the half-day bike tour with other delegates, where one experiences a good sample of cycling infrastructure and cycle-friendly areas. We observed that Berlin is a city with a lot of space given over to cars, both parked and moving, but some better quality cycle routes have been built during Covid. That said, the quality of the cycle infrastructure in the city is decidedly mixed. What is perhaps most impressive though is the myriad of parks dotted around the city, complete with table-tennis tables, playgrounds, mature trees and some fine street art. There does appear to be quite a strong cycling culture in Berlin with far more cargo bikes about, and a greater age diversity of people on bikes than one finds in Irish cities. 

All in all, it was a great trip to Berlin and we look forward to the 2023 event.

You can read more about the ECF AGM here.  

bike week 2022

Hurray! Bike Week 2022 has now started and it runs from Sat 14 to Sun 22 May. 

Cyclist.ie’s member groups are running some really fabulous events countrywide and in this article here we give you a flavour of just some of the events happening. 

Note that the header image above is from the beautiful poster produced for the Leitrim Cycling Festival which you can see in full below.

Navan Cycling Initiative, County Meath
They are running three events for Bike Week: a family-oriented Community Cycle, a nature-oriented evening cycle beside the Boyne river, and a chit-chat-snack-and-tea-oriented Social cycle to Bective Mills. Details and registration can be found at http://navancycling.ie

Sligo Cycling Campaign (SCC)
SCC is organising three events for Bikeweek: Camchuairt Rothar ar Chlocha Teorainn Shligigh i gcuideachta an Staraí Dr. Fiona Ní Ghallachóir, a Pedal Parade for all ages and abilities, and the premiere of the short film “Love Song to a Bicycle” for which patrons will travel to the film by Cycle Bus.

More information at https://www.sligocyclingcampaign.ie/.

Drogheda Cycling Group / County Louth
The Drogheda Group will be hosting three events:
1. Bike Clinic in Courtyard Coffee on Sunday 15 May at 10 AM.
2. Community Cycle to Oldbridge House on the 15th (free tea/coffee and snack to all participants)
3. Community Cycle to Oldbridge House – on the 22nd (again free coffee and snack).

Wexford Bicycle User Group
WexBUG will be hosting two events. 

On Saturday 14 May, we will run our ‘Get back on your bike’ session. This event is aimed at people who may not have cycled for a while and are looking for a place to start. As such this all encompassing event will involve bike maintenance, safe cycling lessons, a guided spin around Wexford town and FREE coffee. Details here

Then on Thursday 19 May, WexBUG will pay a visit to Rosslare National School to do a Question & Answer session with the pupils. It also plans on delivering some essential bike skills and handing out a few freebies. 

Leitrim Cycling Festival 20-22 May
This is a weekend of events taking place in the lovely town of Drumshanbo. It includes something for all ages – workshops, feasting, music, dancing, camping, puppetry, ice baths, ice cream and celebrating bikes. 

Full details available at https://leitrimcyclingfestival.com/.  

Galway Cycling Campaign (GCC)
GCC are organising a social spin near Loughwell between An Spideál and Maigh Cuilinn on Sunday 15 May. The plan is to bring a group of adults and families with older children (8-12) along quiet “rothar roads”, through Coillte forest trails and some gravel paths through the Galway Wind Park. Details here

BikeWeek 2022 Loughwell Park Leisure Cycle from bogs to windway

Galway Cycling Campaign is also hosting a ‘Bike United Bike Valet’ for Galway United supporters at Eamonn Deacy Park, Terryland, for their match against Athlone Town on Friday 20 May. There will be a dedicated, secure area where supporters may safely park their bikes, cargo bikes, and bike trailers, under the supervision of volunteers during the game, with a raffle and spot-prizes and discounted admission available for those arriving to the game by bike.

Dublin Cycling Campaign (DCC)
DCC is organising / co-organising three events for Bike Week. 

The Bicycle Kicks! event on Saturday, 14 May 2022 combines a bicycle maintenance demo and workshop, a Critical Mass cycle through Dublin 7, and a ‘break the record attempt for attendance at a Women’s League of Ireland match’ between Bohs v. Shelbourne (with free admission to the match if you arrive on bicycle).

Details at https://www.dublincycling.com/events/bicycle-kicks.



Then on Wed 18 May (1-2pm), DCC is delighted to present a webinar on the Cycle Friendly Employer scheme, a European Cyclists’ Federation initiative which is an employer certification programme to establish a European standard for cycle friendly companies. Details here.

Then on Saturday, 21 May 2022 (starting at 10:30am), there is the Community Gardens Cycle. This is a wonderful cycling odyssey through a selection of Dublin’s Community Gardens, where one can meet its members and join a talk on rewilding for biodiversity with native wildflowers.

Details at https://www.dublincycling.com/events/2022-community-gardens-cycle

Bikes for Refugees

We are aware of a couple of organisations in Ireland that are accepting donations of used cycles to pass on to recently-arrived refugees.

The Bike Hub social enterprise in Dún Laoghaire want to let refugees know about the availability of donated bikes. They ask donors to send photos to [email protected] so they can estimate the work needed and suitability for people on the waiting list, which also includes low income families and customers of Focus Ireland and the Irish Refugee Council. The Bike Hub have donated an estimated 130 bikes since last July.

Another organisation doing this is River Cycles on Ushers Island in Dublin city centre. See full story here.

If you know of any other businesses or organisations who are accepting bikes to pass on to refugees, please let us know and we will add the information to this article.

Active Travel and Energy Security

Cyclist.ie strongly endorses the statement issued earlier this week by Henk Swarttouw, President of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and highlighting the links between our patterns of mobility and our energy security needs and vulnerabilities. The ECF statement can be read here. Note that Cyclist.ie is the member for Ireland of the ECF.

The statement is a timely reminder of how active travel – walking and cycling for shorter trips, rather than motoring – contributes to our reduced dependence on Russian oil and gas. In other words, active travel goes well beyond considerations of improved public health, more liveable neighbourhoods, and reduced carbon emissions. 

Dr. Hannah Daly and her colleagues stressed in their Irish Times article of 8th March 2022 that Ireland must play its part in ending Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels, and they argue that we need “a large scale communications campaign from Government to frame our energy transition explicitly in terms of the need to cut Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuel”. Cyclist.ie strongly supports this point.

In regard to the related topic of transport emissions, we know from the most recent National Transport Authority Household Survey published in December 2018 that 50% of all of the trips we take in Ireland are under 5km – a distance very much cycle-able for much of our population (with shorter trips easily walkable). Furthermore, recently published energy and transport modelling research by O’Riordan et al (2021) maintains that significant energy and emissions savings can be achieved from modal shift in Ireland  –

the active mode scenarios, which focus on increased walking and cycling achieve a 0.2 – 1 MTCO2 reduction in annual passenger transport emissions in 2030 [while the] range of public transport scenarios, inspired by targets set out by the Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan achieve a between 0.001 – 0.3 MTCO2 reduction in annual passenger transport emissions in 2030.

We note here that in 2018 Ireland’s transport emissions amounted to 12.2MT and that by 2030 the required emissions based on the Climate Action Plan are 6-7MT as per the 2021 Climate Action Plan (page 144), so the modelled emissions reductions from a shift to active travel are very significant. 

As a further practical and immediate measure to support the Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland, Cyclist.ie supports the collection and distribution of bicycles to refugees arriving in Ireland and will be liaising with its member groups in promoting initiatives in this regard. Access to a bike may allow some of those traumatised by war to avail of opportunities for social, leisure and economic activities, and hence help contribute to their recovery.

Cyclist.ie Member Group Love 30 Presents to Oireachtas Committee

On Tuesday 1st March 2022, Cyclist.ie’s Love 30 group, which campaigns for 30kph speed limits in urban areas and safer speed limits generally, presented to the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications.

This was an important step in the process of reducing urban speed limits to a safer level for all vulnerable road users, and making our cities and towns safer. A full preparatory statement was outlined and presented, and can be viewed as an attachment on the Love30 website here.  

Love 30 was represented by Muireann O’Dea and Joan Swift (pictured above), while Dr. Lorraine D’Arcy from TU Dublin also presented – in addition to the representatives from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) – as can be seen in the recording of the session.

Kieran O’Donnell TD (Fine Gael) chaired the session in a very engaged manner, while Steven Matthews (Green Party) and Ruairí Ó Murchú TD (Sinn Féin) also made strong contributions. Gerry Horkan TD (Fianna Fáil) also attended briefly.

Love 30 was also delighted to have the further support and strong contributions from TD Neasa Hourigan TD (GP), Senator Pauline O’Reilly (GP) and Senator Marie Sherlock (Labour).

The RSA CEO Sam Waide (pictured below) urged the introduction of default 30kph urban speed limits both to increase safety, but also to bring us in line with other European countries. He emphasised that Ireland is lagging behind, and as a result deaths and serious injuries continue. The international evidence clearly supports the introduction of the lower speed limits.

Dr. Lorraine D’Arcy (pictured below) emphasised the loss of human interaction in our urban roads and streets due to the preponderance of the private car, and also the need for a cross-sectoral multi-stakeholder approach to the assessment of the benefits of reduced speeds and reduced vehicle use.

Love 30 formally presented their statement, and overall the Committee accepted the rationale and evidence behind the call.  Love 30 issued a Press Release beforehand, which prompted some media coverage of the issue – including the Irish Times’ piece Streets devoid of human interactions due to dominance of vehicles committee told on 2nd March.

There was strong support from Committee members for a default 30 km/h speed limit in built-up areas, with exceptions for some roads where justified with evidence, and they would like to see it implemented as quickly as possible. 

Importantly, following the presentations and discussion it was agreed that the Oireachtas Committee will write to the Department of Transport asking for a progress report on the Working Group on Speed Limits as set up under the Road Safety Strategy. This Working Group has already met twice this year. The Committee will seek its Terms of Reference, and will recommend that Love 30 is included in the Working Group. The Committee would then look for the follow-up actions that are needed.

This has been a very positive result from this presentation, and underpins the great work that Love 30 have been doing over the past years.

If you want to get involved in this vital area of road safety and improvement in our cities you can contact Love30 at [email protected] or check out the website at https://www.love30.ie/.

If you want to support the wider work of Cyclist.ie or want to know more about the work of Cyclist.ie, check us out at www.cyclist.ie or email us at [email protected].

Ambitious Targets Set for Cycling in Europe!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rural Ireland CAN cycle!

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

Major campaign calls for support for cycling in Rural Ireland 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our submission can be read in full below.

1 – Introduction

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

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

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

2 – General Comments

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

3 – Summary / Conclusion

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

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

Colm Ryder
[email protected]
www.cyclist.ie

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

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

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

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

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

Watch this space for further updates on the project! 

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

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