Survey of General Election 2011 Candidates

With the general election looming we felt the need to make ourselves known to the prospective TDs and make cycling visible in the election campaign. Jonivar created a survey which can be found along with the summary at . The survey deals with; personal bicycle use, national cycling policy, benefits of cycling, encouraging cycling among children, driver training, bike schemes and the law.

The results of the survey are interesting and we’ve taken some of the highlights out here:
In terms of respondents:

Party Respondents
Fianna Fáil 8
Fine Gael 7
Green 10
Labour 12
Sinn Féin 8
United Left Alliance 6
Independent 9
New Vision 2
  • All Green respondents have bikes, while SF and ULA had more non-bike-users responding. Health was seen as clearly the biggest benefit of increased cycling
  • among all parties except the Greens, who tended to highlight carbon
  • emissions, air quality and oil-dependence.
  • Almost everyone was aware of the NCPF, and committed to continuing it.
  • Improving road and junction design was the most popular measure to achieve more cycling, but cycling education featured highly among Green respondents and better enforcement among FF respondents.
  • The overwhelming majority favoured 30km/h speed limits in one form or other.  FG respondents were more lukewarm on this, but the number answering this question from that party was very low.  Micheál Martin had a very detailed answer to this question.
  • The overwhelming majority of respondents were in favour of expanding the DublinBikes scheme.  The 3 who answered No here all represent rural areas which would be very unlikely to benefit.
  • FF and FG are not in favour of shifting the burden of proof to the motorist in collisions — none from these parties answered Yes to this question.  Labour and SF respondents were more in favour, with Greens divided on this one.

We also received more detailed emails separately from a number of the participants (these aren’t included in the analysis), some of these were additional comments while some referred us to party HQ or the party manifesto:

Dun Laoghaire, Mary Hanafin TD (FF)
Meath East, Cllr Nick Killian (FF)
Dublin North West, Cllr Bill Tormey (FG)
Longford Westmeath, Cllr Peter Burke (FG)
Cork East, Sean Sherlock TD (Lab)
Dublin West, Joan Burton TD (Lab)
Dublin North East, Cllr Sean Kenny (Lab)
Dublin North West, Cllr John Lyons (Lab)
Donegal North East, Cllr Jimmy Harte (Lab)
Dublin Mid-West, Cllr Robert Dowds (Lab)
Laois Offaly, Christopher Fettes (Grn)
Dublin South East, Paul Somerville (Ind)
Kerry South, Cllr Michael Healy Rae (Ind)

Cycling in the party manifestos

We took a look at how cycling featured in the manifestos of each of the parties and took out the following sections we felt are relevant.

From the FG manifesto:

11. Environment and Climate Change
Air Quality: Fine Gael will further improve air quality by encouraging greater use of electric vehicles and also facilitating a model shift away from private cars to public transport through the development of convenient park and ride facilities and additional rail services.  (nothing about cycling or walking in this section)

On transport (pp.78-80).  Of specific interest is

21.4 Road Safety
Mandatory Alcohol Testing: We will legislate for the introduction of mandatory alcohol testing at the scene of an accident very shortly after entering government.

Drug Driving: We will work with the Road Safety Authority to introduce the most up to date technology to test for drug driving. There must be a serious deterrent to combat the increasing prevalence for driving under the influence of drugs.

Speed: We plan a complete review and overhaul of speed limit zones and signage across the country. We will work with the RSA to develop “off road” driver learning centres to accommodate driver training in a safe and controlled setting. We will require local authorities to target accident black spots for prioritised upgrade. We will also ensure the increased use of speed cameras, specifically in accident black spots.

21.5 Cyclists and Pedestrians
Rewarding Successful Programmes: We recognise the success of the National Cycle Policy Framework and the Dublin Bikes initiative. We will continue to invest in these programmes.

Prioritise Cyclists and Pedestrians: We will ensure that cyclists and pedestrians have priority over road traffic in built up areas and central business districts, thus further encouraging low carbon travel.

Safe Cycling: We realise the need to redesign cycle-ways to improve the safety and priority of cyclists as set out in our local government reform document.

There is nothing on active travel (or even preventive health at all) in the health section of the manifesto.


Under their “Creating a low carbon society” section, mentions public transport and electric vehicles, but nothing on cycling or walking.  Under “Making transport more sustainable” (p.32) they have

Cycling and walking will be at the heart of any future sustainable transport network.  Labour will provide for contiguous cycling routes for commuters, and safe school cycle routes.  The safety needs of cyclists will be taken into account in enhanced road junction design, improved signage and road maintenance.  Labour will also introduce legislation to strengthen the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport commuters in the planning process and the transport system.

Under “Making our roads safer” (p33) they have, among other things,

Labour will overhaul and consolidate the Road Traffic Acts to maximise their effectiveness

They do have a short section on preventive health (“Preventative care and care of chronic illnesses”) where they say they will “progress the recommendations of the Task Force on Obesity”.  However, they do not mention physical activity in the followup to this, only food and drink labelling.

Fianna Fáil

While Fianna Fáil don’t have anything in their manifesto about cycling we did get a detailed email from Mary Hanafin:

Dear Jonivar,

Thank you for your e-mail. I am delighted to hear that your organisation is growing from strength to strength.

Fianna Fáil is committed to increasing participation in sport and encouraging a cycling culture to develop in this country. It has a dual effect of being a means of keeping fit as well as assist in delivering a sustainable travel and transport system in Ireland by 2020. The National Cycling Policy Framework is available on

Fianna Fáil in Government launched the National Cycling Policy Framework in 2009 containing 109 action points. Among the initiatives we have taken are:

· Ireland’s first Bike Week was delivered by partners from cycling interest groups, Government Departments and agencies, local government, the cycling industry etc in June 2009.

· Dublin Bikes scheme launched by Dublin City Council in September 2009 and operation of the Bus Gate at College Green. The success of the Dublin Bikes Scheme has exceeded all expectations and is now the most successful bike sharing scheme in western Europe.

· Completion of cycling demonstration projects such as Newport-Mulranny route, Co Mayo, Westport Town Greenway, Co.Mayo, PassageWest-Rochestown route, Co Cork, Castletroy network, Co Limerick, bicycle parking in Galway city, Waterford city and in workplaces engaged in NTA’s workplace travel planning scheme, Carrigaline-Crosshaven route, Co Cork

· Refurbishment of 22 km of cycle lanes in Dublin city

· The Smarter Travel Project Fund is a €15m fund over 5 years which forms a key element in delivering our smarter travel policy. It is aimed at the development of demonstration projects that can deliver more sustainable transport behaviour at a local level. 30 projects around the country recently received funding.

· We recently announced an investment of €14 million in bus priority and park & ride facilities in the regional cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford for 2010.

· We introduced a a taxsaver scheme for cycling called the Bike To Work Scheme which has been hugely successful in encouraging people to cycle to work.

· Progress made on initial mapping by the National Roads Authority of a preferred National Cycle Network

· Continued financial support for premium cycle routes – Dublin City from Portobello to Fairview; Galway City – Fisheries Field cycle route; South Dublin – linkage of Adamstown to Grand Canal route to Inchicore

· An Taisce’s Green Schools Travel Programme, has delivered a 22% reduction in reliance on the private car for school travel among participating schools. 790 cycling parking spaces were provided in 39 schools in 2008 and a further 1,790 spaces in 114 schools were provided in 2009.

I remain committed to supporting sports in all its forms. Please do not hesitate to contact me office at any time.

Le gach dea ghuí,

Green Party

The Green Party has the following section on cycling and walking in their manifesto:

Cycling and Walking

  • Support Dublin City Council in increasing the number of Bicycles within the Dublin Bikes Scheme, according to consumer demand and demography, and work with the relevant local authorities to introduce a similar system in Galway, Cork & Limerick.
  • Introduce a ‘hierarchy of care’ system similar to that in Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands, which gives motorists a greater legal responsibility for the safety of vulnerable road users.
  • Plan for and implement a new national cycle network to provide safe commuting routes into urban centres and promote both local and long distance recreational cycling should be introduced.
  • Engage with Local Authorities to ensure that cycle facilities such as bicycle lanes and bicycle parking are cleaned regularly and kept free from parked vehicles.
  • Progress key city cycle routes such as the Sutton to Sandycove cycle track in Dublin and an Oranmore to Barna track in Galway.
  • Introducing car free zones in major cities on Sundays for particular times at weekends to allow for safe cycling in city centre locations.
  • Introduce cycle training in schools as part of the curriculum.
  • Continue to develop a National Walking Policy with provision of safe pedestrian routes linked, where appropriate, with public transport services, at its core
  • Finance the construction and enlargement of footpaths, proper drainage, traffic calming and the prioritizing of pedestrians at traffic lights.

Cycling is also mentioned other places, eg in the tourism section.

Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin has very little on transport (some references to public transport and rural transport and better planning) and nothing on walking or cycling in their manifesto.  They have a strong paragraph on preventive health:

A regular, free, full health screening for every citizens as part of a fundamental reorientation of the health system adopting a central focus on prevention, health promotion and primary care (including mental health care). This will save people from needless suffering and is the best way to avoid more expensive treatments later. It will also help reduce lost working hours, saving money for workers, businesses and the healthcare system. but no further specifics.

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