Bicycle Strategy for Northern Ireland – Cyclist.ie Submission

Cyclist.ie review of the NI Draft Bicycle Strategy

Full submission

The Bicycle Strategy will be followed up by “a Bicycle Strategy Delivery Plan” which will outline specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound objectives, policies and actions.” Overall the draft Strategy includes some valuable points but we stressed in our submission that it is essential that the final Plan will include funding commitments as well. Otherwise the strategy is meaningless.

Some other key points we made were as follows:

  • The current spend on cycling in NI is very close to nothing. The public expenditure on NI roads for the year 2013-14 was £436M and less than 0.25% of this was spent on cycling infrastructure.
  • The road network (barring motorways) is there for everyone to use and it needs to be tamed so as to be safe and attractive for bicycles. It is utterly iniquitous that the existing road network is perceived to be hostile for cycling for all but the most battle-hardened cyclists!
  • It is crucial that driving training instructors and the PSNI fully understand the nature of cycling and correct road positioning, and can communicate that message to their trainees and officers, respectively. This is explained well in film by the Bicycle Association as reported on in the media just last week
  • The draft strategy needs to be much more ambitious in regard to seeking to make all built up areas traffic calmed, and safe and attractive for bicycle users of all ages (i.e. 8 to 80) and abilities. Unless there is a serious shift in policy towards making places liveable and attractive and “inviting for all” by reducing speeds on a widespread basis, there will be no cyclists left on Northern Irish roads!

One thought on “Bicycle Strategy for Northern Ireland – Cyclist.ie Submission”

  1. I sent in a comment along similar lines, but focusing on two metrics: zero cyclist deaths on the roads and minimising cyclists using footways. Zero deaths is there for obvious reasons, but I think the numbers of cyclists using footpaths is a good barometer of the cyclist’s view of the road/cycle network. Part of riding on the footway is probably largely due to ignorance of the Highway Code (I’ve even seen police cyclists on routine patrol use footways and pedestrian-only pelican crossings), but also consciously or unconsciously because the roads are seen as unsafe and/or not convenient for cyclists. If cyclists are to obey the highway code in town they have to use the same circuitous one-way systems cars use (and dodge cars changing lane). I don’t like cyclists riding up Belfast’s Oxford Street footway, but I can’t blame them for taking a safer and much shorter route.

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