Huge turnout for Great Southern Trail Greenway Christmas Walk / Cycle 2017

Over 200 people of all ages had a most enjoyable 10km walk or cycle along the old railway from Barnagh(N21) to Newcastle West on Wednesday 27  December 2017. The event was organised by the Great Southern Trail, the voluntary group that campaigned, developed and managed the Greenway until 2015). We were blessed with the weather on the day, crisp and bright. It was great to meet old and new faces including participants from our neighbouring counties of Kerry and Cork along with visitors from further afield.

Thanks to Phelim and Margaret of Coach House Travel and Pat Liston, our driver, for transporting everyone to the starting point from where the view over the Golden Vale was at its best . The walkers then had an easy downhill stroll along the Greenway which was in pristine condition thanks to the work of Joe O’Connor and his team in Limerick City & County Council along with the Rural Social Scheme personnel. The newly installed bilingual townland signs were also favourably commented upon.

After a walk of about two hours Triona Dore and her staff at the Longcourt House Hotel ensured that everyone had a nice cup of tea/coffee to wash down the seasonal mince pies. This was the largest ever participation in the Christmas walks/cycles organised by the GST over many years and we wish to thank the local papers, radio and parish bulletins for the generous coverage they have always provided to GST events. Bliain Nua Sonasach daoibh uilig i 2018.

In 2018, please God,  the GST hopes to organise a similar walk/cycle from Barnagh to Abbeyfeale  once Limerick City & County Council have reconnected the wonderful Barnagh Railway Tunnel to the Greenway. [At present the tunnel is a ‘stand alone’ feature and only accessible from the N21 Layby at Barnagh]. With Kerry County Council  preparing to continue the Greenway to Listowel 2018 could also witness an Abbeyfeale to Listowel walk/cycle and we encourage our Kerry supporters to contact their public representatives on the necessity to not alone link Listowel to the Greenway but to continue westwards to Tralee and Fenit along the old railway that Kerry  County Council have already purchased from CIÉ. Greenways revitalise rural communities; one need only visit the Waterford Greenway to witness that at first hand.

Finally, the GST is hoping to visit the Mayo Greenway on Bank Holiday Monday 7 May 2018: The group will be limited to 40 people with the cost being €60 including breakfast/evening dinner and coach travel from Newcastle West but not including bike-hire. Email lomahony@hotmail.com or phone Pat Condon 06962344 if interested.

Ireland’s Road Safety Champions 2017 Presented with ‘Leading Lights in Road Safety’ Awards by the Road Safety Authority

Full report; two highlights below

Special Recognition’ Award: Phil Skelton

Phil Skelton founded the Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 campaign in 2013 following the deaths of two cyclists in Wexford as a result of collisions with cars travelling in the same direction. The campaign raises awareness of the need to allow sufficient space when overtaking cyclists and campaigns for the introduction of a Minimum Passing Distance Law (MPDL).

 Phil has distributed approximately 10,000 car window stickers with the 1.5m message and supported creation of similar stickers in Sligo, Wexford and Kerry. Five local authorities have introduced the ‘Stayin’ Alive at 1.5’ logo on suitable vehicles (Wexford, Kerry, Donegal, Sligo, Mayo).

 Phil Skelton has been successful in increasing motorists’ awareness of safe overtaking distance. He has shown an outstanding level of commitment to the Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 campaign. The range and intensity of activities undertaken requires a huge voluntary time commitment.

Dublin Bus won the Public Sector Award – see below – for their wonderful and witty training video for drivers around cyclists
Public Sector’ Award: Dublin Bus

The number of cyclists on Dublin City roads has increased significantly over the last 10 years. Approximately 900 buses are sharing road space with cyclists during peak times. Dublin Bus have been proactive by acknowledging and recognising the significant increase in cyclists and the corresponding increased hazard that this can present for their drivers. Dublin Bus wanted to explore innovative methods to further improve the awareness amongst their drivers in relation to cyclists, and also to promote the importance of cyclist safety to a wider audience.

They commissioned a cyclist safety awareness video which now forms an integral part of ongoing driver training. The film was launched in 2016 and was rolled out to all employees attending their Training Centre for initial driver training, 2-yearly refresher training and Driver CPC.

Unfortunately our other 2 nominees, Cian Ginty/IrishCycle.com and Kerry’s Eye newspaper did not make the awards … but no disgrace out of a total of 160 nominations!

New Trishaws, Awards, New Brochure – We’re Cycling!

Latest update newsletter from Cycling without Age (CWA – group member of Cyclist.ie)

Trishaws:   In addition to a trishaw now in St Luke’s, in Mahon in Cork, and one in Clonakilty, we now have three in Dublin: one in Sybil Hill Nursing Home in Raheny, sponsored by Canada Life Re-Insurance, one in TLC Care Centre in Santry (who have three care homes), sponsored by Hidden Hearing, one in Mount Carmel HSE Community Hospital, sponsored by Zendesk.com, and at least two more on order.

Awards: Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Academy 2017 awarded us €1500 which we have put towards promotional expenses, and KBC Bank Bright Ideas awarded Kilkenny Recreation & Sports Partnership CWA) €1750. This confirms that CWA is being recognised as a valuable social enterprise.

New Brochure: With the award from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland we got a brochure designed and printed. If you would like to get copies printed, go ahead. Or you can make colour photocopies. I can also provide a .pdf version of the brochure marked up for printing.

Having the brochure was essential when we attended as guests of the Nursing Homes Ireland annual conference in Citywest on 16th November, with 300 delegates and many trade exhibitors. We greatly appreciate their invitation to showcase our demo trishaw ‘Daisy’, and talk with nursing home owners from all over Ireland. On his arrival, Health Minister Simon Harris sat into our ‘Daisy’ and the photo appeared in the next day’s Irish Independent, with a broadly smiling Minister! He has asked us to go in and talk to Healthy Ireland in his Department.  Our thanks also to Ashbury Nursing Home in Deansgrange for providing their jeep, trailer and driver to get us to Citywest and back on the day.

Public Liability Insurance:  We are delighted to announce that Insurance Brokers O’Driscoll O’Neil have located an insurance company willing to offer all Irish CWA trishaw owners Public Liability cover. For more details, please contact Declan Troy, Tel: 01- 639 5860.

Hi-Vis Vests:  Given that we need to educate other road users on the appearance of CWA trishaws on our roads, I recommend that owners ask all pilots to wear identifiable RED hi-vis vests with the words VOLUNTEER PILOT on the lower back panel. I can give you a link to a print company who has already supplied some. Identifying the pilots as volunteers has already had benefits in the form of free coffee to passengers and pilots in some coffee shops!

Networking countrywide:  Our database for communicating with you is sortable by location. In this way, when I get enquiries from one region, I can link you up with others in that region. This is important, as we are volunteers and CWA is very time-consuming! We have been invited to give talks in places as far apart as Waterford and Donegal. While this shows the super level of interest, we cannot easily get to all these places, though we do try to cover local (to Dublin area) requests. Going forward, I would like other CWA affiliates to get out there spreading the word! We can help with details and information if requested. I can also supply you with graphics for a pull-up banner for using at events, talks and launches.

New Affiliates:  If you have signed up – or want to – as a CWA affiliate, do let me know.  I can then put you in touch with others including volunteer pilots in your area. Likewise, if you have recently received your CWA trishaw, do let me know, so we can promote you. We have held photo-calls for each of the Dublin launches, which generate good media and other responses, always building on the branding and profile of CWA.

Ordering your trishaw: All the specifications and details of the Trio Taxi Bike and the Christiania are on CWA; click on Order Bikes. Copenhagen Cycles can quote you up-to-date prices and delivery dates directly.

Pilot Training: I am currently offering pilot-training to those who have got trishaws in the greater Dublin area. An initial option is for me to train new pilots using our demo bike ‘Daisy’ in Blackrock, and then those pilots can train others when they get their own trishaws. We will need to train other pilot-trainers to cover the rest of Ireland. If you can help with this, please let me know.