Bold Ambitions for Better Quality Cycle Routes
It’s been over 100 years since the bicycle arrived in Ireland, and over a decade since national guidelines on cycle route design were first published. And yet most cycle routes in Ireland still aren’t good enough for everyone to use.
- Too often designs overlook elements that make routes safe and attractive
- Ordinary people like you and I are not participating in the design process
- Other tools assess the sections of cycle infrastructure that have been built, rather than on our lived experience of travelling from A to B (and C)
- Many of our roads were designed for much smaller volumes of traffic and smaller vehicles. Greater protection is now needed to give road users the choice to cycle in safety
A crack team at Cyclist.ie has a bold ambition to help solve these problems!
We’ve designed a 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.
This ambitious tool is called the Cycle Route Assessment Checklist (CRAC) and is an easy to use survey that takes you through a series of simple questions on your phone or laptop to assess any (existing or potential) cycle route.
The questions are based on international best-practice and have been designed to help raise standards by highlighting the key elements of a good quality route. By answering these questions you are drawing attention to the weakest links within the route. That way we – as people who want to make the best use of our public spaces – can work together to make them better.
CRAC is designed for use anywhere – even for routes that haven’t been built yet! The “route” is anywhere you decide – from home to school, from your workplace to the shops, or a round-trip to the gym, coffee-shop and the park.
There doesn’t have to be cycle lanes along the route, or on any part of the route. CRAC is about YOU and your journey.
Now! You can access the Cycle Route Assessment Checklist below and help us achieve these bold ambitions. Get CRACing now!
You! To “CRAC” a route, you don’t need any special expertise, knowledge of design standards or technical jargon. Here are some ways you can benefit:
- Councillors: encourage locals to use CRAC to provide feedback on planning consultations, or audit the “cycleability” of your area
- Schools: use CRAC to assess if you have a “safe route to school”
- Local Authorities: get broader feedback on early-stage plans, or identify where small changes could make a huge difference to residents
- Cycling groups: customise CRAC for your area, and encourage the “silent majority” to make their voices heard
- You: you can spend as little as five minutes to CRAC a route, by completing the sections or questions relevant to you
We are in conversation with potential partners such as the National Transport Authority (to see if this tool could work in the guidance context), with local authorities (to assess whether it could be used as part of the design and consultation process) and with Green Schools (to see if it could be used as part of their safe routes to schools audits).
To convince those partners we need to be able to demonstrate that CRAC works by bringing it to a required standard.
How do we do this? We need lots of people to try out our prototype and tell us what works and what doesn’t so that we can be confident that the final version really works.If you have any queries or comments, or are interested in trialling CRAC, you can contact “Team CRAC” at [email protected].