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General news about cycling

Open Letter to Minister Shane Ross

Eight Cyclist Fatalities in 2017, to mid-May

Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, of which Dublin Cycling Campaign is a lead member, wrote to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross T.D. today seeking a meeting. The letter responds to the death of eight people riding their bikes on Irish public roads thus far in 2017. The text of the letter is below (and PDF below bottom).


Monday 22 May 2017

Dear Minister Ross,

I refer to my previous letter of 16 June 2016 and to my Cyclist.ie colleague Dr. Mike McKillen’s letter of 03 October 2016.

I am writing to you again on the matter of cyclist safety but, this time, after eight of my fellow cyclist citizens have been mowed down and killed by motor vehicles in 2017 – and it is only mid-May. In 2016 a total of 10 people riding their bikes lost their lives. The carnage can and must be halted!

There is something fundamentally wrong with our system and culture when the lives of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters are extinguished – at a rate of more than one per month – while they are engaging in a healthy activity that is promoted as government policy.

On behalf of those who use bicycles, both for everyday transportation/utility trips, and for recreational/tourism use, I am calling on you as the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to make – as a matter of urgency – a serious intervention before any other person on a bike loses their lives. We need leadership at this point to bring a halt to the death and misery inflicted by the utter dominance of motor vehicles on Irish roads.

As pointed out in our previous letters, your Department’s National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF) of 2009 has all but been set-aside. All we hear about (for the last 2 to 3 years) is “an upcoming review” of same – with nothing forthcoming. Your department still has no National Cycling Coordinator in post, a basic pre-requisite for advancing a multi-faceted policy framework and a specific action of the NCPF (Objective #17.1). The promised National Advisory Forum has still not been established (Policy #17.2).

Furthermore, and to exacerbate these shortcomings, active travel is downgraded in the National ‘Building on Recovery’ Plan to a mere 1% of the proposed transport expenditure, despite the NCPF commitment of ‘adequate and timely funding’ (Chapter 4). This 1% figure compares very poorly to our European neighbours and to the UN recommended level of 20% of transport funding to go on non-motorised / active travel modes [1].

I am pleading with you to show real leadership in procuring a paradigm shift in how those who use active and healthy travel modes are treated on Irish public roads and, consequently, in how transport funds are spent. We strongly commend your support for lower vehicle speeds and for lower alcohol limits for drivers, but the parallel issue here – and the giant elephant in the room – is the need for transport to decarbonise and hence for capital expenditure on transport to switch away from endless demand-inducing road building and, instead, shift to investment in public transport, walking and cycling.

We would like to meet with you at the earliest possible date to discuss our concerns over the present level of cycling deaths, the need for adequate funding and resources, and the very real and relatively quick benefits to be gained from increased investment in cycling, as outlined in the NCPF.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely

Dr. Damien Ó Tuama
National Cycling Coordinator, Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network
Vice-President, European Cyclists’ Federation

Dublin to Host Velo-City Conference in 2019

Lord Mayor Hosts Velo-City Contract Signing with European Cycle Federation

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Brendan Carr welcomes Mr. Bernhard Ensink and Mr. Marcio Deslandes from the European Cycle Federation (ECF) to the Mansion House on Thursday, 6th April 2017 at 10.30 am to sign the contract that will bring the Velo-City Conference to Dublin in June 2019.

The Velo-City conference series is the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) annual global cycling summit organised by the ECF and selected host cities. Velo-City conferences are widely considered as the premier international cycling conference series and serve as a global communications and information platform to target and influence decision makers, and improve the policies, planning and provision of infrastructure for cycling and the daily use of the bicycle in an urban environment. The conferences traditionally involve experts, representatives of associations, institutions, policy-makers and social agents, universities and companies.

In August 2016, Dublin City Council made a formal submission to bid for Velo-City to take place in Dublin 2019. Dublin, along with Helsinki, were shortlisted as potential host cities for Velo-City 2019 in September 2016, an intensive site visit took place in both Dublin and Helsinki in November 2016, with Dublin announced as being awarded the bid in December 2016. The 2019 conference will take place in the Dublin Convention Centre from 25th – 28th of June in 2019.

Lord Mayor Brendan Carr said “I am delighted that Dublin has been chosen to host Velo-City in 2019. I would like to congratulate Dublin City Council and the other partner agencies who successfully bid to bring this prestigious international conference to Dublin city. Hosting Velo-City will accelerate efforts to further the development of Dublin as a world class cycling city.”

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Shane Ross T.D., today congratulated Dublin City Council on winning the right to host Velo-city 2019. He said “I was hugely impressed with the Dublin City Council led bid and am delighted that Dublin has been chosen to host Velo-city 2019.

I was pleased to meet with the European Cyclist’s Federation CEO Bernhard Ensink and his colleagues on their recent visit to Dublin to assess the Dublin bid to host Velo-city 2019. I assured Mr. Ensink of the Government’s commitment to supporting this conference, and look forward to welcoming the 2,000 participants in June 2019.

Ireland, and Dublin in particular, is well positioned to attract international conferences of this scale with our increasing air connectivity and excellent facilities such as those available at the Convention Centre Dublin which will be the venue for this fascinating conference. I hope to see many more events of this scale being awarded to Ireland in the coming years.”

Bernhard Ensink, ECF Secretary General said “We are excited to bring participants from all continents in 2019 to Dublin. Velo-City 2019 Dublin will – as all our Global Cycling Summits do – offer a great opportunity for sharing the experience, knowledge and expertise about the promotion of cycling worldwide.”

Colm Ryder, Chairperson Cyclist.ie  said “The international Velo City conference series is the most prestigious and largest cycling related conference in the world, with thousands of delegates from all parts of the globe attending.  Dublin Cycling Campaign/Cyclist.ie, as the Irish member of the European Cyclists’ Federation the conference coordinator, is proud to be a partner in Dublin city’s successful bid to host this conference in 2019 and to welcome potential delegates.”

Dublin previously hosted Velo-City in 2005 and is the first city in the world to be awarded the conference twice. Hosting Velo-City in 2005 proved a catalyst for cycling growth in the city – the number of cyclists in the city increased by 150% since 2005, but also the conference showed that cycling was a real and viable mode of transport for Dublin despite its decline over the previous years. The experience that the delegates shared with Dublin and their insights really changed attitudes at a number of levels to cycling and showed that there was a need for strong policy decisions, ambitious targets and an integrated approach to encouraging sustainable travel.

The 2019 conference promises to double these efforts in terms of delivering Dublin as a word class cycling city. Dublin as a Smart City has also embraced Intelligent Transport solutions and is also exploring ways in which innovative technology can contribute to growing and promoting cycling in the city.

Dublin’s theme for Velo-City 2019 is Cycling for the Ages, which will encourage cycling by people of all ages, young and old, male and female and to promote the health, environmental, social and economic benefits of cycling. The theme will also show the evolution of cycling in Dublin through the ages and into the future.

Dublin looks forward to welcoming delegates from all over the world to share experiences, successes and challenges in promoting and developing cycling during Velo-City Dublin, 2019 and anticipate that, just as in 2005, hosting Velo-City will be a game changer for cycling in Dublin.

The Velo-City conference will attract 2,000 international delegates and as such will be a hugely beneficial event for the city and the country with an estimated €3.8 million boost to the economy.

First UCC Campus Cycle Week in cooperation with Cork Cycling Campaign

University College Cork, the world’s first Green Campus, and Cork Cycling Campaign organised the first UCC Campus Cycle Week (6th-10th March) this spring, to start off the cycling season. Cork Cycling Campaign held an informal “Meet the Campaign” meeting for everybody interested, Miro and Darren offered a cycle safety course, and Victoria Cross Cycles offered their free BikeDoctor service. The main event was a roundtable discussion around cycling to UCC which ca. 20 staff and students attended over lunchtime, together with Cork City Council’s Cycling Officer, Anita Lenihan, and members of the Campaign and Stephan Koch in his function of UCC’s Commuter Plan Manager.

This setting was also used to officially launch the Cork Cycling Skills leaflet that Cork Cycling Campaign and the Transport and Mobility Forum got printed in large numbers with the support of Cork City Council. The flyer aims at giving cyclists advice how to safely navigate through road traffic and build up confidence to also tackle challenging situations on the roads. It is a reprint of the successful leaflet that Galway Cycling Campaign produced some years ago. Thanks to the colleagues in Galway for their kind permission. The launch got quite a bit of media attention (Irish Examiner, Cork’s 96fm).

We succeeded in making Cork Cycling Campaign more visible in town and in UCC, and a special thank you to our Vice-Chair Dean Venables who was the driving force behind this (also as a UCC staff member), as well as to Sarah Thelen for her support. We plan to have the next Campus Cycle Week next year.

Cycling Without Age

Update you on our progress with Cycling Without Age coming to Ireland.

The first rickshaw bike arrived in Dublin on Monday, 13th March 2017. We were delighted to take up the invitation from the Dublin Cycling Campaign to participate in the Dublin St Patrick’s Day Parade under the banner of 200 Years of Cycling. See the photo of us at the start of the parade.  We purchased this first bike from personal funds, so as to have a model to demonstrate to nursing homes and sponsors. We hope to have this bike crowd-funded.

Now that we have the bike here, we will be happy to talk to people, organisations, nursing homes, potential sponsors and others about how to promote the concept of Cycling Without Age here. We already have expressions of interest from some sponsors and organisations, and offers from volunteer pilots, whom we will train in the bike’s use.  Please let us know if you would like more information.

Clara Clark & Charles Mollan

Cycling Column: The economic benefits of cycling lanes – to Kildare

The following isn’t going to please the reactionary alternative facts crowd, because, you know, it’s facts.

One of the most common arguments against eliminating parking spaces in favour of cycling lanes is that it damages businesses.

The people behind those arguments are dead right. There will be an impact on business, except that it’s the opposite of the one they have in mind.

As the late great Christopher Hitchens observed once: “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

There is no available evidence that replacing parking spaces with cycling lanes reduces trade. But there is, thankfully, evidence that removing parking spaces actually increases trade by attracting pedestrians and cyclists. A new study of a neighbourhood in Toronto has proven this.

Read article

Minister Brings Action Plan on Climate Pollution to Cabinet

Minister Naughten has announced he is bringing Ireland’s first plan to cut climate pollution in 10 years to Cabinet today. Publication of the draft National Mitigation Plan and the launch of a public consultation is expected within days.

The new action plan is a successor to the National Climate Change Strategies of April 2007 and October 2000, and the CO2 Abatement Strategy of June 1993. However, Irish greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change are higher now then they were at the time of the first plan in 1993. This is despite the National Policy Position on Climate Action which sets a national objective of cutting CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 and capturing all our agricultural emissions by planting more trees and restoring our peatland bogs.

Stop Climate Chaos, the civil society coalition campaigning for Ireland to do its fair share to tackle climate change, has today published “Five Tests to for Ireland’s draft National Mitigation Plan“.

5 Tests for Ireland’s climate action plans

  1.   Does the new plan add up to doing our fair share?
  2.   Does it start the phase out of fossil fuels?
  3.   Does it ramp up renewable energy and kick-start community ownership?
  4.   Does it put agriculture on a path to carbon neutrality?
  5.   Does it realign transport investment to reduce emissions?

The full 5 tests briefing document can be downloaded here.

Commenting, Cliona Sharkey, Trócaire Policy Officer and a spokesperson for the coalition said:

“Ultimately the plan needs to demonstrate Ireland is preparing to deliver not only on its EU targets, but also on the even more ambitious action agenda set out in the Paris Agreement. If we fail to meet our EU targets we will face significant fines.but if we fail to deliver on the Paris Agreement, we invite climate catastrophe with devastating consequences across society, the environment and the economy.”

The Paris Agreement commits Ireland and all the other parties to the treaty to hold: “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”.

Unfortunately, Ireland is a persistent laggard – not a leader. According to latest figures, Ireland’s current emissions are 6.6% above 1990 levels, and emissions increased by 3.7% in 2015. Ireland, with the 8th highest emissions per person in the OECD, is one of only two countries in the EU which will overshoot its 2020 targets for emissions reductions.

Ireland needs to immediately embark on a rapid and just transition to a carbon-free future. Both the EPA and the new Climate Change Advisory Council describe what is required as “a major societal and economic transformation”. Ireland’s last action plan on climate was launched in 2007 – by the then Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche – and expired in 2012. The Advisory Council is clear the new National Mitigation Plan should not just focus on our EU targets for 2020 and 2030 but “should outline the roadmap to achieve the 2050 national objective”. That objective, set out in the National Policy Position on Climate Action, is an 80% aggregate emissions reduction between the buildings, energy, and transport sectors, and carbon neutrality in agriculture.

Under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act, which became law on December 10th 2015, Minister for Climate Action, Denis Naughten TD, is obliged to submit a final action plan on how Ireland will cut climate pollution (called the National Mitigation Plan) to Government by 10th June 2017.

Take Five Minutes to Put Pressure on your Local TDs to Take Cycling Seriously!

We are calling on the government and TDs more generally to:

• allocate at least 10% of the Transport Budget to cycling
• implement the National Cycle Policy Framework in full
• take action to reduce transport emissions so that Ireland fulfils its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement (of Dec 2015)

Without serious investment, the numbers of children cycling to school will remain way below what they should be and collisions involving cyclists will remain far too high. In a nutshell, we want cycling promotion and investment recognised as the amazing public health and urban decongestion interventions that they are!

We are calling on you to:

1 – Sign the petition: https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/allocate-10-of-the-national-transport-bud…

2 – Contact your local TD to asking him/her to take cycling seriously.
Feel free to use the text above and add in your own points. Visit https://www.whoismytd.com/ to see who are your local TDs – it’s super easy. When emailing, provide your home address so they know you are in their constituency and monitoring how much attention (or not!) they give to cycling.

Thank you – and do let us know what responses you get from your TDs

Also posted @Dublin Cycling

Let Your Cycling Voice Be Heard!

This week is an important week for the future of quality cycling in Dublin City! Dublin City Council are seeking submissions from you, and any member of the public, by next Thursday 9th March on their proposed design for the really important cycle route between Clontarf and Amiens St, close to Dublin City Centre. Dublin Cycling Campaign have major issues with the design as proposed, as we feel it does not adequately address the future needs for safe cycling in a city environment.

Read more

Mayor who resigned after racist rant heads anti-cycle lane push

  • Cycling supporters say “projects are to enable our kids to get to school safely”
  • Group questions how yet-to-be installed cycle lanes can be killing businesses

Kildare councillor, Darren Scully, who made national headlines and resigned as Mayor of Naas after saying he would not represent “immigrants coming from African countries”, is now taking up the challenge of opposing cycle routes in the centre of Naas.

Read more at Irish Cycle