The Rural Cycling Collective is an expanding array of small groups and individuals within the wider Cyclist.ie Advocacy Network with a focus on making rural communities (towns, villages and rural roads) cycle friendly for all ages and abilities.
This August 15th – 29th 2020 – Practice Walking, Cycling, Scooting or Kite-Surfing to your school – with events happening around the country and a nationwide ‘scavenger hunt’ style competition there is plenty of opportunity to show that kids like you want to be able to get there safely and on their own steam! Find out about events near you by getting in touch with your local cycle advocacy group, find them on ourinteractive map here.
The Nationwide ‘Get to School on your own Fuel’ Competition
As long as it’s human powered you can play the game!
How to play : Start by registering your team of 1-8 participants (primary or secondary level students), once registered you will be redirected to a print-friendly Competition Scorecard. Each item on the score card has a point value, the more points you score, the more likely you are to win our hamper of bike-y goodies!
What’s involved: Some items on the list require you to post photos to our facebook, like a photo ‘along your route’ or ‘with your group in front of your school’. Others are tasks like ‘create a route map’ or ‘count the bike parking at your school’! Full details are on the print-friendly score card. (If you are under 13 you will need adult supervision on all your cycles, and use of a parent/guardian’s facebook account.)
When you are done : Post your final score on our Facebook (tagging #gettoschool @cyclistie) total by Friday 28th August at 12pm – the top 3 teams will invited to submit a photo of their completed scorecards and some evidence of items completed – a winner will be declared Saturday 28th of August by 5pm and we will post out your big hamper of bike-y goodies!
MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday 30 July 2020 A Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland Launched by Cyclist.ie’s Rural Cycling Collective
During the lock-down period of restricted travel, one widely remarked phenomenon was the large increase countrywide in the numbers of people of all ages out walking and cycling.
A desire to retain that peace and freedom, together with the promise by the new coalition government of an annual €360 million spend on walking and cycling infrastructure has led to the formation of a new Rural Cycling Collective. Comprising an array of groups and individuals under the umbrella of the wider national Cyclist.ie advocacy network, the group is focused on making rural communities (towns, villages, and rural roads) cycle-friendly for all ages and abilities. It aims to re-balance the debate on active travel so that everyday journeys by bike across rural Ireland are enabled and supported.
“A VISION FOR CYCLING IS A VISION FOR THE FUTURE”
Launching the manifesto, Joan Swift, speaking on behalf of Sligo Cycling Campaign – a member group of Cyclist.ie – said
Today, we launch our vision document which aims to promote and celebrate everyday cycling in towns, villages and their surrounding areas. We are launching the Rural Cycling Collective to highlight the needs of areas outside of the major cities. We are campaigning for a fair distribution of transport funding to regional parts of the country to make cycling for all ages and abilities a reality. Our 8 identified priorities have the potential to completely transform our communities.
“RURAL COLLECTIVE HAS 8 PRIORITIES”
The collective is calling on Local and National Government to:
Create an environment in our towns, villages, and rural roads where cyclists are expected and respected.
Create and map useful, connected cycle routes throughout Local Authority areas.
Implement best practice design so that routes are safe and comfortable for all ages and abilities.
Prioritise safe cycle routes to schools and car-free zones at school gates.
Lower Speed Limits to make our roads and streets safer and more accessible for everyone, and to reduce casualties.
Ensure clear and timely access to funding by improving capacity at all levels of local and national government.
Collaborate with all stakeholders – including cycling and community groups – at all stages of planning and design.
Provide cycle training for all ages especially children
Taken together, these measures would transform active travel throughout Ireland. The co-benefits would include improvements to health, safety, congestion, air-quality, noise levels, and the public realm. More cycling will also help us to meet our climate change obligations. Speaking ahead of the launch, Anluan Dunne from Kerry Cycling Campaign said:
We can be a voice for areas of Ireland that have not yet realised the potential of cycling for everyday activities – cycling to school for children, to work, to the post office for your pension, to shops to buy a litre of milk – or to cycle around to your neighbours for a catch-up. We need to change how we develop our towns, villages and rural roads and we need our collective voice to be heard
At a recent family fun cycle in Clonakilty as part of the multi-location launch of the Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland, there was an overwhelming feeling that both children and adults love exploring their local neighbourhoods and areas on their bicycles, and that cycling needs to become an everyday part of life in Ireland again.
Jo Sachs-Eldridge, from Leitrim Cycling Festival, who led the creation of the vision, invites everyone – people who cycle, people who don’t cycle, want-to-be cyclists, mums, dads, planners, councillors, Ministers and An Taoiseach – to get involved in shaping this vision and helping to make it a reality.
The Rural Cycling Collective plans to foster collaboration amongst cycling groups across Ireland and to jointly lobby local authorities and public representatives for the changes which will entice more people to choose the bicycle for everyday activities. It will also work towards a cycle-friendly Ireland by collaborating with all stakeholders, organising regular events, fun-cycles and campaign actions.
Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network is the umbrella body of cycle campaigning and advocacy groups in Ireland – https://cyclist.ie/. It is the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation – https://ecf.com/.
Cyclist.ie very much welcomes the Safe Routes to School Programme announced jointly today by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for Education Norma Foley TD and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton TD. See here for the Departmental Press Release on it.
Safe Routes to School were one of Cyclist.ie’s active travel asks for General Election 2020 (see image below) and we were pleased to see it included in the Programme for Government.
It is also priority number four of the eight priorities outlined in Cyclist.ie’s Rural Cycling Collective’s document Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland: “Prioritise safe cycle routes to schools and car free zones at school gates”.
The statement by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan that “Schoolchildren need more than hi- vis vests to get to schools safely. They need proper infrastructure to make walking cycling and scooting a practical choice for families” is most welcome. Also welcome is the recognition by Minister for Education Norma Foley that “Being active is a key component of wellbeing”.
However, while expenditure of €15 million this year seems like a good start to a Safe Routes to School scheme, the aim of providing routes to over 100 schools in 2021 falls well short of what is required. There are almost 4,000 first and second level schools in Ireland, so allowing for a roll-out of 100 safe routes annually it will take 40 years to fulfil Minister of State Naughton’s hope that over time “every student in every village, town and city, can safely travel to and from school be it by foot/scooter or bike”.
In reality we know that many schools are situated adjacent to one other and that therefore the same route will often serve more than one school. However, that still leaves a considerable time-lag before all schools can be provided with safe routes. In order to accelerate the process, Cyclist.ie suggests that Healthy Ireland and Climate Action Funding should also be made available for the Safe Routes to School programme. Active Travel is certainly a transport issue but it is also a health and a climate issue.
For the implementation of routes, consultation with parents and with children themselves will be important to ensure that their needs are met – for example in regard to suitable cycle / scooter parking provision at each school and disability requirements.
Cyclist.ie strongly recommends the use of quiet streets as one aspect of the Safer Routes to School approach, and explaining to both residents and parents that this provision is for school-children to cycle safely to/from school, and not a race track for commuter cyclists.
Furthermore, attractive and clearly branded materials, such as the pencil barriers and coloured stickers on roads should be designed for national use, so that the messages are clear to all. The emphasis needs to be on a shift away from helmet wearing and hi-vis, and instead focus on safe and clearly marked cycling / walking infrastructure – and it needs to be done in conjunction with standard 30 km/hr speed limits around all schools.
Cyclist.ie made a submission last week (Fri 12 March 2021) to the Office of Public Works in regard to the proposals outlined in the Phoenix Park Transport and Mobility Options Study.
The Phoenix Park has both major national and international standing, and its appropriate management and development is of great importance to the nation. Overall we give a broad welcome to this study, and its recommendations, and its recognition of the latent demand, and the inescapable arguments for a more sustainable approach to the management of this National Historic Park. The breadth and scope of the report is impressive and much of the detail on the Park and surrounding areas, and the transport landscape contained therein, will be valuable in planning for the future.
Cyclist.ie welcomes the proposed developments outlined in the study, and in particular the concentration and development of sustainable modes of travel, and the proposed rapid implementation of many of the proposals.
However we have raised a number of issues in our above submission requiring attention:
The level of confusion created by the online posted contradictory maps as to the detail of what is exactly proposed, particularly in relation to Access and Roads. These need to be clarified in the interests of accurate public information. We have recommended the use of a consistent and accurate base map with all road and areas correctly labelled for any future reference.
The non-inclusion of the Farmleigh Estate, as part of this study, is an omission which is difficult to understand and needs to be addressed.
The omission of two critical external sustainable links to Ashtown Train Station and the Royal Canal, and to the National War Memorial Park across the Liffey needs to be addressed, as these links will help to create a much larger overall network of walking and cycling route access to and from the Phoenix Park.
We recommend that the one way system at Ashtown Gate and the proposals for Knockmaroon Gate be implemented in Phase 1 and not in Phase 3 as indicated.
We make specific recommendations in relation to the proposed upgraded road crossings, to ensure they are also cycle accessible.
We recommend that both Bus Route options be developed, to ensure better public transport provision access to the main Phoenix park amenities, for all major neighbouring populations.
The explanation of the Option choice decisions made on foot of the Multi Criteria Assessment (MCA) approach is deficient and it remains unclear how Option 3 emerged as the preferred option.
We outlined our broad support of the proposals, and look forward to their development and ongoing liaison between Cyclist.ie, the OPW and the study team in supporting these developments. Additionally, we would welcome further clarification on the issues raised by us.
We are happy at any stage to engage with the study team to discuss any of our above proposals and issues.
Cyclist.ie and local member group, Bike Friendly Bandon, made submissions last week (8th March 2021) on the Bandon Transportation Public Realm Enhancement Plan (TPREP) Implementation Project – Phase 1.
Cyclist.ie broadly welcomes the proposed upgrade and enhancement of Bandon Town centre in the interests of making the town more people friendly, more social and community focused, and ultimately a safer and more pleasant place.
We support the proposed improvements to the public realm and general mobility plans for the town but we recommended that:
Scheme extents should be reviewed to encompass areas such as the Glasslyn Road Roundabout, Market Quay, all of Oliver Plunkett St, and the western entrance to the town centre via Market St.
A clear 30kph speed limit needs to be set throughout the town.
Urban single carriageway widths need to be reduced to 3 metres throughout rather than the displayed 3.5 metres. This will provide extra benefits to pedestrians and cyclists, as well as promoting increased commercial opportunities.
There needs to be signalisation and redesign of the Glasslyn Road/Finbarr’s Place junction to improve safety and improve pedestrian and cyclist movements.
A ‘statement’ design be implemented on the western approach to the town centre, to clearly define a different area.
A contra flow cycling system be designed and introduced.
Bike Friendly Bandon began in 2020 with the aim of encouraging an increase of day to day cycling around the town, so that everyone of any age can feel safe to cycle around Bandon. Approximately 100 local people have been involved in their activities. We highly recommend you check out the lovely recently produced short video on their activities.
Bike Friendly Bandon fully supports the TPREP’s move away from encouraging vehicles in the town centre, while prioritising pedestrians, vulnerable users and cyclists by reducing speed limits and changing the layout of the roads. This starts to address the historical bias towards private motorised transport whilst still needing to think radically about how Bandon, as a town, can meet the actions required for the Climate Emergency as declared by The Irish Government and Cork County Council.
The Galway to Athlone Cycleway will complete the circa 270km car-free corridor between Galway and Dublin for people on bikes, walking and other motor-free modes.
The project is being led by the local authorities of Galway City Council and Galway, Roscommon and Westmeath County Councils in partnership with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport (DTTAS).
Cyclist.ie made a submission on the Route Corridor Options Public Consultation last week (the first week of March 2021). As cycling advocates, we warmly welcome the proposed advancement of the project – we are delighted to see it being revived after a long hiatus.
We recognise that each of the five route corridors under consideration has enormous potential. We stressed in our submission that access to the greenway by local people is as important for this project as the development of the tourism experience. The more different cohorts of users the greenway appeals to, the more successful it will be as an amenity and as an active travel transport corridor.
Cyclist.ie’s Rural Cycling Collective is embarking on a year long ‘Rothar Rides’ promotion, aimed at getting individuals and groups out exploring rural Ireland to discover the best ways to get from A to B.
Over the year the group hopes to gather suggestions to form a network of cycling routes, map them with GPS on a central database, and use them to provide suggestions to local authorities when developing cycle routes around these areas. In this early stage of the campaign, organisers are asking that bike lovers of all ages and abilities get out on their bikes on the first Sunday of each month to think about potential cycle routes in their areas.
One of the main goals of the campaign is to map the many local secondary, tertiary and boreen roads that can offer more enjoyable and safer options for cyclists to access places of interest (like beaches or historical sites), as well as mapping routes from residential areas into nearby villages and towns.
Spokesperson Allison Roberts from the Rural Collective stated: “We can all be a part of the development of cycle routes in Ireland. As cyclists and as cycle advocates, we have the knowledge that is needed to make sure that government efforts to increase access to cycling is a success, we can provide the information they want so that they, in turn, can provide the infrastructure we so desperately need.”
The Rothar Rides kick off this Sunday, 7th of March, so hop on your bike & explore! Find a new route from A to B or start thinking about your dream cycle route in your area. Post pics of your ride using #rotharrides and tag @cyclistie. And do please remember to stay within your 5km limit until this is changed.
Cyclist.ie was delighted to see RTE 1 TV’s Nationwide programme broadcasted on Monday 1st March 2021 which focused on the development of the Coastal Mobility Route in Dublin.
It brought to a nationwide audience some of the many benefits which accrue when high quality cycling infrastructure is provided, as exemplified by the route running from Blackrock to Dun Laoghaire in South County Dublin. The interviews with Engineer, Robert Burns, and Architect, Bob Hannon, from DLR County Council were particularly illuminating.
Colm Ryder, Chairperson of Cyclist.ie and a long time member of Dublin Cycling Campaign, also took part in the programme, and he contrasted how the development of cycling was in the 1990s compared to now. All in all, we are making progress on the back of many years of targeted cycle campaigning.
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On January 18th, 2021, a group of locals in Kinsale came together virtually to form ‘Kinsale Loves Bikes’, a cycle advocacy group, under the umbrella of Transition Town Kinsale which has a strong track record in voluntary community projects. Kinsale Loves Bikes aims to promote leisure cycling in the Kinsale area for all ages and abilities. We are affiliated with Cyclist.ie and the Rural Cycling Collective which is advocating for enhanced rural cycling at a national, as well as local, level.
To date, we have established a social media profile on Facebook and Twitter. We are engaging with local schools to promote cycle training for interested pupils. A competition between local Transition Year students resulted in the creation of a logo for our group. We are currently engaging with representatives on Cork County Council in an effort to advance the creation of local Rothar Roads, i.e. cycle priority routes on existing minor roads where cyclists would be afforded added protection in the form of reduced speed limits and cycling signage.
We look forward to the coming months when we hope to get the opportunity to meet up physically to facilitate and promote community and family-friendly cycling in Kinsale.
Cyclist.ie made a submission today, 19 Feb 2021, to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DEPR) in regard to the “Review to Renew” consultation – that is, the process for the public to comment on the renewal of our National Development Plan.
In our short submission, we stressed the need for sustainable transport and active travel to become the central, and indeed dominant, parts of transport investment for the state over the coming years.
Introduction Members of the Cyclist.ie network have started to compile a list of locations on National roads where there are inadequate conditions for people wishing to choose active travel. We highlight, in particular, locations in towns and villages in the vicinity of schools.
A copy of the Cyclist.ie letters dated 18 February 2020 to Transport Infrastructure Ireland and to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications Networks can be found here (TII) and here (JOCTCN).
List of N-Roads and Locations
Clonakilty: The N71 ring road that circumnavigates the town centre is also the main artery that links residential estates (new and existing) to the town centre and schools. It has no provision for cycling.
Sligo: The N4 through the centre of Sligo is a multi-lane dual carriageway which is hostile to pedestrians and cyclists and is not conducive to facilitating safe routes to schools.
Travelling to Summerhill College from Maugheraboy requires a child to negotiate this junction, turning right. Children from the Maugheraboy area going to St.John’s National School would also have to negotiate this junction, going straight on.
There is protected cycle infrastructure to Summerhill College but it only begins on the dual carriageway and access from the North and West is unsafe.
Sligo: The N4 between Sligo and Grange or Cliffoney is an entirely feasible commute by e-bike but is unsafe because sections have no hard shoulder, and certainly no separate cycling infrastructure
Kilkenny: The N76, N10 and N77 form a ring road around Kilkenny with no cyclist provision at roundabouts, creating major severance between high employment, education and residential centres. The N10 and N77 have no cycle infrastructure extending outside the ring road, cutting off many commuter towns, villages and recreational spaces from the city. The N78, serving Castlecomer, one of the large population catchments in North Kilkenny has no cycle infrastructure. Similarly, Callan served by the N76 has no cycle infrastructure on the approach roads to the town.
Wexford: Road markings on the N25 roundabout with the R733 recently had a left turn only applied. This negativity impacts bicycle rider safety for those continuing straight along the N25 towards Rosslare who now need to merge to the outside lane with 100km/hr traffic. This is a very popular cyclist route. A safe alternative needs to be provided.
Navan: The “Andy Brennan” roundabout on the N51 beside Navan Retail Park has been flagged to local councillors as a problem, due to the lack of pedestrian crossings. The segregated cycle lane on the southbound approach to the roundabout ends prior to the roundabout, leaving cyclists with no protection or guidance. The roundabout is situated in the vicinity of a school, hospital, retail park, and within a 50 km/h built up area.
Wexford: Allowing toucan crossings on N roads. We have some cycling infrastructure that comes to a dead end at the N25. Allowing a toucan crossings with associated speed limits would allow the opportunity to safely cross. (e.g. Barntown cycle track that comes to a dead end where the N25 intersects)
Wexford: Repurposed N roads that are earmarked for “Greyways”. Greyways need to be clearly defined and standardised to an agreed acceptable safety standard. The term ‘Greyway’ currently does not exist in the cycling lexicon. See the Cyclist.ie article on these here – https://cyclist.ie/2020/10/greyways-under-microscope/
General: ALL new N roads MUST have cycling infrastructure. Current example: Wexford – The Rose Fitzgerald Bridge, part of the extended N25, opened this time last year. Not a hint of cycling infrastructure on any of the roads leading to and from the bridge or on the bridge itself. It’s a 100km/hr road with a very thin hard shoulder and this makes the route hostile for bicycle riders.
General: Hard shoulders on N roads, which are often used by people on bikes**, sometimes pinch in where there are right turns. This creates dangerous situations for bicycle riders. All new N roads should include at least a 2 metre consistent width of hard shoulder in the absence of dedicated cycling infrastructure. Existing ones should be retrofitted.
** Note that, according to the RSA’s Rules of the Road, the hard shoulder is “normally only for pedestrians and cyclists” (page 73).
Carlow: N80 Ring Road of Carlow Town, unprotected cycle lane beside a 80 kph road alongside HGV traffic (below). This is a main bridge crossing point for Carlow Town.
N80 approaching Carlow Town from Tinryisland. This is a route that brings traffic from the M9 motorway to Carlow Town. As you can see from the Google Map image below, this child cyclist has no segregation to distance him from the large volumes of traffic to his right. The speed limit on this road is 100kph.
N80 – O’Brien Road Carlow A mixed-use cycle path, that is often used by people with visual impairments with assist animals. This is not safe for pedestrians or cyclists, and dangerous conflicts arise. This road is often used by joggers and walkers and this is a prime example of where these pedestrians deserve priority through raised footpaths and segregation from cyclists to prevent conflicts.
Ballon: This town has the N80 run through it.
Ample road width as indicated by the islands and filter lanes. However you can see that the conditions for cycling and walking to Ballon National School are unsafe. These children deserve to be able to cycle to school segregated from all traffic, but especially HGV traffic.
This spacing continues throughout the town. The space for segregation is there.
Skibbereen: N71 by-passing the town.
There are several issues:
No cycling provision
Before the town (East) traffic calming makes no provision for cyclists, forcing them into the flow of fast moving traffic.
There are two roundabouts at either end of the by-pass with no cycling provision
No pedestrian / cyclist crossing at the junction of Mill Road on the by-pass
The N71 west of Skibbereen has sections of the EuroVelo Route#1 yet no cycling provision.
There is no cycling provision on the N71 by-pass for Skibbereen. This N71 by-pass is regularly cycled and walked. The Skibbereen Cycle Bus travels along the by-pass and cycles on the footpath for a section. There is a grass verge wide enough for a cycle lane, however for the bridge halfway along the road is narrower and footpaths are narrower. A cycle lane could go on the road here if traffic was slowed.
On the by-pass there is a junction to Mill Road. On Mill Road is the community hospital, estates and the Showgrounds in which Cycle Sense is based. The Showgrounds is also in the spot where the circus and fairground are held, and it hosts the rugby pitch. People use Mill Road as a walking route and cross the N71 (bypass). There is a crossing point with dipped pavements directing the pedestrian over 3 lanes of traffic with no central waiting point. Cyclists also cross here to access the playground and schools beyond via a cul de sac road. There is a need for a crossing at this location.
Connemara – Mayo – Sligo: N59 from Galway City through Connemara north into Mayo and on to Sligo. This is a very busy, narrow, curvy road through a beautiful area of the country, connecting a number of scenic towns, villages, beaches, coastline, bogs, loughs, national parks, etc., that has great potential for bicycle commuting and recreational cycling between towns and bicycle tourism. Safer and more calm bicycle routes will be a benefit to all parties.
Laois: N80 approaching Carlow Town from Stradbally and Arles. Arles is 7km from Carlow Town, which is certainly within cycling distance. After negotiating a road with no cycling infrastructure, this junction with HGV traffic is what cyclists have to negotiate. This requires segregation.
N80 Ring Road of Carlow Town, but in Graiguecullen. An incredibly wide road with residential estates off it as you can see in the picture (below). The people in this estate of Heatherhill are unable to cycle safely beside the large amounts of traffic, cars and HGVs on this road. The width of this road permits segregation, but a right filter lane for cars was chosen instead. There’s a roundabout which permits turnaround in approximately 500m.
Laois: Sleaty Rd Roundabout on N80 outside Carlow Town
This is a single lane roundabout on the N80 with ample space around it. Given this roundabout is already one lane, consideration should be given to providing cycling access to Knockbeg College, a boys secondary school as signposted.
Laois: N77 approaching Port Laoise. A bi-directional cycle path that due to a lack of maintenance is now a single directional path. The constant rising and falling of the surface here not only is highly unpleasant to ride on, but also comprises safety as segregation is non existent.
No provision for cycling infrastructure in this town, and it is as a result dominated by cars. This town has been bypassed meaning that this town should be given back to its citizens.