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The Irish Times view on cycling infrastructure: time to get moving

There is a moral onus on the Government to invest in protecting cyclists

The statistics are stark. So far this year, six cyclists have been killed on Irish roads and many more injured, some very seriously. Last year, 15 died as a result of collisions with motor vehicles, more often than not on high-speed open roads, and hundreds more were injured. “One fatal road tragedy is one too many,” Minister for Transport Shane Ross has said. However, apart from introducing legislation to provide for minimum passing distances to protect vulnerable cyclists from reckless motorists, Ross cannot claim to be a champion of two-wheelers when his own department’s allocation for cycling infrastructure fell from €19 million in 2015 to €10.5 million in 2016 and just €7.5 million last year. These figures, which amount to less than 2 per cent of its capital budget, are so pathetically inadequate that they put Ireland close to the bottom among EU countries in this area.

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Why I refuse to follow the law while cycling

For cyclists, ignoring the rules of the road can be a matter of survival

When the sun finally began to shine in the UK this month, I could not wait to drag out my bike to cycle to work.

As soon as I got on the road though, I was struck by a familiar thought: London cyclists are abominable. They sneak through red lights. They scoot along the pavement. They go up one-way streets the wrong way and zip over pedestrian crossings before pedestrians have had time to cross.

I say this with confidence, because I am one of them. I have done most of these things myself and a couple of others as well, as you would know if you had been at Smithfield meat market the other morning. [By Pilita Clark]

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Liz O’Donnell (RSA) criticises tiny minority of rural TDs, who are delaying the passage of vital lifesaving road safety legislation

Cyclist.ie strongly supports the view of the Road Safety Authority, as stated yesterday by its Chair Ms. Liz O’Donnell, in relation to the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, 2017 before the Oireachtas Transport Committee, where she called as ‘disgraceful and self-serving’ the behaviour and tactics employed by a tiny minority of rural TDs, who are delaying the passage of vital lifesaving road safety legislation.

Vulnerable road users (VRUs), in particular, need certainty that the driver behind the wheel is not impaired or distracted at all times. The new penalty set out in the Bill will focus the minds of those who continue to believe that it is safe to drink and then drive with a pint or two imbibed. Six people who cycle did not return home so far this year from their journey

Rural deputies need to reflect on the fact that a disproportionate number (8 out of 15) of cyclists died on rural roads in Ireland in 2017. The filibustering deputies need to look at the mote-in-the-eye: Co. Kerry: 3, Co. Cork: 3, Co. Mayo: 1

Chair of Cyclist.ie, Colm Ryder says: “The deputies filibustering on the passage of the Bill should face the fact that people are dying on our roads due to people driving under the influence, and unlicensed drivers driving unaccompanied. Cyclist.ie strongly supports the proposed Road Traffic Amendment Bill 2017 in its entirety, and urges our legislators to ratify it as soon as possible in order to save lives”.

Surely new politics has its focus on enhanced road safety for all road users and not delaying the introduction of life-saving regulations.

Further information: Colm Ryder: 087-237 6130; Mike McKillen: 087-2314 613

Council plan to connect Offaly to the West with canal Greenways

Offaly County Council has unveiled a new stretch of Greenway on the Grand Canal and revealed further plans to connect the county all the way to the West with similar projects.

A 4km stretch at Srah, Tullamore, was officially opened yesterday by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, councillors and staff from Offaly County Council and Waterways Ireland.

This latest 4km section was constructed in partnership with Waterways Ireland at a cost of €170k, funded from Offaly County Council’ and an allocation from the Tullamore MD General Municipal Allocation.

The plans for the Grand Canal in Offaly don’t stop there as planning permission is already in place for a new 23km of
Greenway, connecting Tullamore with Lough Boora Discovery Park. This will serve to connect two of Ireland’s Ancient East sites, namely Tullamore DEW and Lough Boora Discovery Park. Construction is ongoing on this section of the Greenway.

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How the State Can Make Ireland a Leader in Tackling Climate Change

Introduction: This document is written as a high level background brief to inform discussions of the Citizen’s Assembly. The paper draws on the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – especially the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), which represents the latest consensus view of the scientific community. These reports are compiled by hundreds of scientists from across the world, who summarise developments and insights from the scientific literature published in peer reviewed journals. The report is signed off by all countries. The IPCC thus provide an authoritative assessment of our state of knowledge on all aspects of climate change. The subsequent sections of this brief are organised around the key questions that I was requested to cover.

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Citizens’ Assembly report a mandate for revolutionising Ireland’s climate policy

The Citizens’ Assembly has published its report on climate change (Assembly press release here). The report includes the Assembly’s 13 recommendations on ‘how the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change’. These were agreed by the Assembly after four days of expert presentations in 2017 and following a major public consultation which received close to 2000 submissions.

The Stop Climate Chaos coalition* is calling on the Government to respect the mandate of the Assembly by immediately establishing a dedicated Oireachtas Committee to take the report’s recommendations forward, as was done with the Assembly report on the eight amendment to the Constitution.

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Cyclists support the Patrick Street car ban (Cork)

Cork Cycling Campaign declared their support for the new traffic restrictions on St Patrick’s St and the broader strategy of improving movement through the city centre. However, the group also sympathised with the concerns of traders and car drivers about disruptions caused by the ban.

The partial car ban prioritises high density, highly efficient public transport over the inefficient use of public space by private vehicles. It increases the speed and reliability of bus travel, making Cork’s bus service more attractive.

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Waterford Greenway can transform tourism in county, says top official

The Waterford Greenway has proven a tremendous success but the challenge now for local tourism interests is to encourage visitors to stay longer in the area, according to Waterford City and County chief executive Michael Walsh.

Speaking on the first anniversary of the opening of the 46km walking and cycling route from Waterford city to Dungarvan, Mr Walsh said that the Waterford Greenway had the potential to transform tourism in the region.

“The Waterford Greenway has had an incredible economic, social and cultural impact on all the communities which straddle the 46km-long route. It has captured the local and national imagination and has been a huge magnet for visitors to this region.

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Sport Ireland workshop on Get Ireland Cycling

On March 6th a number of us plus Stephen McManus of IBIKEDublin, Irish Cycle’s Cian Ginty and a Cycling Ireland crew went to the Sport Ireland workshop on how to #GetIrelandCycling facilitated by Dr. Damien O’Tuama (consultant to Sport Ireland) and Sandra Velthuis.

Keynote speaker was Damien’s collaborator Angela van der Kloof, of Mobycon who said unless you have a coherent network of segregated cycle tracks/path criss-crossing urban areas you will not get more people cycling. She said “Children are precious and must be protected from fast traffic”. It was good to see senior officials from Healthy Ireland and Departments of Health and Transport there too along with Road Authorities and Local Sports Partnerships folks. Super. Con O’Donohue of AGS National Roads Policing and two colleagues were also there.

We got a chance to speak and harped about the urgency of government appointing a National Cycling Coordinator in Department of Transport along with a team and a promotional budget.

We need to keep repeating this as a mantra in public as often as we can. It’s a key recommendation of the NCPF.

We were asked to post an estimate of the percentage of commuters who would be using a bike by 2025. I posted 6% nationally; the NCPF called for 10% by 2020!

Cycling Without Age – update

  1. Humans of Dublin, interviewed us and here is the cheery feature they did
  2. We now have a CWA Facebook Group, which is open to all, so if you have not already joined, please feel free, as this is where we will add regular updates and happy news!
  3. Bikes: In addition to the six trishaws already up and running (three in Co. Cork and three in Dublin), there are at least five more on order. These are going to Waterford, Sligo, Leitrim and two for Co. Dublin. If anyone else has ordered their bike, do let me know, as we are now linking up with organisations such as Age & Opportunity, ChangeX, and others who will assist in promoting and working alongside new affiliates. Also, if you are ordering a bike, do sign up as an Affiliate to us. There is no charge and you will receive additional support and information from Copenhagen.
  4. Tips for Pilots and short videos on how to operate your bike: We have put together some short videos to demonstrate how to operate your trishaw, and some helpful Piloting Tips. Feel free to ask me to send you these. They work well in conjunction with actual pilot training.
  5. Pilot Training:   If people want pilot training and can come to Blackrock in Dublin, I am happy to offer pilot-training in our local park. I will not be able to travel all over Ireland, but if you can come to me, that offer is there!
  6. Volunteer pilots: As bikes arrive, I can start to match up the offers I have from volunteer pilots to their nearest bike and care home.
  7. Corporate Sponsors: Nursing and care homes and their supporters are fund-raising to get bikes. But, we would welcome offers from companies/organisations willing to come on board as sponsors or part-sponsors of bikes. Most of the bikes already operating here have been sponsored or co-sponsored by corporates. It offers great profile to the corporates, and some of their staff are acting as pilots. We are happy to talk to sponsors if you need us to.