Press Release from ‘Cyclist.ie’
In a pre-Budget submission, Cyclist.ie wishes to stress the importance of prioritising transport investment in cycling as a value-for-money spend. Much better outcomes are achieved for modest expenditures than continuing to fund incorrectly conceived roads infrastructure.
Our priorities for 2011, which we hope will be recognised in the formulation of Budget 2011 are listed here:
- The implementation of the National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF). [see http://www.smartertravel.ie/national-cycle-policy-framework ] This can be funded by discontinuing the allocation of state funding to cycling infrastructure hostile to the aims of the NCPF. Previous policy based on the construction of strategic cycle networks and kilometres of cycle track has been questionable in its conception and has frequently failed to deliver what cyclists need. It should cease for the time being while an independent cost benefit analysis of such policies is carried out. This will allow the saving of money for the exchequer, and 10-20% of the saving should be allocated to soft measures as envisioned in the NCPF
- The Dublin Public Bikes Schemes has been a remarkable success and should be emulated in other Irish cities. (Policy Objective 9.1 of the NCPF)
- The Green Schools Travel Program has been a remarkable success and should be expanded. (Policy Objective 4.3 of the NCPF)
- The employee bike scheme has been a success and should be retained. (Policy Objective 13.1 of the NCPF)
- A strong effort is needed to make on-road cycle skills training available for schools, prospective adult cyclists, and any persons involved in planning, designing, managing, or policing, public road infrastructure. (Policy Objective 4.4, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3 and 18.3 of the NCPF)
- The focus for infrastructure policy should be the top levels of the Hierarchy of Measures in the National Cycle Policy Framework. (Policy Objective 2 of the NCPF)
- Delivery of the Hierarchy of Measures is not efficiently achievable under current local authority funding systems and there is a requirement for some means of local taxation to address this.
- The city centre car parking levy as currently conceived, is flawed, acts to incentivise car travel and should be abandoned. It should be replaced with a general employer car-parking levy that must be passed on to the person receiving the benefit as and when they use it.
- The motor car ‘scrappage’ scheme is detrimental to the furtherance of the use of ‘greener’ modes of transport. It is a net drain on the economy as it merely encourages importation of cars, and gives no overall reduction in pollution. It therefore runs contrary to Government policy and should be abandoned.
- Funding should be provided for provision of state of the art cycle parking facilities at each of the main public transport interchanges in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway, and for development and maintenance of safe, high-quality cycle routes to and from these hubs. (Policy 7 and 8 of the NCPF; specifically policy 8.2)
- Cycling has a key role to play in the appropriate development of Ireland’s transport network.
- The priorities outlined above and as articulated in the National Cycle Policy Framework must be supported as their implementation will reap major benefits for the State in the coming difficult economic climate.
No better time to get back on our bikes!
- Giving priority to cycling and walking can create huge savings for the Exchequer in reduced expenditure on health, social services and road building and maintenance, as well as increased income by improving economic efficiency.
- The strong economic, social, health, tourism and environmental benefits of prioritising cycling (and walking) are set out in the government’s National Cycle Policy Framework (Department of Transport 2009). The benefit / cost ratios far exceed other transport investments.
- In summary, investing in cycling is a cost effective way of helping to improve the economic activity in cities through significant congestion reduction and through using scarce public space (roads) in an efficient manner; it contributes manifestly towards producing a healthier population (cycling is an effective form of aerobic exercise); it helps reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels and lowers our CO2 and NOx emissions.
- Cycling should be seen as an integral part of a policy environment in which the aim is to
provide access on public roads for all road users over hyper-mobility for the motorised
members of our society to the exclusion of others.
- The journey modal-split in favour of sustainable travel that government policy is striving to achieve, where non-polluting modes of travel should be to the fore, has to determine future public investment or tax relief involving travel and transport.