Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, is hosting the European Cyclists’ Federation’s annual delegate conference in Dublin in the Wood Quay Venue of Dublin City Council where they will entertain
over seventy European cycling campaigners from twenty different countries, representing 50 million everyday cyclists across Europe.
This is the largest gathering of everyday cycling planning and advocacy experts in the Northern Hemisphere in 2014. During the course of the Dublin AGM, delegates will share expertise and ideas on how to recreate strong cycling cultures throughout Europe.
“We are delighted to welcome these cycling advocates and experts to Dublin. It is a further opportunity to build on the lessons from European countries that have an established and thriving everyday cycling culture. We also
look forward to bringing them on guided cycle tours in the Sligo area, including part of the Euro Velo Route #1. We aim to highlight what a great place Dublin and Ireland is for cycling and send them back to their respective
countries with a clear message: Ireland is Open for Cycling!” said Dr. Mike McKillen, Spokesperson for Cyclist.ie and Dublin Cycling Campaign.
“Ireland must take in the lessons from European countries that have an established and thriving cycling culture, in relation to growing cycling and getting a balanced transport system. By hosting the event in Dublin, European
experts will be on hand to offer their knowledge and ideas. It’s a real opportunity for us to learn,” said McKillen. The campaigners also call on politicians, especially ahead of the European Parliament and local authority elections
at the end of May, to take note of the advice and knowledge we are being given, that a greater focus on cycling promotion and development is needed in order to improve the population’s activity levels and health.
“The publication last week of the 5th IPCC Report on climate-change serves as a wake-up call to policy-makers in Ireland that transport greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced urgently. Too many drivers are using the car for trips of less than 3 km in Ireland (Census, 2011) – trips that are easily made by bike,” added McKillen.
The European Cycling Federation has developed a Manifesto for the 2014 European Parliament Elections, which Cyclist.ie and the Dublin Cycling Campaign fully endorse. This manifesto lists 10 key areas where decisive action
could happen within the next five years: click here for more detail on these 10 key areas: http://www.ecf.com/manifesto-for-the-european-parliament-elections-2014/
The event is supported by Dublin City Council as part of its efforts to promote cycling. “Dublin’s hosting of this event reflects the growth in cycling’s popularity and the improvement in cycling facilities. Our figures show that
the numbers of people entering the city by bike increased by over 80% between 2006 and 2013. We are also expanding the hugely successful Dublinbikes scheme and include cycling in new roads infrastructure. This has
made cycling a viable transport choice for commuters,” says Michael Phillips, Director of Traffic with Dublin City Council.
The European Cyclists’ Federation is pledged to ensure that bicycle use achieves its fullest potential so as to bring about sustainable mobility and public well-being. To achieve these aims, ECF seeks to change attitudes, policies
and budget allocations at the European level. Cyclist.ie has invited MEP candidates to complete a survey questionnaire reflecting these Manifesto issues. A similar survey has been given to local authority election
candidates. The results from both surveys will be released prior to the elections.
Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, also recognises that cycling tourism has great potential here in Ireland – “We believe that a strong business case can be made for the further development of
cycling tourism with some significant markets to target if the right infrastructure can be delivered on the ground, and we are working with our partners right around the country to deliver just that,” said Mary Stack from Fáilte