FAQ: Why do you ride like that?

“Biking in the middle of the lane like that sure looks dangerous.”

Driving in the middle of the lane actually protects cyclists against the most common motorist-caused crashes: sideswipes, right hooks, left crosses, and drive-outs.  A bicycle driver’s top safety priority is to ensure he or she can be seen by motorists with whom they might potentially be in conflict, and bicycling in the middle of a lane is one of the most effective ways to do that.  Most overtaking crashes involve a motorist who attempts to squeeze past (illegally) in a lane that is too narrow to share. Read more + video animation

Cyclists Set out their Demands ahead of Election 2016!

With the general election just around the corner, cyclists have set out their political demands!

Our vision is for everyday cycling to be normal part of life for all ages and abilities (the ‘8 to 80’ cohort as it is sometimes put) – very similar to the ways it is in many northern European countries. Remember also that #COP21 is a game changer – we need radical reductions in CO2 emissions from the Irish transport sector!

We want all political parties to commit to these two overarching aims:

  • Allocate at least 10% of transport funding to cycling
  • Implement the NCPF in full (initiated in 2009 it has only four years to run – time is ticking on actions/objectives not realised so far)

Additionally and more specifically, we must:

  • Achieve at least 10% of all journeys by bike by 2020 [It is currently only at 1.6% at a national level]
  • Appoint a National Cycling Officer in the Dept of Transport [This is a crucial step in being able to implement the NCPF effectively.]
  • Make 30km/h the default urban speed limit
  • Introduce a legally enforced 1.5-metre gap for overtaking cyclists; more information
  • Provide for contra-flow cycling on one-way streets
  • Retrofit the top 50 most dangerous junctions in Ireland
  • Fund high quality cycle infrastructure
  • Upskill An Garda Síochána to understand cycling so as to address (1) dangerous overtaking (2) illegal parking in cycle tracks; see #free-the-cycle-lanes
  • Provide mandatory cycle training in all primary and secondary schools
  • Introduce compulsory certificate of professional competence (CPC) for all taxi/hackney drivers by end 2017

Over the coming weeks, election candidates will be knocking on your door. Please relay the above points to them, explain why everyday cycling makes so much sense, and do feel free to share, tweet and post our graphic to get its message out there.

Cyclist.ie and its constituent local campaigns, and festivals will be working hard to ensure that all political parties understand the issues and see the value of putting the bicycle at the heart of transport and public health policies. If you support our work representing cyclists, please considering joining Dublin Cycling Campaign or, if you are outside the capital and not resident near a local campaign group, Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network. This support makes a real difference is enabling voluntary organisations with their work. Thank you!

One Simple Trick To Stop NYC Drivers From Killing You

Just a few days ago, Mayor de Blasio proclaimed 2015 to be the safest year on New York City’s streets since 1910 thanks to his ambitious Vision Zero plan; despite the decrease in traffic fatalities, a report a day later soberly pointed out that Vision Zero is on track to be some three decades behind its stated goal of achieving zero traffic fatalities by 2024. Some safe streets advocates are growing impatient with the pace of Vision Zero initiatives—and for the families of the 134 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes last year, the city is already moving far too slowly. Read article

China Cups and Butterflies; Options and Ethics

Vulnerability and risk. Statistics and ethics. Solutions or fixes. Top-down interventions or individual actions. These are the core issues in the long-running bike-lane (or cycle track)-versus-integration argument and in the book Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (better known for his previous book, The Black Swan). Antifragile is a long and complex read, but the author managed to summarize it while metaphorically standing on one foot: “Everything gains or loses from volatility. Fragility is what loses from volatility and uncertainty.” Read article

Cyclists priceless for cities

A new Danish study shows that cyclists and pedestrians contribute to roughly 50 % of the revenue in retailing in the large cities’ centres and roughly 25 % in the small and medium-sized cities. The bicycle is the preferred means of transportation in city centers, and cyclists visit more shops per trip than car drivers.

The relationship between cycling and commercial life has previously been examined in Copenhagen but not yet in other cities and towns in Denmark. Therefore, the Danish Road Directorate granted funding for such a survey in seven different municipalities in Denmark. The survey was conducted by the consulting company COWI, a member of the Cycling Embassy of Denmark. The results have just been published. Read more

Mongolian Bicycling Adventures

For our February public meeting, we are delighted to be exploring a very different topic – the cycling adventures of Ciaran Hussey and Laura McMorrow through Mongolia and other exotic places as recounted by themselves! Below is a taster they have sent us. We look forward to welcoming a big crowd to this meeting on Monday 8th February.

Two years vying for elbow space in a densely populated Japanese city resulted in daydreams of vast open spaces and rolling hills. Last summer after months of planning we packed our panniers, oiled our chains and headed for Mongolia to begin our journey home by bike. Over the course of the next four and a half months we cycled through 12 countries. We pedaled past camels in Mongolia, Ladas in Russia, stray dogs in Romania and all the while we wondered what we would find around the next bend.

Ciaran Hussey is from Galway and is a mixed media artist. He studied art and design at Limerick School of Art and Design and received a Masters of Fine Art at the University of Ulster, Belfast. He lived and worked in Japan for a number of years where he developed a love for cycle touring. He considers himself a leisurely cyclist rather than a competitive cyclist and enjoys most aspects of bike culture.

Laura McMorrow is a visual artist from Leitrim. She studied art in Limerick School of Art and Design and holds an MA from the University of Ulster in Belfast. She doesn’t have a background in cycling but loves the outdoors and has a good sense of direction!

Check out their blog

Launch of National Physical Activity Plan

Cyclist.ie at launch of National Physical Activity Plan

Healthy Ireland launched the long awaited “Get Ireland Active – National Physical Activity Plan” in Dublin today (14th Jan 2016). Ministers Leo Varadkar (Health), Paschal Donohoe (Transport, Tourism and Sport) and Michael Ring (Sport) each spoke at the event. Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, National Cycling Coordinator with Cyclist.ie, attended on behalf of the cycling campaigning community. Cycling Ireland were also present representing the sporting arm of cycling.

The common theme of each of the Ministers’ speeches was that in order to avoid further pressure being applied to an already overstretched health service, it is essential to change national habits so as to have physical activity as a normal part of our everyday lives. Hear hear! And how does one change these habits? It will require multiple agencies, sporting groups, the voluntary sector etc. in order to bring about a paradigm shift at every level of society.

In Cyclist.ie, we strongly believe that the built environment itself must not be an ‘obesogenic one’ – it must make it easy and safe for people of all ages and abilities to walk and cycle. We are delighted to see this point elaborated more fully in Section Four (Environment) of the plan. The proof, of course, will be determined by the extent to which this plan shapes the capital spending programmes of other departments. It is simply not acceptable that cycling receives a minimal mention in the government’s spending plans announced recently; PDF available  here

The National Physical Activity Plan is downloadable here and Cyclist.ie will be examining it in more detail over the coming days and weeks. Watch this space.