Sligo Cycling Campaign’s Bike Week Buffet an outstanding success

Sligo Cycling Campaign’s Bike Week Buffet an outstanding success!
On Thursday 19th June over one hundred people assembled in Clevreagh Park ready to set off on Sligo Cycling Campaign’s inaugural Bike Buffet. Chairperson Gemma Woods told the Weekender that cycling campaign members were looking for an interesting idea to mark Bike Week and became aware that their neighbours in Westport have hosted several successful Bike Buffets. Gemma floated the idea to Emer Concannon of Sligo County Council and received enthusiastic support.

The idea of the buffet is that participants cycle from venue to venue and have one course of their meal in each venue. The participating venues were the Riverside Hotel for “Mocktails”, Café Fleur for Starters, the Radisson hotel for a Barbecue and finally the Glasshouse hotel for coffee and dessert.

When booking opened for the buffet, some would-be participants sadly echoed Judy Garland’s lines from the song “We’re a couple of swells” “We would ride on a bicycle, but we haven’t got a bike”. However, Jarlath Gantly of Wild Atlantic Ways rode to the rescue as it were and provided hire bikes at a nominal fee.

In fact not only did Jarlath provide standard bikes but also tandems and even an electric tandem, which of course to those of us of a certain age brings to mind the lines of another song, “Daisy” , “But you’ll look neat going down the street of a bicycle made for two”. Traffic management of such a large number of participants was greatly assisted by support from Sligo Garda, from experienced Innisfree Wheelers marshals and from vehicle support by Jarlath Gantly and Mickey Scanlon.

Sligo Cycling Campaign aims to be a voice for Sligo’s everyday cyclist as well as for people who would like to start cycling but may not feel confident enough to do so. It seeks to lobby local and national government to bring about improved conditions for cyclists. The campaign is affiliated to ‘ – The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network’ and would love to have new members. The National Cycling Policy Framework published by Government in 2009 has as a target that 10% of all trips should be made by bike by 2020.  However, for this to become a reality changes need to happen and Sligo Cycling Campaign is adding its voice to the call for change.   The campaign can be contacted on Sligo Cycling Campaign (Facebook), twitter @SligoCycling or email

The bike buffet was a leisure activity with the simple objective of providing a fun experience by bike. However, Sligo Cycling Campaign has also received funding from Sligo County Council to make Safe Cycling Ireland’s 1.5 metres please, Share the Road windscreen stickers available throughout Sligo town. The stickers are an initiative of Phil Skelton, a Wexford cyclist, who became concerned at the risk to cyclists from dangerous overtaking.

Many European countries, for example Spain, Germany, France and Portugal as well as several US States have legislated for a minimum overtaking distance of 1.5 metres. Ireland currently has no legislation to this effect but the windscreen stickers can remind motorists to be considerate when overtaking a cyclist. The stickers are available from all Sligo bike shops as well as City Hall, County Council Office at Riverside and the library.

Sligo Cycling Campaign also supports the campaign for lower speed limits in urban areas. There is overwhelming evidence that lower limits make streets safer and more pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists.

The cycling campaign supports cyclist education, driver education, restricted speed, improved infrastructure, a minimum overtaking distance of 1.5 metres and enforcement of existing road traffic legislation re for e.g. speed limits and parking in cycle lanes. calls on Transport Minister to allocate more to cycling

Ireland will be facing fines from the EU commission for failure to reduce carbon emissions – which accrue mainly to transport – and agriculture.

Ireland’s transport is exceptionally carbon intensive and has so far failed to follow European counterparts (Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany and France) who have made significant progress in unwinding car dependency – and in improving the liveability of their cities.

€10 billion is ear-marked for transport investment over the next six years, as per the government’s Capital Spending Plan 2016-2021 , but only €100 million is allocated for ‘active travel’ – which encompasses both walking and cycling

This means the national target of “10% of all trips to be taken by bike by 2020” will not be reached – without significant intervention …

Below is a sample letter to Transport Minster Shane Ross


Dear Minister Ross,

The Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme for 2016-2021, published last September, proposes just €100M for Smarter Travel (which includes cycling) out of a proposed €10billion transport budget. This represents a mere 1% of overall transport expenditure.

I am calling on you as the newly appoint Minister of Transport to

Allocate at least 10% of transport funding to cycling, in order deliver everyday cycling for all ages and abilities by –

  • Implementing the National Cycle Policy Framework (2009) in full
  • Reducing dependency on fossil fuels, especially for the short urban trips
  • Achieving at least 10% of all journeys by bike nationally by 2020
  • Appointing a National Cycling Officer in the Dept of Transport
  • Making 30km/h the default urban speed limit
  • Introducing a legally enforced 1.5-metre gap for overtaking cyclists
  • Providing for contra-flow cycling on one-way streets
  • Retrofitting the top 50 most dangerous junctions in Ireland
  • Funding high quality cycle infrastructure
  • Upskilling An Garda Síochána to understand cycling and address dangerous driving
  • Providing cycle training in all primary and secondary schools

I look forward to seeing action taken on this matter in the immediate future.

Yours sincerely,


See also Dublin Cycling and Dublin Live

Appointment of Professor Donal O’Shea as Honorary President of

Press Release from – The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network – to mark the appointment of Professor Donal O’Shea (RCPI Policy Group on Obesity) as Honorary President to coincide with National Bike Week 2016 (Sat 11 – Sun 19 June) – The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network – is pleased to announce the appointment of Prof Donal O’Shea as its first Hon. President. Prof O’Shea is a consultant endocrinologist specialising in obesity/overweight and is Chair of the Policy Group on Obesity at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. He is also a member of the Government’s Healthy Ireland Council.

“In the race to become the most obese country in Europe, Ireland looks set to win. Latest predictions estimate that by 2030, 90 per cent of Ireland’s population will be overweight or obese, the highest projected level of any European country.”

Prof O’Shea is delighted to accept this new role.

“I am very pleased to take on a role as Hon. President with – The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network. The association promotes everyday cycling activity – and that’s the type of physical activity that makes a real difference at a population level over time. We have seen the increase in triathlons and weekend distance cycles, but is really trying to encourage day to day cycling – to school, work or just down to the shops. That’s an important goal for making positive changes to our population health. Continue reading Appointment of Professor Donal O’Shea as Honorary President of

Cycle City Active City Leicester Conference keeps a close eye on developments across the water in how British cities are changing to accommodate more cycling. As Irish campaigners we regularly travel across to cycling planning / advocacy events and enjoy meeting our cycle campaigning colleagues and swapping notes.

The latest trip was to Leicester to attend the Cycle City Active City conference. Leicester is undergoing a rapid transformation in recent years. Not only does the city boast the largest area of pedestrianised streets of any UK city (with cycle access and no record of serious collisions!), it has also been dismantling some of its gigantic flyovers – classic symbols of 1960s motorised automobility – and promoting urban regeneration. The nurturing of an everyday cycling culture is very much part of this mix. All of this has been helped along by a directly elected Mayor of the City Council (Peter Soulsby) and one of the most dynamic Local Authority Cycling Officers in the UK (Andy Salkeld).

We also heard the latest news from New York (Jon Orcutt) in which cycling is growing through a combination of high quality (protected) bike lanes and a large bike-share scheme, and from London where top notch cycle campaigning (by London Cycling Campaign and others) has prompted a series of directly elected mayors to treat the bicycle as a serious mode to alleviate congestion and help turn London into a more people friendly city. LCC’s latest success is getting a commitment from London’s new Mayor Sadiq Khan to triple the cycle superhighways, enable ‘Mini-Hollands’ in every borough and take dangerous lorries off streets.

Other excellent contributions came from Rachel Aldred, Senior Lecturer in Transport at Westminster University, who is studying how exactly reducing the volumes as well as the speeds of motorised traffic improves the environment for those not wearing a full body metal shell (her blog) and Philip Darnton, Executive Director of the Bicycle Association. Philip’s main argument is that £20M will enable every single school child in the UK to be trained in how to cycle in trafficked environments and every child deserves this training. Meanwhile, cycling journalist and author Carlton Reid recommended that we treat every outrageous / irrational anti-cyclist comment from various celebrities / notice boxes (such as ex- UK Chancellor Nigel Lawson’s as an indication that we are winning the battle: cycling is growing.

All in all, the Leicester conference was excellent. There were over 500 delegates / speakers plus another 300 cycle training instructors in attendance, and the quality of the presentations was really very good. There is an undoubted buzz generated by the more radical interventions on the streets of London to create safe cycling conditions for all – the question and feeling on everyone’s lips was: why should it just be on a handful of London’s streets that safe cycling conditions are created!? Hear hear!

Dr. Damien Ó Tuama is the National Cycling Coordinator for He presented at the Leicester conference on “The (Slow) Progress in Implementing Ireland’s National Cycle Policy Framework”.

A BIG thanks to Trek

A sincere thanks to the distributors of Trek bicycles in Ireland for their generous donation to to support our work.
Centro are the latest of the Irish bicycle companies / importers to see the logic in supporting organised cycling advocacy so as to move cycling up the political priority list.
Trek president John Burke has long maintained that the bicycle industry should divert cash from marketing and R&D to help advocates and politicians create a bicycle friendly worldHear hear!
Worth checking out their website and some of the progressive cycling projects in various parts of the world they are supporting. Fair play to them!

HGV Permits for Dublin

On behalf of, Deputy Tommy Broughan (Ind) kindly asked Parliamentary Questions (PQ) – directed at Minister Frances Fitzgerald (Justice) concerning the An Garda detection & enforcement of the Dublin City Council HGV permit system

  1. PQ68: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the Heavy Goods Vehicle permit system for Dublin City including the number of permits issued in 2014 to 2016 to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
  2. PQ69: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number and results of discrete Heavy Goods Vehicles stopping and checking operations An Garda Síochána has carried out to detect the permit status of Heavy Goods Vehicles requiring a permit in each of the years 2014 to 2016 to date; the number of multi-agency check-point stoppings conducted with An Garda Síochána, the Health and Safety Authority and the Road Safety Authority; and if she will make a statement on the matter


I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) permit system, which is administered by Dublin City Council under its HGV Management Strategy, continues to operate within Dublin City Centre from Monday to Friday, during the hours 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The system requires HGVs utilising 5-axles to obtain a permit to travel inside a designated cordon area to conduct business or make deliveries. HGVs using 4-axles do not require a permit to enter the cordon area. Details of the number of permits issued are a matter for Dublin City Council.

I am further informed by the Garda authorities that Garda checkpoints cover all areas of road traffic legislation and roads policing, including HGV requirements. However, specific details on the number of such checkpoints are not available, with the exception of Mandatory Alcohol Testing Checkpoints and Truck/HGV Checkpoints, which are recorded on PULSE. In the period 2014 – 19 May 2016, An Garda Síochána has conducted 3,763 Truck / HGV Checkpoints. I am advised by An Garda Síochána that these figures are provisional, operational and subject to change. An Garda Síochána has further advised that multi-agency checkpoints with other agencies, including the Road Safety Authority, are not separately recorded on the Garda PULSE System