On Wednesday 20th November 2019, Cyclist.ie, Dublin Cycling Campaign and I BIKE DUBLIN are presenting to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport (JOCTTS). This follows on from the submission made by Cyclist.ie in early October 2019. Our main messages being delivered to JOCTTS are:
- Cycling offers multiple benefits to society, the economy and the environment
- Cycling needs serious investment from the Department – to the tune of 10% of the land transport capital budget – to be spent on high quality cycling infrastructure in particular.
The full presentation at the session is here; video presentations as follows:
Opening Statement from Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, National Cycling Coordinator with Cyclist.ie and accompanied by Mairead Forsythe from Cyclist.ie
Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network is the umbrella body of cycle campaigning and advocacy groups in Ireland. The network comprises a mixture of approx 25 urban, rural and Greenway groups. Cyclist.ie is the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation which advocates at a European level for making communities more liveable and cycle friendly.
Our vision is that cycling becomes a normal part of everyday life for all ages and abilities in Ireland – in a way that it is in many other European countries.
We are particularly conscious that in many parts of Ireland – and in rural Ireland especially – that the numbers of children cycling to school have fallen off a cliff. For example, in 2016 there were only 694 secondary school girls cycling to school (and over 2000 driving themselves to school); while in 1986 (while I was in secondary school myself) there were over 19,000 girls cycling to secondary school (as per Census data). Something is seriously wrong.
Cyclist.ie welcomes the new regulation regarding the dangerous overtaking of cyclists announced on 11th November 2019 by Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. Cyclist.ie is cautiously optimistic that there will be serious and systematic enforcement of the new regulations by An Garda Síochána. The impact the new laws will have on driver behaviour is critically linked with the enforcement regime to be employed by the Gardaí.
As outlined in our main submission, the proper resourcing and development of cycling nationally, as proposed in many government strategies, can have wide-ranging positive impacts on many aspects of Irish society. Increased everyday cycling levels will:
- improve national health and well-being
- provide an improved and more liveable public environment in villages, towns and cities throughout the country
- support national competitiveness by reducing congestion (which in the Greater Dublin area alone currently costs €350 million per annum)
- support local economies and increased tourism
- support Ireland in meeting its climate change targets (where the transport sector currently accounts for approx 20% of CO2 emissions)
The recent funding of €12.6 Million (2018), equivalent to approximately 1% of transport funding allocated to cycling, needs to be increased ten-fold immediately, both to bring Ireland’s cycling infrastructure and investment into line with our EU neighbours, but also to realise the broad societal benefits that a cycling economy can bring. Furthermore, investment in cycling provides generously high rates of return on investment in comparison with other public sector investments.
Cyclist.ie calls on the government to realise these economic and social benefits by, increasing, significantly and immediately, the funding allocated to facilitate and support cycling as both a transport mode and as a leisure activity.
We call on the Government to follow its own recommendation and invest in cycling a minimum 10% of the capital budget for Land Transport from 2020. Cyclist.ie investment priorities are
- Provision of high quality cycling Infrastructure
- Subsidy of the purchase of e-bikes through a national scheme
- Setting up and resourcing a National Cycling Office in the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport
- Increasing safety and awareness of cyclists through a variety of initiatives as outlined in our main submission