Carndonagh needs cycling infrastructure in the post-Covid environment A newly-formed cycling and walking group, based in Carndonagh, aims to encourage Donegal County Council to construct 10kms of cycling infrastructure to connect schools, sporting amenities and businesses in the town. Carndonagh Cycleway has now requested a meeting with the Members of the Inishowen Municipal District to put forward their vision for a comprehensive cycling network that they believe will revolutionise the town – and for the good.
‘Carndonagh is not a safe town for cycling at present’, Odel Ward said. She continued: ‘while there are a lot of road cyclists passing through en route to or from Malin Head, how many people do you see cycling to work, to school or to access our excellent local sports clubs? Unfortunately the answer is ‘very few’, because there’s simply no safe, segregated cycling lanes. We are being encouraged to walk and cycle to school but it is currently dangerous with the high volume of motorised traffic in the town centre’. Research shows 30% of all trips in the car cover distances of less than 3km and 50% are for less than 5km. Many of these car journeys could be substituted with cycling. It is an efficient, sustainable way of getting around while reducing pressure on families daily taxi service, improving public health, lifting spirits and lowering CO2 emissions. From the research we have carried out so far there is huge demand for safe cycle routes to link the community but safety concerns are stopping the government’s health initiatives and policies from being implemented locally. Families are simply not comfortable using the local roads to travel by bike and end up driving everywhere under pressure.
‘One only has to look at what’s happening in other parts of Ireland, notably in Dun Laoghaire, to see the change that can occur given the political willpower and financial backing of the Department for Transport, Tourism and Sport.’ It’s not just for Dublin, cycling is a pleasant way of getting around on a daily basis and with the right infrastructure and appropriate clothing workers, shoppers, tourists and leisure users can all enjoy the benefit of the bike.
While the current regeneration project for the town centre is to be greatly welcomed, we can also further enhance access in and to the town. Members of our group have audited the current road network in and around the town and we feel it is feasible to install segregated cycling lanes that will enable children and adults to safely move to school, to work, to our local sports facilities and for recreation. The campaign comes on the back of a renaissance for cycling in Ireland, with bike shops currently sold out of stock and the percentage of those cycling having increased dramatically since March 2020, highlighting the massive unmet demand for cycling. Odel concluded: ‘we need to use the outdoor space properly so that people can enjoy freedom, good health and a lifted mood while also reducing air and noise pollution. We want to improve our quality of life while spending more time in an attractive and sustainable town centre.’
We are looking for the whole community to get behind this small working group as it will take a collective effort to make this vision become a reality. We will circulate a petition to bring a cycleway to Carndonagh in the coming days and will be working on developing plans to present to the council. Anyone interested in being involved in the campaign can email [email protected] or check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/carndonaghcycleway
Cyclist.ie has had an intensely busy and fruitful period of campaigning over the last two years. In the text below, we list many of our highlights and main achievements in 2019 and 2020. It is broadly divided into Campaigns, Submissions, Presentations, International Advocacy Work and Organisational Developments.
It is certainly not exhaustive, but will give a good sense of our core campaigning work. In summary though, our advocacy work has had a significant impact on national policy, on funding for cycling, and in supporting cycle campaigning at a local level which, in turn, is helping to shape the approaches of Local Authorities and communities in nurturing cycling. We look forward to an even more fruitful year in 2021!
2019 Highlights / Main Achievements
#allocate4cycling campaign organised with the aim of prioritising investment in cycling. As part of this, many PQs (Parliamentary Questions) posed to TDs so as to help disentangle figures around the actual annual spend on cycling
Supporting the #ibikeivote social media campaign to encourage those registered to vote in the local and European elections to get on their bikes and vote – and opt for candidates serious about active travel.
Officials from the Road Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána, the National Transport Authority, and three separate sections of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Sustainable Transport, Road Safety and Tourism)
Engaging through the European Cyclists’ Federation on EU level processes related to mobility and road safety. https://ecf.com/
To get cycling prioritised in the Programme for Government which we succeeded with, crucially in regard to funding. The PfG now includes the following text:
“The Government will commit to an allocation of 10% of the total transport capital budget for cycling projects and an allocation of 10% of the total capital budget for pedestrian infrastructure. The Government’s commitment to cycling and pedestrian projects will be set at 20% of the 2020 capital budget (€360 million) per year for the lifetime of the Government.” (page 13 of https://drive.google.com/file/d/12TNmlz1a4B56dI31zyixzRT493Cv7sgl/view)