Carndonagh needs a Cycleway


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: Highlights & Achievements – 2019 & 2020 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

  • Major Campaigns
    • #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
Dr. Damien Ó Tuama from presenting to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism & Sport in November 2019
  • 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)
  • International
Lunch with the partners on the Erasmus+ project in Corella – with Justin and Allison from the Clonakilty Bicycle Festival and at the front!
Alan Curran from the Galway Cycle Bus presenting at the 2019 Velo-city Cycle Planning Conference in Dublin
  • Organisational Achievements / work
    • Growth of the network to encompass 20 member groups
    • Fundraising successes for the National Cycling Coordinator position 
    • Building stronger alliances with An Taisce and Cycling Ireland, and advancing campaigns collectively through our membership of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition
    • Hosting of two Council meetings for our members and eight Executive Committee meetings in 2019

2020 Highlights / Main Achievements (as of 01 Dec 2020)

Campaigners from Skibbereen in West Cork including the crew from Cycle Sense, a member group of
  • Development of a new 5 year strategy for supported by professional input and facilitation by Sandra Velthuis from Whitebarn Consulting. Strategy to be adopted on 12 Dec 2020. 
    • Hosting of two Council meetings for our members (plus an additional two special Council meetings regarding our new strategic plan) and eight Executive Committee meetings in 2020.