A Greenway is Born… or Rejuvenated!

Earlier today, 24th March 2021, we saw the formal launch of Ireland’s longest greenway, along the Royal Canal running all of 130km from Maynooth in Co Kildare to the Shannon at Cloondara in County Longford. 

The launch is a momentous occasion and a major step forward in Ireland’s development of greenways and cycle routes to link up towns and villages via active travel routes. Below is the link to the video of the launch featuring, amongst others, Minister Eamon Ryan and Minister of State Malcolm Noonan.

Cyclist.ie warmly welcomes this development. We have engaged with Waterways Ireland and with the local authorities along this route as it has been developed so as to help ensure that the standards for cycling and walking are met as much as possible. 

This 130km section of the Royal Canal greenway crosses four counties – Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford – and also passes through significant towns such as Kilcock, Enfield and Mullingar. It also includes a completed link section into Longford Town, as can be seen from the pictorial map below.

Significantly, it will also link into the previously completed 40km long Old Rail Trail from Mullingar to Athlone, also part of the EuroVelo #2 cross-continental cycle route, in case you get the itch to travel that bit further when restrictions allow! This off-road greenway route will eventually link to both Dublin and Galway, and Cyclist.ie is working with the multiple agencies, Local Authorities and consultants to help to make the full route a reality.

As might be expected, this canal greenway is relatively flat and thus a gentle cycle or walk along its stretches. And there is some great scenery, wildlife and history to be explored and enjoyed along the route.

We cannot wait to explore it in full, once restrictions are lifted – and one of our active members, David Butterly, is hoping to get his bike hire business on the Royal Canal up and running once again. Check him out at Royal Canal Bike Hire in Maynooth if you get the chance to visit the greenway – and encourage your friends to enjoy this wonderful resource!

Cyclist.ie welcomes Ministers’ Announcement on Safe Routes to School

Cyclist.ie very much welcomes the Safe Routes to School Programme announced jointly today by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for Education Norma Foley TD and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton TD. See here for the Departmental Press Release on it

Safe Routes to School were one of Cyclist.ie’s active travel asks for General Election 2020 (see image below) and we were pleased to see it included in the Programme for Government. 

It is also priority number four of the eight priorities outlined in Cyclist.ie’s Rural Cycling Collective’s document Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland: “Prioritise safe cycle routes to schools and car free zones at school gates”.

The statement by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan that “Schoolchildren need more than hi- vis vests to get to schools safely. They need proper infrastructure to make walking cycling and scooting a practical choice for families” is most welcome. Also welcome is the recognition by Minister for Education Norma Foley that “Being active is a key component of wellbeing”. 

However, while expenditure of €15 million this year seems like a good start to a Safe Routes to School scheme, the aim of providing routes to over 100 schools in 2021 falls well short of what is required. There are almost 4,000 first and second level schools in Ireland, so allowing for a roll-out of 100 safe routes annually it will take 40 years to fulfil Minister of State Naughton’s hope that over time “every student in every village, town and city, can safely travel to and from school be it by foot/scooter or bike”.

In reality we know that many schools are situated adjacent to one other and that therefore the same route will often serve more than one school. However, that still leaves a considerable time-lag before all schools can be provided with safe routes. In order to accelerate the process, Cyclist.ie suggests that Healthy Ireland and Climate Action Funding should also be made available for the Safe Routes to School programme. Active Travel is certainly a transport issue but it is also a health and a climate issue.  

For the implementation of routes, consultation with parents and with children themselves will be important to ensure that their needs are met – for example in regard to suitable cycle / scooter parking provision at each school and disability requirements. 

Cyclist.ie strongly recommends the use of quiet streets as one aspect of the Safer Routes to School approach, and explaining to both residents and parents that this provision is for school-children to cycle safely to/from school, and not a race track for commuter cyclists.

Furthermore, attractive and clearly branded materials, such as the pencil barriers and coloured stickers on roads should be designed for national use, so that the messages are clear to all. The emphasis needs to be on a shift away from helmet wearing and hi-vis, and instead focus on safe and clearly marked cycling / walking infrastructure – and it needs to be done in conjunction with standard 30 km/hr speed limits around all schools. 

Phoenix Park Mobility Options – Submission

Cyclist.ie made a submission last week (Fri 12 March 2021) to the Office of Public Works in regard to the proposals outlined in the Phoenix Park Transport and Mobility Options Study.

The Phoenix Park has both major national and international standing, and its appropriate management and development is of great importance to the nation. Overall we give a broad welcome to this study, and its recommendations, and its recognition of the latent demand, and the inescapable arguments for a more sustainable approach to the management of this National Historic Park. The breadth and scope of the report is impressive and much of the detail on the Park and surrounding areas, and the transport landscape contained therein, will be valuable in planning for the future.

Cyclist.ie welcomes the proposed developments outlined in the study, and in particular the concentration and development of sustainable modes of travel, and the proposed rapid implementation of many of the proposals.

However we have raised a number of issues in our above submission requiring attention:

  • The level of confusion created by the online posted contradictory maps as to the detail of what is exactly proposed, particularly in relation to Access and Roads. These need to be clarified in the interests of accurate public information. We have recommended the use of a consistent and accurate base map with all road and areas correctly labelled for any future reference.
  • The non-inclusion of the Farmleigh Estate, as part of this study, is an omission which is difficult to understand and needs to be addressed. 
  • The omission of two critical external sustainable links to Ashtown Train Station and the Royal Canal, and to the National War Memorial Park across the Liffey needs to be addressed, as these links will help to create a much larger overall network of walking and cycling route access to and from the Phoenix Park. 
  • We recommend that the one way system at Ashtown Gate and the proposals for Knockmaroon Gate be implemented in Phase 1 and not in Phase 3 as indicated.

  • We make specific recommendations in relation to the proposed upgraded road crossings, to ensure they are also cycle accessible.
  • We recommend that both Bus Route options be developed, to ensure better public transport provision access to the main Phoenix park amenities, for all major neighbouring populations.

  • The explanation of the Option choice decisions made on foot of the Multi Criteria Assessment (MCA) approach is deficient and it remains unclear how Option 3 emerged as the preferred option.

We outlined our broad support of the proposals, and look forward to their development and ongoing liaison between Cyclist.ie, the OPW and the study team in supporting these developments. Additionally, we would welcome further clarification on the issues raised by us.

We are happy at any stage to engage with the study team to discuss any of our above proposals and issues.

You can read Cyclist.ie’s submission here: 
You can read the An Taisce submission here:
You can read the study report here

Bandon Town Public Realm – Submissions

Cyclist.ie and local member group, Bike Friendly Bandon, made submissions last week (8th March 2021) on the Bandon Transportation Public Realm Enhancement Plan (TPREP) Implementation Project – Phase 1. 

Cyclist.ie broadly welcomes the proposed upgrade and enhancement of Bandon Town centre in the interests of making the town more people friendly, more social and community focused, and ultimately a safer and more pleasant place. 

Screen shot from the artist produced animation forming part of the consultation documents

We support the proposed improvements to the public realm and general mobility plans for the town but we recommended that:

  • Scheme extents should be reviewed to encompass areas such as the Glasslyn Road Roundabout, Market Quay, all of Oliver Plunkett St, and the western entrance to the town centre via Market St. 
  • A clear 30kph speed limit needs to be set throughout the town. 
  • Urban single carriageway widths need to be reduced to 3 metres throughout rather than the displayed 3.5 metres. This will provide extra benefits to pedestrians and cyclists, as well as promoting increased commercial opportunities. 
  • There needs to be signalisation and redesign of the Glasslyn Road/Finbarr’s Place junction to improve safety and improve pedestrian and cyclist movements.
  • A ‘statement’ design be implemented on the western approach to the town centre, to clearly define a different area. 
  • A contra flow cycling system be designed and introduced.

Bike Friendly Bandon began in 2020 with the aim of encouraging an increase of day to day cycling around the town, so that everyone of any age can feel safe to cycle around Bandon. Approximately 100 local people have been involved in their activities. We highly recommend you check out the lovely recently produced short video on their activities.  

Bike Friendly Bandon fully supports the TPREP’s move away from encouraging vehicles in the town centre, while prioritising pedestrians, vulnerable users and cyclists by reducing speed limits and changing the layout of the roads. This starts to address the historical bias towards private motorised transport whilst still needing to think radically about how Bandon, as a town, can meet the actions required for the Climate Emergency as declared by The Irish Government and Cork County Council. 

You can read Cyclist.ie’s submission here
You can read Bike Friendly Bandon’s submission here.   
You can read about the Cork Co Co proposals here.  

Galway to Athlone Greenway – Consultation on Corridors

The Galway to Athlone Cycleway will complete the circa 270km car-free corridor between Galway and Dublin for people on bikes, walking and other motor-free modes. 

The project is being led by the local authorities of Galway City Council and Galway, Roscommon and Westmeath County Councils in partnership with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport (DTTAS). 

Cyclist.ie made a submission on the Route Corridor Options Public Consultation last week (the first week of March 2021). As cycling advocates, we warmly welcome the proposed advancement of the project – we are delighted to see it being revived after a long hiatus. 

We recognise that each of the five route corridors under consideration has enormous potential. We stressed in our submission that access to the greenway by local people is as important for this project as the development of the tourism experience. The more different cohorts of users the greenway appeals to, the more successful it will be as an amenity and as an active travel transport corridor. 

You can read our short submission here and we also recommend you check out the Galway to Athlone Greenway website to read more about each of the five route corridor options (as shown in the map below). 

Watch this space for news on how the project advances. 

Image from https://www.galwaytoathlonecycleway.com/ 

Rothar Rides

Cyclist.ie’s Rural Cycling Collective is embarking on a year long ‘Rothar Rides’ promotion, aimed at getting individuals and groups out exploring rural Ireland to discover the best ways to get from A to B. 

Over the year the group hopes to gather suggestions to form a network of cycling routes, map them with GPS on a central database, and use them to provide suggestions to local authorities when developing cycle routes around these areas. In this early stage of the campaign, organisers are asking that bike lovers of all ages and abilities get out on their bikes on the first Sunday of each month to think about potential cycle routes in their areas.

One of the main goals of the campaign is to map the many local secondary, tertiary and boreen roads that can offer more enjoyable and safer options for cyclists to access places of interest (like beaches or historical sites), as well as mapping routes from residential areas into nearby villages and towns.  

Spokesperson Allison Roberts from the Rural Collective stated:
“We can all be a part of the development of cycle routes in Ireland. As cyclists and as cycle advocates, we have the knowledge that is needed to make sure that government efforts to increase access to cycling is a success, we can provide the information they want so that they, in turn, can provide the infrastructure we so desperately need.”

The Rothar Rides kick off this Sunday, 7th of March, so hop on your bike & explore! Find a new route from A to B or start thinking about your dream cycle route in your area. Post pics of your ride using #rotharrides and tag @cyclistie.  And do please remember to stay within your 5km limit until this is changed.

For more information on Cyclist.ie’s Rural Cycling Collective, check out  https://cyclist.ie/ruralvision/.

Stay tuned for more!

Nationwide Highlighting Dublin’s Coastal Mobility Route

Cyclist.ie was delighted to see RTE 1 TV’s Nationwide programme broadcasted on Monday 1st March 2021 which focused on the development of the Coastal Mobility Route in Dublin. 

It brought to a nationwide audience some of the many benefits which accrue when high quality cycling infrastructure is provided, as exemplified by the route running from Blackrock to Dun Laoghaire in South County Dublin. The interviews with Engineer, Robert Burns, and Architect, Bob Hannon, from DLR County Council were particularly illuminating. 

Colm Ryder, Chairperson of Cyclist.ie and a long time member of Dublin Cycling Campaign, also took part in the programme, and he contrasted how the development of cycling was in the 1990s compared to now. All in all, we are making progress on the back of many years of targeted cycle campaigning. 

If you have not seen the programme, we highly recommend you check it out on the RTE Player here (see Mon March 1st programme).

Below you can see a few screenshots from the programme to give you a flavour. 

People of all ages using the Coastal Mobility Route

And cargo bikes!

But there are contrasting cycling conditions on the Rock Road!

Presenter Anne Cassin back on the motor-traffic free section near Bull Island

Colm Ryder providing the context to the development of the new routes

A nice view of the route looking north

And great insights into the daily rhythms of the bike messenger from Cyclone Couriers

And further great footage of families enjoying the route! 

We understand that Nationwide may be planning a programme to explore some of the regional greenways and cycleways, so watch this space for further news in this regard.


Bikmo insurance covers your bikes and kit against theft, accidental damage and more.

Most of us look after our bikes and bits & pieces, but even experienced commuters can land into spots of bad luck while out and about.

Cyclist.ie has teamed up with Bikmo, specialist cycle insurance provider, to offer Cyclist.ie members an exclusive discount, so you can ride more and worry less.

Get a quote 

The cover

Alongside theft and accidental damage, a Bikmo insurance policy offers many more benefits:

Find out more

Why do people choose bike insurance over home insurance?

– Home insurance will often have a bike value limit, which could be as low as €500.
– Many home insurance policies will not cover you for accidental damage away from home.
– Home insurance may exclude events and competitions.
– The excess fee may mean it doesn’t make sense to claim on home insurance.
– Making a claim on home insurance is likely to increase your premium.

Get your exclusive discount by using the code CYCLIST at checkout.

Get a quote 

Kinsale Loves Bikes Joins cyclist.ie Network

On January 18th, 2021, a group of locals in Kinsale came together virtually to form ‘Kinsale Loves Bikes’, a cycle advocacy group, under the umbrella of  Transition Town Kinsale which has a strong track record in voluntary community projects.  Kinsale Loves Bikes aims to promote leisure cycling in the Kinsale area for all ages and abilities.  We are affiliated with Cyclist.ie and the Rural Cycling Collective which is advocating for enhanced rural cycling at a national, as well as local, level.

To date, we have established a social media profile on Facebook and Twitter.  We are engaging with local schools to promote cycle training for interested pupils. A competition between local Transition Year students resulted in the creation of a logo for our group.  We are currently engaging with representatives on Cork County Council in an effort to advance the creation of local Rothar Roads, i.e. cycle priority routes on existing minor roads where cyclists would be afforded added protection in the form of reduced speed limits and cycling signage.

We look forward to the coming months when we hope to get the opportunity to meet up physically to facilitate and promote community and family-friendly cycling in Kinsale.

You can contact Kinsale Loves Bikes via:

Email – [email protected]
Twitter – @KinsaleBikes
Facebook – /kinsalelovesbikes