Active Travel and Energy Security strongly endorses the statement issued earlier this week by Henk Swarttouw, President of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and highlighting the links between our patterns of mobility and our energy security needs and vulnerabilities. The ECF statement can be read here. Note that is the member for Ireland of the ECF.

The statement is a timely reminder of how active travel – walking and cycling for shorter trips, rather than motoring – contributes to our reduced dependence on Russian oil and gas. In other words, active travel goes well beyond considerations of improved public health, more liveable neighbourhoods, and reduced carbon emissions. 

Dr. Hannah Daly and her colleagues stressed in their Irish Times article of 8th March 2022 that Ireland must play its part in ending Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels, and they argue that we need “a large scale communications campaign from Government to frame our energy transition explicitly in terms of the need to cut Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuel”. strongly supports this point.

In regard to the related topic of transport emissions, we know from the most recent National Transport Authority Household Survey published in December 2018 that 50% of all of the trips we take in Ireland are under 5km – a distance very much cycle-able for much of our population (with shorter trips easily walkable). Furthermore, recently published energy and transport modelling research by O’Riordan et al (2021) maintains that significant energy and emissions savings can be achieved from modal shift in Ireland  –

the active mode scenarios, which focus on increased walking and cycling achieve a 0.2 – 1 MTCO2 reduction in annual passenger transport emissions in 2030 [while the] range of public transport scenarios, inspired by targets set out by the Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan achieve a between 0.001 – 0.3 MTCO2 reduction in annual passenger transport emissions in 2030.

We note here that in 2018 Ireland’s transport emissions amounted to 12.2MT and that by 2030 the required emissions based on the Climate Action Plan are 6-7MT as per the 2021 Climate Action Plan (page 144), so the modelled emissions reductions from a shift to active travel are very significant. 

As a further practical and immediate measure to support the Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland, supports the collection and distribution of bicycles to refugees arriving in Ireland and will be liaising with its member groups in promoting initiatives in this regard. Access to a bike may allow some of those traumatised by war to avail of opportunities for social, leisure and economic activities, and hence help contribute to their recovery. Member Group Love 30 Presents to Oireachtas Committee

On Tuesday 1st March 2022,’s Love 30 group, which campaigns for 30kph speed limits in urban areas and safer speed limits generally, presented to the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications.

This was an important step in the process of reducing urban speed limits to a safer level for all vulnerable road users, and making our cities and towns safer. A full preparatory statement was outlined and presented, and can be viewed as an attachment on the Love30 website here.  

Love 30 was represented by Muireann O’Dea and Joan Swift (pictured above), while Dr. Lorraine D’Arcy from TU Dublin also presented – in addition to the representatives from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) – as can be seen in the recording of the session.

Kieran O’Donnell TD (Fine Gael) chaired the session in a very engaged manner, while Steven Matthews (Green Party) and Ruairí Ó Murchú TD (Sinn Féin) also made strong contributions. Gerry Horkan TD (Fianna Fáil) also attended briefly.

Love 30 was also delighted to have the further support and strong contributions from TD Neasa Hourigan TD (GP), Senator Pauline O’Reilly (GP) and Senator Marie Sherlock (Labour).

The RSA CEO Sam Waide (pictured below) urged the introduction of default 30kph urban speed limits both to increase safety, but also to bring us in line with other European countries. He emphasised that Ireland is lagging behind, and as a result deaths and serious injuries continue. The international evidence clearly supports the introduction of the lower speed limits.

Dr. Lorraine D’Arcy (pictured below) emphasised the loss of human interaction in our urban roads and streets due to the preponderance of the private car, and also the need for a cross-sectoral multi-stakeholder approach to the assessment of the benefits of reduced speeds and reduced vehicle use.

Love 30 formally presented their statement, and overall the Committee accepted the rationale and evidence behind the call.  Love 30 issued a Press Release beforehand, which prompted some media coverage of the issue – including the Irish Times’ piece Streets devoid of human interactions due to dominance of vehicles committee told on 2nd March.

There was strong support from Committee members for a default 30 km/h speed limit in built-up areas, with exceptions for some roads where justified with evidence, and they would like to see it implemented as quickly as possible. 

Importantly, following the presentations and discussion it was agreed that the Oireachtas Committee will write to the Department of Transport asking for a progress report on the Working Group on Speed Limits as set up under the Road Safety Strategy. This Working Group has already met twice this year. The Committee will seek its Terms of Reference, and will recommend that Love 30 is included in the Working Group. The Committee would then look for the follow-up actions that are needed.

This has been a very positive result from this presentation, and underpins the great work that Love 30 have been doing over the past years.

If you want to get involved in this vital area of road safety and improvement in our cities you can contact Love30 at [email protected] or check out the website at

If you want to support the wider work of or want to know more about the work of, check us out at or email us at [email protected].

Ambitious Targets Set for Cycling in Europe! is the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), and we are a regularly active participant in shaping policy and plans for the future of cycling in Europe through our parent advocacy body, the ECF.

Just recently the ECF, and the cycling industry grouping, Cycling Industry Europe (CIE), agreed a new cooperation agreement that set clear targets for the growth of cycling in Europe. The role of both ECF and CIE is critical in advocating for cycling at a European level, and major changes in the policy within the EU in relation to transport and ancillary areas have occurred as a result.

Some of the agreed targets for the next decade, as agreed between ECF and CIE, are outlined here:

  • Overall cycling levels to increase by 50%
  • 50 million European adults who prior to 2019 “rarely or never” cycled to take up cycling
  • 100,000km of new cycling infrastructure to be built in Europe
  • 15 new national cycling strategies to be adopted in the UNECE/WHO Europe region
  • An additional €15 billion for EU-funded cycling infrastructure projects, on top of national spending
  • Fiscal and financial incentives for cycle purchase and use to total €500 million per year in tax breaks, leasing support and new bike-sharing schemes
  • Bicycle and e-bike sales in Europe to grow to 30 million annually

These are undoubtedly ambitious but also achievable targets. We in Ireland must be similarly ambitious, by working at national and local levels, in pushing for better policies and radically improved and connected infrastructure. We need to encourage the “rarely” or “never cycle” cohorts to adopt changes in their lifestyles for their own benefit and for the benefit of the planet.

And as a final teaser; would you be able to describe in 5 words what cycling means to you? Try it out, and check out what Leury Kerpen of Thun Cycles in Germany, a family firm making bike parts thinks. Here are his 5 words for cycling

Do you agree? Let us know via [email protected] what your 5 words might be, and feel free to pass on the challenge to friends and family!