Hospitals Active Travel Award

Healthcare and cycling groups call for more focus from hospitals on active travel.

The Sustainability Committee of the College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland, and Irish Doctors for the Environment have come together to recognise the best Irish public hospital for their commitment to active travel.

A complex transport network is needed to move goods, staff and patients in healthcare. There is a significant carbon footprint associated with this. Personal travel accounts for approximately 10% of the carbon footprint in some healthcare settings (1).  By encouraging active transport, we are not only reducing emissions but also improving the cardiorespiratory health of the communities in which we work.

Air pollution contributes to 1500 premature deaths in Ireland every year and road traffic is a major contributor to these pollutants (3,4). Considering the HSE employs approximately 100,000 people (2), enabling staff to cycle, walk or use public transport to reach these facilities could potentially remove thousands of cars from the roads.

The inaugural winner of the award is St James’s Hospital in Dublin for their excellent commitment to active travel promotion at their Dublin campus.

Pictured are Aine Varley from Irish Doctors for the Environment, Mairéad Forsythe from, Sophia Angelov from College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland and Mary Sinnott from presenting the winner of the Hospitals Active Travel Award to Barry McKenna, Sustainability Manager at St James’s Hospital for the hospitals excellent commitment to active travel promotion at their Dublin campus. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

Barry McKenna, Sustainability Manager at St James’s Hospital says “As a leading healthcare institution we recognise the importance and benefits of active travel.  To support our cyclists and encourage others to take up cycling we’ve trebled bike parking in the hospital, provided showers, locker and drying room facilities, offered a free monthly “Cycleclinic” and bike maintenance workshops, promoted the Bike to Work Scheme, provided a fleet of ebikes for staff, and hosted an annual charity cycle. We aspire to be a leading cycle friendly campus by continuing to actively promote and facilitate cycling as a means of commuting.”     

Mary Sinnott of adds “In the hospital environment, those who participate in active travel are best equipped to encourage active lives which can significantly improve physical and mental health. Recognizing staff at St James’s hospital with the Active Transport award shows how hospitals can promote healthy lifestyles amongst their workers and visitors.”

Dr Sophia Angelov of the College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland, who carried out the initial hospital transport study, says “Hospitals should be the centre of sustainability – starting by encouraging and facilitating staff to travel to work actively. What we aim to award is a clear commitment by a hospital to improve active transport facilities at, within, and enroute to the site (by lobbying road authorities). We initially collected quantitative data to inform us how well networked our hospitals are. Then we sought to see how hospitals encourage staff to utilise healthier forms of travel (bicycle user groups, cycling skills training etc). Future work on this topic aims to expand the research and collect data on the facilities available for patients, visitors, and students to reach hospitals in a healthy way.”

Dr Colm Byrne from Irish Doctors for the Environment says “The climate crisis is a health crisis and health care workers need to show leadership in tackling it. Active travel or taking public transport is an important step in climate action. And there are added benefits; walking and cycling are great for our health, with some studies demonstrating a 40% reduction in mortality amongst cycling commuters. Therefore, we are delighted to announce this award which aims to highlight excellence in sustainable transport at Irish Hospitals.”

Prof Donal O’Shea, consultant endocrinologist specialising in obesity and honorary president of says “It is great to see Irish hospitals showing leadership in promoting active transport. We know it is the activity that you build into your day to day living that is the most important for your overall health. The health sector needs to be blazing the trail in demonstrating that healthy modes of transport are achievable, enjoyable and sustainable.” 


Picture Conor McCabe Photography
Picture Conor McCabe Photography
PIcture Conor McCabe Photography
Picture Conor McCabe Photography

Business of Cycling Networking Event was delighted to attend the Business of Cycling Learning and Networking event held in the Custom House on Friday 23rd September 2022. 

The event was hosted by Cycling Solutions Ireland and it coincided with the Cycling Friendly Employer (CFE) accreditation being awarded to the Custom House. 

The keynote speaker on the day was Jill Warren, CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation. Also presenting was Graham Doyle, Secretary General of the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage, Ger Corbett, Chief Executive Officer at Sandyford Business District. Sandyford Business District, and representatives from other companies which have recently participated in the CFE process. wishes to thank Michael O’Boyle and his colleagues from Cycling Solutions Ireland for the invitation. 

In the image at the top are (L to R):
Anne Bedos (Rothar), Damien Ó Tuama (National Cycling Coordinator with and An Taisce), Vinny Meyler (Secretary, Dublin Cycling Campaign), Jill Warren (CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation), Matt McKerrow (CEO, Cycling Ireland), Conor Cahill (Dublin Cycling Campaign), Ellen Cullen (Chairperson of Dublin Cycling Campaign) and Deirdre Kelly (Cycling and Walking Officer of Dublin City Council). 

Efficiency of Space for Different Transport Modes

Kudos to Dublin City Council for organising its ‘Efficiency of Space’ photoshoot early last Sunday morning, 11 September 2022, for which several members of and Dublin Cycling Campaign volunteered. 

The images produced are a powerful reminder of how space-efficient bicycles and buses are in a city centre environment. 

The City Council also produced this video as part of the event:

The original image from 1979, which inspired the ones produced this week, was produced by Fietsersbond – The Dutch Cyclists’ Union. You can see that immediately below. Fietsersbond are’s counterpart in The Netherlands and a founding member of the European Cyclists’ Federation (back in 1983). 

It’s worth noting the the original Dutch image was produced around the time of the energy crises – and we are back into that political space again now. 

The Dutch image inspired other images such as this one from Munster in Germany:

And this one from Camberra in Australia: would urge other Irish (city based) local authorities to create equivalent images………. and, of course, more liveable city and town centres.