Cyclist.ie is incredibly excited to have been contacted by REVERB, an environmental organization based in the US that works on music tours like The Lumineers, Billie Eilish, The 1975, and many more.
REVERB is partnering with the band Paramore on their tour of Ireland and the UK. The band is a supporter of environmental and social causes, and it is hosting a space in its Action Village that is reserved for local organizations to engage with fans about their work and mission. The Action Village will be inside the venue concourse and will be active from the time doors open until Paramore takes the stage.
Cyclist.ie has been invited to host a space at their upcoming fully sold out show on Thursday, April 13 in the 3Arena (the old Point Depot!) and we will be receiving two passes for tabling staff to watch Paramore perform.
We are offering one or else two lucky members of Cyclist.ie an opportunity to attend the show and to help us out at our space at the venue to talk to fans about the amazing work we do to make everyday cycling safe and easy and normal! We will have our Cyclist.ie / Dublin Cycling Campaign banners and flyers and display stands with us on the day (and possibly also our festival cargo bike if we can get it into the venue!).
We would like to offer the ticket(s) to the biggest fan(s) of Paramore out there who are also committed cycling activists and who would love the opportunity to chat to many other Paramore fans at the gig!!
Cyclist.ie and its member groups were well represented at the “Accelerating Active Travel for 2030” Transport Forum held on Wed 22 March 2023 in the elegant Regent House in Trinity College Dublin. Our attendees included Mairéad Forsythe, Dr. Mike McKillen, Colm Ryder, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama (National Cycling Coordinator with An Taisce & Cyclist.ie), Conor Cahill, Una Morrison, Eric Conroy and David Timoney.
The overarching message from the event was that we are now, finally, beginning to make good progress in the development of our active travel infrastructure in Dublin City and other built-up areas, but we also need to ‘up our game’ over the coming years if we are to humanise our cities and decarbonise our transport systems.
Joe Seymour from the National Transport Authority (NTA) argued that the 2022 Active Travel budget of €290M is being spent on increasingly better quality schemes. We are seeing the results with, for example, BusConnects schemes, which include significant cycling provision, the Fairview Public Realm / Bus Priority / Active Travel scheme, the Dodder Greenway Route, the 11km long D24 cycle route in Dublin, the Salmon Weir Bridge in Galway and the Bilberry to Rice Bridge link in Waterford. Challenges do remain however in dealing effectively with the many protests against change, and with the re-allocation of public road space.
Claire French, Senior Executive Engineer in Dublin City Council, provided an historical perspective on the subject. She emphasised how, initially, some of the public were apprehensive about schemes such as the pedestrianisation of Grafton Street (1970s – 80s), the banning of left-turn motor vehicles at the northern end of Dawson Street (early 2000s), the creation of the College Green Bus Gate (around 2010) and, most recently, the removal of motor vehicles from most of Capel Street. In all cases, these traffic management interventions / public realm schemes have improved public life and business activity in the city.
Further positive examples, which Dublin Cycling Campaign has strongly advocated for over the years, include the creation of the (still temporary and unfinished) Liffey Cycle Route measures, the contra-flow cycle facilities on Nassau Street, Parnell Square (East) and on Werburgh Street, and the filtered permeability schemes in Grangegorman and on Pigeon House Road. Claire acknowledged the need for the City Council to continue to improve in its processes of public consultation.
Dr. Robert Egan, Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, drew on the work of the late Prof. John Urry in his presentation – and, in particular, on his thinking around the creation of the ‘system of automobility’ and the discourses which have naturalised car-centric planning over the decades. As we seek to rapidly decarbonise our transport systems and revitalise and rehumanise our built up areas, we now need to marginalise automobility and centralise ‘velo-mobility’. Shaping the discourses through the media and in other ways is central to this mission. Robert’s comment that we are “currently cycling within a driving system” but need to change to “driving within a cycling (and public transport) system” struck a chord with the audience.
Martina Mullin, Operational Lead in Healthy Trinity, gave a terrific overview of the work that Trinity College has focused on so as to make bicycle journeys safe on and off-campus. Much of the latter efforts have focused on engagements with Dublin City Council and the NTA, so that there are safe routes for Trinity students and staff coming in from the suburbs and into the city centre. Much credit is due to Martina and her group on this work. TCD is concentrating on the routes to and from the main campus to its developing estate towards Ringsend, the Health Sciences at St. James’ Hospital and residences at Trinity Hall (Dartry). Both Dublin City Council and the NTA are aware of this requirement for safe segregated routes.
Finally, Willem Frederik Metzelaar from the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Urban Mobility, provided the European context, reminding us that 23% of the EU’s transport emissions come from the transport sector. Clearly, we need a new mobility paradigm in which active travel is front and centre. EIT are funding EU start-up businesses and promoting active travel through a variety of programs.
A lively Q&A session followed. One of the main points stressed by audience members was that there needs to much greater engagement from An Garda Síochána on the matter of traffic law enforcement – in particular in relation to illegal car parking on the cycle tracks which have been created specifically to make cycling safe and easier for those new to cycling (and those considering cycling) in the city.
Cyclist.ie and Dublin Cycling Campaign send its congratulations to Trinity College Dublin on running the event and we look forward to further engagements on the topics in the near future.
Formal info on event: https://www.tcd.ie/news_events/events/event/transport-forum–accelerating-active-travel-for-2030.php
Míle bhuíochas do Siobhán Swift ón bhFeachas Rothaíochta Shligigh don alt seo a scríbh sí i rith Seachtain na Gaeilge! A version in English of Joan’s article can be read further below. A big thanks for the piece Joan. Maithiú!
Bhain Feachtas Rothaíochta Shligigh an-taitneamh as ár dturas dátheangach go Coill an Eanaigh (Hazelwood) le déanaí. Imeachta do Sheachtain na Gaeilge le Energia ab ea an turas agus táimíd fíorbhuíoch do Chonradh na Gaeilge as an maoiniú. Táimíd buíoch freisin do Beatrice Mac Donald, Cumann Oidhreachta Hazelwood, as eolas faoi stair Dimeine Hazelwood a chur ar fáil agus do Leabharlann Naisiúnta na hÉireann as cead a thabhairt dúinn grianghrafanna ón Lawrence Collection a úsáid i mbileog eolais.
Ghlach idir óg is aosta páirt sa turas. Bhí an rannpháirtí is óige ceithre mhí d’aois agus an duine is sine……bhuel, is binn béal ina thost! Bhí deis againn srachfhéachaint a chaitheamh ar Theach Hazelwood, teach a dhear an t-ailtire mór le rá Richard Cassells do Owen Wynne i 1731. Drioglann atá san áit seo anois agus tá an teach á athchoiriú. Thógamar sos ag suíomh fothrach an mhuilinn gaoithe a bhíodh ag soláthar uisce do Teach Hazelwood fadó agus bhí radharc álainn ar abhann na Garbhóige agus ar Ben Bulben.
Ar aghaidh linn ansin go dtí an chéad stop eile ag Half Moon Bay, áit a bhfuil Loch Gile álainn leagtha amach romhat. Tá stop phointe don Yeats Trail anseo. Níl furmhór Bealach Yeats indéanta fós ar rothar toisc nach bhfuil na bóithre sábháilte go leor – ach lá éigin b;fhéidir……….. Bhí picnic beag ag na rannpháirtithe óga agus áthas ar na lachain go roinneadar leo é!
Stop amháin eile a bhí fágtha anois ag Bá Eanaigh, áit a mbíonn éin uisce ag soláthar bia. In aice na háite seo bí plandlann crann tráth agus cuireadh na síológa i bhforaoiseacha ar fud an IarTuairscirt.
Bhí sé in am ansin dul siar an bealach a thángamar ach an uair seo chasamar ar dheis ag Droichead Sheáin Uí Fhallúin, agus thugamar aghaidh ar Chaife Ripples in Óstán an Riverside áit a raibh caifé agus sconnaí reidh dúinn. Bhí ionadaithe ó Aonad Loch Gile a Comhairle Chontae Shligigh agus an Teachta Dála Frank Feighan ansin chun fáilte a chur romhainn.
An cheist is minicí a chuireadh orainn ag deireadh an imeachta……..Cathain a bheidh turas eile á eagrú agaibh. “Watch this space” mar a deirtear i mBearla!
On Saturday the 4th of March, for Seachtain na Gaeilge, Sligo Cycling Campaign organised a very successful cycle outing to Hazelwood. The wood is named for Hazelwood House, a Palladian Mansion designed for Owen Wynne by Richard Cassells in 1731. The Irish name is not a translation of Hazelwood, but is rather Coill an Eanaigh, from the word Eanach – a marsh, remembered in the name Annagh Bay on Lough Gill.
Coillte are doing extensive restoration work to rid the wood of invasive species and restore its natural habitat. One restored section is not accessible by bicycle as it is an area of alluvial woodland, which again is a reminder of the original “eanach” or marsh. This area is open for walking.
Hazelwood is a popular recreation area with paths along woodland lake and river and stunning views of the surrounding hills. Point 7 of the newly developed Yeats Trail is located at Half Moon Bay, prompted no doubt by the opening lines of the poem, The Song of Wandering Aengus “I went out to the hazel wood……….” Coillte have recently opened a new section of wood which, once you have reached the wood, allows for an enjoyable circular cycle away from traffic.
One of the newest member groups of Cyclist.ie is Portarlington Cycling Campaign based in the midlands town on the Laois – Offaly border. We were delighted to do a little interview with the group’s coordinator, John Holland, to find out about what the group’s priorities are. The article below includes some photos taken at events organised by the group in 2022 – monthly Critical Mass cycle events and a ‘Tour De Port’ cycle as part of the French festival in the ‘Solas’ Eco Garden Centre in July last year.
Can you tell us a bit about Portarlington Cycling Campaign – why / how / when did it come into being? The Portarlington Cycling Campaign was born out of the Portarlington Business Association (PBA) Sustainability group which has been advocating for improved active travel and sustainable transport in Portarlington since the group was formed in 2020. The PBA Sustainability Group has made several submissions to Laois and Offaly County Councils (a portion of Portarlington being in Offaly) regarding improved walking and cycling infrastructure as well as traffic calming measures which we would like to see in the town. We have also made strong connections with both councils (with quarterly meetings between all parties) to get updates on sustainable transport plans and to provide feedback and guidance on how these plans can be improved for the safety of vulnerable road users and with the aim of maximizing active travel within the town. The group has also run events such as the Portarlington Critical Mass cycling event, which commenced on a monthly basis in 2022. This has been a great success at getting cyclists of all ages to come out for a safe, gentle cycle around the town centre, and in advocating for safe cycling for all ages and abilities.
We decided as a group in 2022 to formalize the work we’ve been doing on active travel by setting up with Portarlington Cycling Campaign. This has enabled us to more directly promote cycling as a means of replacing motor vehicle use and to avail of the expertise of Cyclist.ie and other campaign groups around the country.
What are the big issues, as you see them, in Portarlington (and in neighbouring towns perhaps) by way of creating a cycle friendly culture / making everyday cycling safe and normal? Portarlington is very much like other similar sized towns throughout Ireland – it is choked with cars! However, a key advantage within Portarlington is that it is relatively flat, there is the beginnings of a cycle network (with plans by Laois County Council to implement a much more extensive network), most roads are wide enough to support safe cycling, and a link road around the town centre provides an opportunity for a traffic calmed or (ideally) a pedestrianised Main Street. We see every day the impact that car culture has on the way people interact (or not) with the town. Most children are dropped to and from school despite the primary schools being centrally placed and within walking/cycling distance of the majority of residents of the town. There is widespread illegal parking on footpaths and cycle lanes.
Additionally, there is also a large volume of HGVs travelling through the town making it unsafe for most people to consider cycling as a means of getting around. We want our children to be able to enjoy their town without being confined to a tiny cordon of safe, car-free areas such as the playground or the GAA pitch. We want to live in a safe and vibrant town, with strong social cohesion, a people-friendly central core and a safe, segregated cycle network which provides real alternatives to the motor vehicle.
Is there any particular type of support that your group would appreciate from Cyclist.ie and from our advocates countrywide? The group are regularly liaising with Laois and Offaly county councils on plans for a cycle network in the town. These plans are currently with the NTA (National Transport Authority) for approval. We would appreciate the support of Cyclist.ie in advising on these plans – e.g. areas where they could be improved and how best to engage with the local community on public consultations.
Have you or other members of your group cycled in or visited other countries which have given you inspiration for Portarlington? Members of our group have witnessed first-hand what impact properly planned, safe, segregated cycling can have on the number and diversity of cyclists that will use such infrastructure. We have seen this in places such as The Netherlands, France and Belgium, and this has fed our determination to advocate for similar high quality infrastructure here. If it can be done there, it can be done here!
We totally agree John! Anything else you want to add? We see walking and cycling advocacy as a means of moving the dial significantly towards a sustainable town. More people getting around on their own steam means fewer cars on the roads, and that in turn means a safer environment for everyone, stronger social networks as people reconnect on safer streets, healthier outcomes and more independence for our children, and a healthy and vibrant core of businesses in our town centre. We have seen evidence of this throughout Europe so we know the benefits of more active travel…we just need to embrace the change that is necessary for our and for our children’s sake.
Cyclist.ie wishes Portarlington Cycling Campaign the very best with its campaigning and we look forward to meeting up with the local campaigners in person in 2023!
Cyclist.ie is delighted to hear of the ambitious news on cycling (as below) from Brussels. Cyclist.ie is the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation and an active player on the European stage through the ECF.
Today, at the Cycling Industries Europe Summit, European Commission Executive-Vice President Frans Timmermans, announced that the EU institutions will complete an ambitious cycling plan this year, including commitments to increase funding for infrastructure and industrial growth. This follows a resolution passed by the European Parliament in February which called on the Commission and Member States to take actions to double cycling in the EU.
In front of a packed house of industry leaders in Brussels, Timmermans was joined by MEP Karima Delli and Belgian Transport Minister Georges Gilkinet representing the Parliament and Member States. Both confirmed that the proposed Cycling Declaration will be inter-institutional, representing the EU’s highest level of political commitment for cycling.
Saying that Europe must have a role in supporting cycling, Timmermans announced the declaration saying: “I am announcing an initiative to boost the bike in Europe. The Commission will propose a European Cycling Declaration and invite the Parliament and Council to join and make this an interinstitutional agreement. We will include principles for supporting cycling, along with access to tools and funds. This will ensure our citizens will not only have the right to cycle on paper, but access to support. European instruments must be used to double cycling in Europe!”
Timmermans also welcomed the adoption of the recent European Parliament resolution on developing a European Cycling Strategy, calling it a “huge democratic mandate for cycling”, making his job in the European Commission easier. With momentum for more European support for cycling building, he said that now is the right time for a Declaration, saying that this “is the way”.
Tony Grimaldi, President of CIE responded positively to the announcements, thanking Timmermans, Delli and Gilkinet for their leadership on the Declaration, especially Karima Delli for the strong collaboration with the European cycling associations that created ambitious targets for the cycling plan, doubling the level of cycling in Europe and creating one million new, green cycling jobs.
Speaking to the attendees, Grimaldi said: “Today we are proud that the three EU institutions are coming together at the CIE Summit to announce their latest plans for an EU Cycling Declaration. The CIE Summit has become an essential milestone for all our cycling stakeholders to come together and share what we can do for Europe.”
He continued: “However, today is not the day to say “job done”, today is when we take the next steps. The Commission must now produce a final EU Cycling Declaration that takes concrete actions to deliver these goals, and we in the cycling industry will show again that we are the greenest, smartest, most reliable partners in the European Mobility Ecosystem.”
Jill Warren, CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation said: “ECF welcomes today’s announcement that the Commission will act on the Parliament’s resolution and elevate cycling to a strategic priority. As part of this, more funding for high quality, safe cycling infrastructure will be key to doubling cycling levels in Europe.”
In the detailed announcement for the EU Cycling Declaration, Frans Timmermans said that the Commission will produce a vision for cycling by the summer, supported by detailed proposals on the actions to be taken to deliver the plans. This must include funding for infrastructure, a review of regulations and support for cycling industries in the EU’s industrial strategies. It is expected that the Parliament and European Council of Member States will complete their review of the plan by the end of 2023.
For more information, see https://www.ecf.com/
Cyclist.ie – the national Cycling Promotion organisation