Inexplicable Bikes-Not-On-Ferries Policy Highlighted

Elaine Baker from the Cycling Cloughjordan group in County Tipperary is taking a stand about the issue of Irish Ferries not allowing push bikes on the Pembroke to Rosslare ferry, despite allowing motorbikes and motorized vehicles on board. Cycling Cloughjordan is part of the Irish Cycling Campaign organisation. 

In her series of video blog posts, filmed on Sat 17 to Sun 18 February 2024, she tracks her experience of trying to bring her folding bicycle on board the service from Pembroke having been visiting friends in South Wales, with a view to sailing into Rosslare and then travelling on back home to County Tipperary. 

In this first video, filmed en route by bus to Pembroke, she explains her rationale for wanting to take the direct ferry to Rosslare – and thus avoiding the much more carbon intensive mode of flying. 

In the next video, she reports on the refusal of the company to let her on board with her bicycle – despite there being no good reason for the rule itself.

In the third third video here, filmed at 2.30am on a wet morning, she elaborates on the absence of any logic in allowing motorbikes on board the ferry but not allowing bikes without motors on board. Despite spending several hours at the ferry port talking to many different staff members, she was offered no sensible reason for why push bikes were not allowed on the ferry. 

And in this forth video, filmed with the early morning birds audible in the background and after she was asked by staff to leave the dark and fairly desolate area, she observes the ferry she was supposed to be on leaving the ferry port with motorbikes on board. 

At the time of posting this article here, Elaine was en route to Holyhead in North Wales – which is quite a circuitous route by train from Pembroke. 

Two updates further on Elaine’s journey – video #5 here and video #6 here, both from Holyhead port at around 5.30pm and 6pm respectively. In these videos (screen shot below), Elaine highlights that one of the two sailings from Holyhead around 8pm / 8.30pm would be taking foot passengers and cyclists, whereas the other one wouldn’t be.

At the time of updating this article (8.30pm on Sunday night), Elaine should have left Holyhead and be en route to Dublin Port…… after a very long and circuitous journey. 

Elaine  and Irish Cycling Campaign would like to make it a condition of the licences issued to ferry companies that any ferry which carries passengers who travel with a car or motorcycle should also be mandated to carry people on bikes and foot passengers. They can put limits on the total number of passengers of course and the total weight / size of vehicles, but they should not be allowed to carry larger vehicles but not the smaller ones.

Irish Cycling Campaign is fully behind Elaine’s activism on this issue. If we want to encourage less carbon intensive travel and therefore less flying, it should be safe, easy and permissible to take bikes on ferries and to continue journeys by bike and rail, or bike and bus.

We will add further updates to this story in due course. 

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7 thoughts on “Inexplicable Bikes-Not-On-Ferries Policy Highlighted”

  1. Sounds like a crazy policy by Irish Ferries. How can we support Elaine’s campaign. Is there a Petition?

  2. It wasn’t Fishguard it was Pembroke. The Fishguard – Rosslare Stena ferry takes bikes and foot passengers but unfortunately was not running at the time.

  3. Interesting thread and point Peter, good to know Stena do rail and sail from Rosslare (when they are sailing from there in the first place, which they are not doing this month), whereas Irish Ferries don’t do rail and sail from Rosslare (for yet more nonsensical reasons in their replies to your thread). On the other hand, Irish Ferries offer the booking of Holyhead rail and sail (for some of their ferries not all) via their website, but Stena require you to phone up for rail and sail bookings (which is always more tricky as you have to work out timings etc in real time on the phone rather than being able to explore options online). This is actually the reason I was not aware that there was a Stena ferry sailing from Holyhead at 8pm during my ordeals until I turned up at Holyhead – because I had looked up options online rather than making phone calls, which had limited me to the Irish Ferries 2.40am option which I booked (and ended up not using).

  4. That’s true, having to phone is frustrating.

    Worth noting that you can book using Trainline (admittedly with a small fee – usually a couple of euro). You can also book using the Transport for Wales website, without the fee, although I find it less straightforward to use.

    The process below works for both websites.

    For Stena services via Rosslare, select “Rosslare Europort” as your destination.

    For Stena services via Dublin, select “Dublin Port – Stena” as your destination.

    For Irish Ferries services via Dublin, select “Dublin Ferryport” as your destination.

    Granted, they might well have been booked out if you were trying to book on the day of travel (although I can book Cardiff-Dublin sail and Rail now on the TfW website for the morning… six hours from now!).

    Farcical that Irish Ferries wouldn’t use a bit of common sense with regard to your journey. South East on Track have contacted Irish Ferries about it in the past, as well as local politicians, the Minister for Transport, and Iarnród Éireann, all to no avail.

    We shared your petition this evening but if we can do anything else to assist at all, just let us know.

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