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Public Consultation on Active Travel Projects – Webinar on 26 May 2021

There is suddenly lots of money around for active travel projects and even for local authorities to recruit more expertise in this area. However, the standards of ‘public consultation’ vary widely across local authorities, and participatory design/co-design, widely used in other jurisdictions, is lacking here. This often means that money is squandered on unsuitable projects, or worse, that projects are cancelled or dropped because of public objections.

The focus of this webinar is to:

  • Consider what is effective public consultation for active transport-related projects
  • Give examples of best practice from Ireland, and
  • Explore the barriers and challenges involved.

Damien Ó Tuama (National Cycling Coordinator with Cyclist.ie and An Taisce) and Fergus Galvin (Director of Transport Services, Waterford City & County Council) will briefly outline the key challenges facing their organisations with regard to public consultations.

This will be followed by presentations from Sandy McGroarty from the Cork Transport Mobility Forum explaining how a Transport Mobility Forum can be a best practice model of stakeholder engagement; Jeanette Fitzsimmons from UCC explaining various approaches to public consultation and participatory design, using examples from Ireland and elsewhere; and Giulia Vallone from Cork Co. Co. giving us examples of good practice in achieving community-centered design in Co. Cork.

The webinar will be hosted by Elaine Mullan, School of health Sciences, WIT, and is open to all.

To register:
Email Elaine Mullan – [email protected]

A New President and Board at ECF

Cyclist.ie was well represented at the AGM of the European Cyclists’ Federation held today, Friday 23 April 2021. 

It was another successful AGM with the ECF family of groups growing further. 

Cyclist.ie wishes to congratulate the newly elected President of the ECF, Henk Swarttouw (based in Sweden/The Netherlands), on his journey ahead. Henk has been a Vice-President of ECF for the last two years.  

We also want to congratulate the other new board members. They are:

  • Sidsel Birk Hjuler (Denmark)
  • Graham Watson (UK)
  • Judit Toth (Hungary)
  • Francesco Baroncini (Italy)

The term of Cyclist.ie’s Damien Ó Tuama as a board member finished at the AGM, as did those of Raluca Fiser (Romania) and Alessandro Tursi (Italy).

The new board members will join the existing members of Lars Stromgren (Sweden) and Camille Thome (France) on the board.

More news about ECF activities in due course.

#ClimateConversation

The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications is inviting every member of the public to get involved in Ireland’s Climate Conversation about the journey to net zero emissions by 2050, with a 51% reduction by 2030.

The consultation takes the form of a survey, and covers practical themes that affect our everyday lives, such as travel, shopping including reuse and recycling, food and food waste, home – energy and insulation, and local environment and climate action. 

The survey is open until May 18th  and can be found on the department’s website here.  The survey is user friendly.  You can opt to respond to only themes that interest you or to all of the themes and you can say as much or as little as you like. One especially useful feature is that you can complete one or more sections, save them, and return later.

Cyclist.ie will be responding to the consultation on the travel theme as you would expect.  We will be proposing measures that will make it easier for people to choose to make some of their journeys by active means. We will post our submission here.  We urge everyone to respond to the consultation and to make you voice count! 

For anyone who would like support or more information before making their submission, the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, of which Cyclist.ie is a member is running a series of workshops  on the Tuesday evenings running up to the closing date for submissions. People can register for one or several workshops which will take place as follows:  

  • April 20th – Electricity
  • April 27th – Agriculture
  • 4th May – Transport
  • 6th May – Public Participation in Climate with Clare PPN
  • 11th May – Homes and the Built Environment

Stop Climate Chaos feels that some of the questions are not well phrased and that the overall tone puts too much emphasis on individual responsibility for changing behaviour instead of on governments and big corporations. 

Public Consultation on Connected and Autonomous Mobility – Cyclist.ie Submission

Last month (March 2021), the Department of Transport ran a consultation on connected and autonomous mobility (CAM) in road transport. Cyclist.ie sent in a submission on it. 

In our submission, we argued that the overarching guiding principles to inform the roll-out of CAM in Ireland should be as follows:

  • Impacts on energy use (particularly fossil energy and to include the embodied energy of vehicles themselves)
  • Impacts on emissions (and not only the direct emissions from vehicles but also from the emissions from electrical power generation plants of various types)
  • Efficiency in the use of finite (urban) public space – i.e. number of people carried per lane per hour, as compared to mass transit and cycling.
  • Consistency with creating a liveable and convivial public realm that is not dominated by motorized vehicles
  • Impacts on people wishing to use healthy / active travel modes.
  • Pedestrians, and people with disabilities, followed by cyclists, need to be at the top of the urban mobility pyramid of rights and priorities, where the more powerful vehicle should be recognised as at fault unless they can prove otherwise both morally and legally, as is the case already in other jurisdictions.
  • The expansion of CAM cannot work on the basis of assuming that people walking, scooting or on cycles wear ‘safety devices’ (transponders), and cyclists and pedestrians should not be morally (or legally) obliged to carry devices on their person or bike.
  • The devices carried by motor vehicles can make no assumption about the requirement for a cyclist or pedestrian to be in a mandatory position on the road. In most communities and roads, cycle tracks do not exist, or are not mandatory, and all codes have exemptions for the far too common situation where infrastructure is blocked or unusable. There are many, many reasons why cyclists and pedestrians may have to leave a pavement, cycle path or the edge of the road, and indeed to cross roads, so the next generation of devices must not rely on some form of conformity in behaviour.

What we do not want to see in the future is the same oversized Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) – but in a ‘connected and/or autonomous’ format – dominating urban streets and accentuating problems related to emissions and the use of finite resources (and not just fossil fuels). We know from UK research reported on by the BBC on 7th April 2021 that three quarters of all SUVs sold in the UK are registered to people living in towns and cities, and it wouldn’t surprise us if similar figures applied in Ireland. 

What we really need is a transformative shift in mobility policy and culture, where smaller (genuinely) zero carbon vehicles and active travel are prioritised – and not the promotion of autonomised versions of already oversized motor cars. We also need to be alert to being overwhelmed and blinded by the hype and unchallenged claims associated with some promotions of autonomous and connected vehicles.

You can read Cyclist.ie’s submission to the Department of Transport here

You can read an article posted by the European Cyclists’ Federation on Automated vehicles, connected transport technologies and cycling here.

A fantastic amenity for the people of Muff

Donegal County Council issue tender for first phase of Muff-Derry greenway

Donegal County Council’s Roads & Transportation Directorate has published the tender for the Muff part of the Derry-Muff greenway. The 2.3km section – of an overall 10km route – will be delivered under the auspices of the cross-border North West Greenway Network. 

Works will include: segregated infrastructure, the widening of existing footpaths on the R238, new and upgraded lighting, landscaping, drainage works and the provision of bicycle parking facilities at Muff Community Park.

Funding has been provided by INTERREG VA, administered by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), with match-funding from the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland and the Department of Transport in Ireland. The route is part of 46.5kms being developed by Donegal County Council in conjunction with the lead partner, Derry City & Strabane District Council.

Welcoming the announcement, the Communications Officer for the North West Greenway Network, Rónán Gallagher, said: ‘this project has been developed over three years and it is fantastic that this tender has now been issued. With a little bit of luck, construction will commence by summer.’ He continued: ‘our goal is to encourage modal shift while reducing carbon emissions. This will provide a crucial new artery linking Muff to Derry City as well as a fantastic amenity for people living in the village. It is also a tangible example of how Donegal County Council is encouraging active travel and creating a sustainable future for the people living in the county.’

With work on the Lifford-Strabane section nearing completion and the planning application for the Bridgend to Buncrana section of the Buncrana-Derry greenway due to be lodged later this year, Donegal County Council in conjunction with Derry City & Strabane District Council is taking a significant step to improving cross-border green infrastructure that will encourage modal shift and active travel across the North West Region.

Details on the North West Greenway Network – see here.  

NTA Allocates Over €70m In New Funding To Rural Councils For Active Cycling And Walking Infrastructure

The Cyclist.ie Rural Collective, representing cycling advocacy and promotion groups in the regions, welcomes this government funding announcement for walking and cycling infrastructure to nineteen local authorities outside of the cities – as can be read here.  

The allocation of more than €70 m is a good start to a process of providing infrastructure which will enable people living in towns, villages and rural areas to choose an active travel mode for their journey.

The schemes being funded vary from one local authority to another but include a large number of footpath improvement schemes, cycleways, pedestrian / cycle bridges, cycle-parking, pedestrian crossings, and public lighting improvements. We find it interesting that most county allocations reference funding for four specific programmes: 

  • Safe Routes to School
  • Low-Cost Permeability Measures
  • Light Segregation Cycle Schemes and
  • Low Cost Junction Tightening / Pedestrian Crossing Schemes.

It looks therefore as if these measures were suggested by the NTA, who will be overseeing and supporting the entire active travel programme, and we look forward to a consistent approach from county to county.

A high point of the funding announcement is that several counties where Cyclist.ie’s Rural Collective is active have received funding for transport studies / urban mobility plans. These include Carlow, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Louth and Wexford. Much to the delight of Jo Sachs-Eldridge, one of the key members of the Cyclist.ie Rural Collective, her native Leitrim has opted to do a County Cycle Network Plan Study! In Kerry, both Tralee and Kilarney are going to get interconnected cycleway networks which again is most welcome. 

It would be churlish not to wholeheartedly welcome this funding. After all, the €72.8m which has been allocated is greater than the entire 2019 funding for the national walking and cycling programme. However, we in Cyclist.ie do have some concerns. These revolve around the standards which will apply to the proposed new cycling infrastructure. In the press release announcing the funding Minister Ryan, Minister of State Naughton and CEO of the National Transport Authority, Anne Graham all used the words “high-quality” to describe the new infrastructure. However, at this point we are unsure whether the Department of Transport and the National Transport Authority share the Cyclist.ie definition of “high -quality”.

Current cycleway standards are to be found in the National Cycle Manual (NCM) and the Transport Infrastructure Rural Cycleway Design (RCD). The NCM is currently being updated and Cyclist.ie is awaiting news on what brief the consultants have been given. We very much hope that it will take account of Cyclist.ie’s A Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland  and Irish Cycle.com’s CyclingForAll.ie

The first three demands in the Rural Vision are for an environment where cyclists are expected and respected, the creation and mapping of useful connected cycle routes, and implementation of best practice design to ensure routes are safe and comfortable for all ages and abilities. CyclingForAll.ie provides numerous examples from the Netherlands of what this design would look like in practice.   

A very positive aspect of this rural funding announcement is that all counties will be supported by the National Transport Authority. Up to recently the NTA only had responsibility for walking and cycling infrastructure for the local authorities in the five main cities and in counties Kildare, Wicklow and Meath. The authority now has a countrywide remit and will be supporting all local authorities in rolling out Active Travel and the Safe Routes to School Programme. We are happy with this outcome, but to ensure adherence to standards it will be necessary for the NTA to act as an oversight body and to withhold funding for any scheme which is not compatible with the new guidance.

Cyclist.ie are seeking a meeting with the NTA to discuss, among other items, our desire to ensure the highest quality of planned schemes being built with this welcome and much needed funding.   

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.