In the lead-up to COP26, and the World Health Organisation’s call for more cycling to improve health through increased physical activity and improved air quality , a newly-formed Active Travel Coalition is today seeking urgent action on the rollout of safe cycle routes nationwide.
The Active Travel Coalition is bringing together health, medical, environmental and cycling campaigners to call on the Irish government to show leadership on cycle infrastructure to enable families make the switch from the car to active travel modes of walking & cycling.
The coalition says that many people want to make the switch to cycling but are put off by the lack of safe, segregated cycle routes.
The Active Travel Coalition is seeking:
● Faster rollout of the proposed high-quality ‘Safe Routes to School’ cycle path network.
● Trial infrastructural change legislation & re-allocation of road space for walking & cycling.
● Commitment from local and national politicians to lead the move to greater Active Travel.
● Continued strong funding coupled with rigorous oversight for safe cycle route development.
● Creation of networks of cycle routes, not just one-off routes that don’t interconnect.
Between 1991 and 2016 walking and cycling to school in Dublin fell from 64% to 46% while the percentage being driven to school increased from 17% to 41% . Dr. Una May, Director of Participation and Ethics at Sport Ireland said “Sport Ireland research  shows that only 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 5 children meet recommended daily physical activity levels. Reaching the physical activity guidelines will require a mix of sport, recreational physical activity and regular active travel. Investments in active travel infrastructure can increase cycling to school and work, helping increase the number of children and adults meeting the recommended daily physical activity levels.”
According to Mark Murphy, advocacy officer with the Irish Heart Foundation, “30 minutes of moderate intensity activity, such as walking or cycling, five days a week, reduces your risk of developing heart disease and stroke, and contributes to overall improved levels of health. However, we know that if we want more people cycling, particularly school children, we need a major expansion of safe cycling tracks”.
Ireland’s policy is to reduce carbon emissions in 2050 by 80% on 1990 levels. Oisín Coghlan from Friends of the Earth says “transport accounts for 20% of emissions in Ireland. Given our carbon reduction targets in transport, a modal shift away from the private car is needed towards sustainable modes. Segregated cycle tracks, particularly in Dublin, are urgently needed to support this”.
Research from the National Transport Authority shows that 11% of adults cycle daily in Dublin but 46% would like to cycle or cycle more if they felt safer . Dublin Cycling Campaign’s David Timoney says that we know from research and from the cycle traffic on the Grand Canal and Dun Laoghaire & Seapoint cycle tracks that segregated routes enable people of all ages and abilities to cycle.”
Dr. Sean Owens from the Irish College of General Practitioners says “the strongest evidence for reduced incidence of diabetes, obesity & cardiovascular disease is lifestyle measures centred around physical activity and healthy diets. Getting our patients, our families and our staff on their bikes for pleasure, or for a commute, is a triple win; better health for patients and families, better for the environment and better value for the public purse”.
Only 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 teenagers who cycle in Dublin are female. Mairead Forsythe from ‘Women on Wheels’ says that “the figures show a major gender gap in cycling in Dublin and while the barriers to more women and girls cycling are varied, the number 1 barrier is fear of mixing with motor traffic.”
Colm Ryder from Cyclist.ieand the Rural Cycling Collective adds that “In many areas developing cycle infrastructure will require a re-allocation of road space from the motor vehicle to active travel. We need to adapt our private car use to achieve the critical goals of an improved and safer public realm and more efficient movement of people around our towns, cities and rural areas“.
*The Active Travel Coalition consist of the following organisations:
Irish Heart Foundation, Irish Cancer Society, Diabetes Ireland, Irish College of General Practitioners, Sport Ireland, Cyclist.ie, Dublin Cycling Campaign, Women on Wheels, Irish Pedestrian Network, Friends of the Earth, Irish Doctors for the Environment & Faculty of Sports & Exercise Medicine (RCPI & RCSI).
Clare County Council is currently progressing Section 1 of the West Clare Railway Greenway project. This aims to provide a recreational greenway between the towns of Kilrush and Kilkee, following the route of the former West Clare Railway where feasible.
The West Clare Railway between Kilrush and Kilkee closed in 1961 and since then the main transport corridor between the two towns has been the N67 National Road. The West Clare Railway Greenway project aims to develop a new walking and cycling corridor between these two seaside towns, providing a high-quality attraction and amenity to locals and tourists alike, and building on the success of the Waterford Greenway and the Limerick Greenway.
The study area currently being examined the Council is shown here, with Kilkee lying to the North West and Kilrush to the South East.
In response to the public consultation process, Cyclist.ie sent a submission to the Council on Monday 5th of October setting out our initial views on the proposals.
At the broadest level, Cyclist.ie is delighted to see this proposed greenway project advancing, and we wish to support Clare County Council in this initiative. Cyclist.ie is strongly in favour of the creation of a high quality, safe and largely / entirely segregated cycle facility linking Kilkee to Kilrush. Such a facility will offer multiple benefits to many different age cohorts and different user groups – including children, older people, tourists, utility cyclists and recreational cyclists. If designed and built to high standard, and if it offers a safe environment for all ages and abilities, it can replicate and surpass the success of other greenways in Ireland and beyond. This represents a win-win for all concerned.
More specifically Cyclist.ie strongly advises that cycle facilities do not run along / alongside the N67 except where absolutely necessary. Even if proper segregation is provided alongside an N road, the noise from motorised traffic on an N road (both engine noise and tyre noise) diminishes the quality of the experience for users – it is difficult to have a conversation with another person on a bike alongside oneself when traffic noise is significant.
In our submission we also made the point that Kilrush has terrific potential to become a properly cycle friendly town, but it is currently utterly dominated by cars. Frances St, a wonderfully wide and beautiful street, is just waiting to be set free – there is a huge opportunity to improve the urban realm there. Furthermore, all schools, sports clubs/grounds and residential areas should be connected carefully to the greenway so that parents can feel comfortable having their children cycling to school on their own. Additionally, the route should link with all of the main tourist destinations, including the Vandeleur Gardens and forest trails.
To give a little bit more context on the overall consultation process for this section of the West Clare Railway Greenway, you can check out this graphic taken from the official material (a link to which can be found below).
Finally, if you are particularly interested in cycle campaigning issues in County Clare and would like to connect into Cyclist.ie’s advocacy work to improve cycling conditions in the County, please contact us here.
Bike Week 2021 ran from Sunday 12th to Saturday 18th September and Cyclist.ie’s member groups ran a wonderfully diverse array of events countrywide. We highlight a selection of these events here – it is certainly not exhaustive!
Well done to all of our amazing groups and active members for running these events and enabling a lot more people to try out the bike – for the first time for many people.
Cyclist.ie hopes that these events will help to grow the cycling advocacy movement at a local level, which in turn will help to grow strong cycling cultures countrywide.
Skerries Cycling Initiative’s first cycling festival took place on 22 August – a little in advance of the formal Bike Week! It was a lot of fun and definitely something to build on it, going forward. We started off the day – a lovely one weatherwise – with a 5km and a 25 km cycle from Skerries Mills car park. People of all ages and abilities, just as we hoped for, took part. This was to be a day for celebrating cycling as a healthy, normal way of getting around, whether you chose a simple one speed bicycle or something sleeker (as shown below).
WexBUG (Wexford Bicycle User Group) held two events for Bike Week 2021.
First of all, the Norman Way taster route saw a group of cyclists led by WexBUG given the opportunity to sample a section of The Norman Way. This included a fascinating talk with Wexford Co Co Heritage Officer, Catherine McLoughlin at St. Mary’s Church in Bannow Ba.y
And secondly, the Get Back on your Bike spin focused on those who hadn’t ridden a bicycle for a while. WexBUG delivered some basic Cycle Right training combined with defensive cycling tips. This was followed by a coffee spin through Wexford Town and surrounding area to put these skills into practice in the real world environment.
Kilkenny Cycling and Walking Campaign organised the first Slow Roll in Kilkenny in conjunction with Kilkenny County Council. Sunday 19th saw cyclists take to the streets of Kilkenny in a parade of wonderful bikes. The smallest participants were transported in cargo bikes and trailers, while younger children travelled through the streets with stabilisers and balance bikes. Adult wheels varied from vintage bikes, to fold-up bikes to electric bikes.
This colourful troupe was led off by Charlie Parsons and the community Gardaí, with local club members from Marble City Cyclers escorting the group safely through the streets. Charlie, one of Kilkenny’s Axa Community Bike Ride leaders, had a gorgeous route picked for the day that brought the group through the medieval centre with a picturesque finish along by the canal. Cllr. Maria Dollard, who assisted in the organisation of the event, said:
“Events such as these highlight the benefits of a cycle-friendly city centre. If our children and people can move independently through the streets, the reduction in congestion and emissions benefit everyone. Cycling for journeys also allows people to experience a sense of connection with their community and their neighbours, building strong, resilient communities.”
Slow Roll led off by the Community Guards and Charlie Parsons, local Axa Community Bike Rides Leader
Príomhoide of Gaelscoil Osraí, Seán o hArgáin captures the cyclists on High St.
Thirty participants of all ages took part in Sligo Cycling Campaign’s Culture Night Community Cycle. First stop was Cranmore Community Garden. Host, Connie Nell was thrilled that one third of the Culture Night visitors to the garden arrived by bicycle. The richness of our biodiverse environment was evident with displays of beekeeping, a wormery and a myriad of colourful flowers and vegetables including, we are told, a very sweet cherry tomato! Sligo Cycling Campaign hopes that this event will be the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with Cranmore CoOp. The area is part of Sligo County Council’ss decarbonisation zone and so is ripe for active travel initiatives. We were delighted to be accompanied by Nick Doran on his Development Perspectives cargo-bike to promote the Global Goals – as shown below. Nick took time out to admire Lough Gill.
Dublin Cycling Campaign held a virtual public meeting called ‘Why We Cycle: Dublin Stories’ featuring ten short presentations from people who get around Dublin by bike or trike. We heard from people who live in various parts of Dublin and use their bike or trike for a range of purposes, such as travelling to work or school, bringing children to school, keeping pets entertained, making deliveries, or boosting physical and mental health. Thank you to all our speakers and attendees, and a special thanks to our guest chair, Joanna Donnelly of Met Éireann. You can listen back on YouTube here.
Dublin Cycling Campaign also joined Crumlin Community Cycles and Bloomin’ Crumlin to cycle to PedalPalooza in Fairview Park on Sunday 12 September. We had people of all ages join us for the 16km round trip, which took in some of Dublin’s best cycling infrastructure such as the Grand Canal Way Premium Cycle Route, and the Royal Canal Greenway between the Docklands and North Strand – as shown below. At PedalPalooza we enjoyed trying out unusual bikes, meeting other fans of cycling, and taking part in interactive workshops and in the Cycle Bus drop-in session.
Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin – Cycling Without Age
Meanwhile, in DLR, Cycling Without Age took part in the DLR Family Cycle of inclusive bikes: tandems, cargo bikes, trishaws, handcycles – we love them all!
Cycle Sense had a busy and fun week. A few highlights included:
Working with the children and adults on the Learn to Cycle Taster as they cycled for the first time. What a privilege it was to witness their sense of surprise and accomplishment.
Fixing bikes with inhabitants in Clonakilty Refugee Centre was chaotic and satisfying. Good to know they have roadworthy bikes now!
Meeting women for the Women on Wheels taster session. Congregating in our workshop was a highlight for us as it was our first event to be held from our own workshop. Working with women is always great and after the introduction we enjoyed a small cycle round the lanes of Skibbereen.
The Mystery Cycle Buffett is always a highlight. Booked out straight away this event always manages to have great weather. Participants were taken on a mystery tour feasting on West Cork delights, scenery and accompanied by live music. What could be better ?!
The Skibbereen Cycle Bus kids all received a bike pump and puncture repair kit. Hooray for them!
Our workshop was the base for a family day of obstacles, bike doctor and bike Art. A multiple range of things were made from discarded bike parts!
Skibbereen Cycle Bus
Start of Cycle Buffet
On the Cycle Buffet
Gort Cycle Trails – West of Ireland, Burren Lowlands
Katleen from Gort Cycle Trails set up an event to get people on their bikes and to show them a very quiet road from Gort into Coole Park. The total loop is just over 9 km. It’s called Glenbrack, but Katleeen has renamed it the Gort Mini-Greenway, as it’s only about 2.5 km long. Almost 40 people turned up, the youngest person being 5, the oldest 71 and with five people coming by train from Galway, and a further five arriving by train from Ennis. It turned out to be a great day.
The hot drinks and cake from the Coole Park Tea rooms went down a treat, and people were keen to find out when the next cycle will be organized! Check out https://workinglivingtravellinginireland.com/gort-cycle-trails with a number of loops in the Burren Lowlands and join the FB Group here to find out when the next event will take place.
Leitrim Cycling Festival
What I learnt in Kilty
Leitrim Cycling Festival 2021
I learnt that I will never win a slow bicycle race
Or ride a penny farthing
And that cycling round and round
a village roundabout is mesmerising
I learnt that a colourful friend
is the key to colourful gear
And that for some, moving clouds
is something you can hear
I learnt you can take a line for a cycle
And that bikes are instruments too
And cycling up hill is not easy
after two platefuls of stew
I learnt you can fit six people on a single bicycle
(according to the Rock)
And that wise men like Ken
know how to take a knock
I learnt that the Tottenham Estate
cleverly grew within their grounds
pineapples and lemons
while famine raged all around
I learnt that the ‘nuachta’ of old was always the ‘buamai’ in Belfast
I learnt that the fiercest streets of Dublin
are learning to care
and that within every community
there are gardens to share
I learnt that when the measurements are wrong
a curry feast can go on
and on and on..
I learnt that ‘Kilty Live’
brought life to the street
and watched with glee as the Wandering Bandstand
brought people to their feet
I learnt that the pub has only 24 pint glasses
I learnt that you can dance in the rain
with the Cosmos in an awning
and that sticks for the fire
can be delivered at two in the morning
I learnt that Leitrim
is even more beautiful than I knew
And that Kilty can definitely
teach me a thing or two
So thank you Kilty
From all of us cycling crew
A poem inspired by a wonderful weekend of playing, listening and gathering stories inspired by the Human-on-a-Bicycle Library project.
The Cycling Community in Cork organised two events – the Cultural City Cycle on the Friday night which happened to be Culture Night and on Saturday there was the cycle to Cobh. We were very pleased with the running of each event.
The Cultural City Cycle
The Lord Mayor opened the festival with a few words and posed for photos. He was very engaging and gave a very relevant speech – talking about combining bus travel with cycling. The Council were hoping to adapt buses to put a bike rack on the front. We then went to the City Hall where Councillor Kieran McCarthy gave a speech about the history of Cork City. We then went down the Centre Park Road along the new cycle path to the Marina, around Páirc Uí Chaoimh and back via the new cycle path on Monaghan Road and the footbridge off Rockboro Road. This led us to Casanova where we had a stop for ice cream – the ice cream here is really good!
We now went to UCC where we stopped at the Quad for music with Andrew Desmond and his band. We had food delivered from Tedo and Luigi Malones. We then dispersed after the meal.
The Cycle to Cobh
We had two mechanics from Cork Community Bikes on hand at 10am at the Fountain in the Grand Parade. We stayed there until 10:30 so that participants could get their bikes checked and tires pumped. With that we started out via the new cycle lanes in the South Mall and along the quays to the Marina, Blackrock Castle, Rochestown and Passage. Here we took the ferry and cycled to Cobh. We pottered around Cobh for a while, had some nibbles along with free ice cream that we had arranged. We made the return journey again via the ferry and stopped in the Marina market for a complimentary meal. The feedback from the participants was very positive.
Four community groups held simultaneous Sunday family cycles before converging to make one supergroup to show support for the proposed temporary Salthill Cycleway.
Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) and Cllr Owen Hanley (SocDems) led about 60 ‘passengers’ on the East of the Corrib Cycle-Bus with Galway Cycling Campaign through Terryland Forest Park on the cycle-bus’s first community cycle.
Let’s Get Biking Together (LGBT) Galway, the city’s newest cycling group, started their route from University Park, opposite NUI Galway.
The Galway Urban Greenway Alliance departed from their usual monthly starting point at the Claddagh Hall.
About 270 children and adults of all ages and abilities joined in using bicycles, tricycles, cargo bikes, ebikes, and bike trailers, on what was a stunning autumnal morning of sunshine and blue skies in the city of the tribes.
Reg Turner, co-organiser of the East of the Corrib Cycle-Bus, said, “On Friday morning, we had our biggest numbers yet cycling to the five city centre schools. So to see dozens of people joining in on Sunday confirms to us the huge demand for safe routes to school using Galway’s beautiful woods, rivers, canals and coastal roads.”
Parent Roselyn Carroll said, “The smiles say it all. Our kids jump into the cargo bike to join in. I want my kids to cycle independently when they are bigger on safe segregated cycle routes.”
Participants chanted “Greenway for Galway”, led by enthusiastic children ringing their bells, as bystanders and onlookers in vehicles clapped and cheered as the supergroup cycled around the city centre.
At the end, the cyclers gathered for coffee and cake at Ground & Co on Salthill’s seafront.
The campaign for the temporary Salthill Cycleway created a major buzz on social media, on local radio station Galway Bay FM, and in the city’s newspapers The City Tribune and Galway Advertiser, as well as being picked up by national media.
On Monday 27 September, Councillors voted 17-1 for the motion for the Salthill Cycleway. This is a huge endorsement of the people of Galway’s desire for safe cycling routes of connected urban greenways.
Organisers would like to thank the Gardaí who joined by bike and patrol car, and to Deputy Mayor Martina O’Connor, Cllr Niall Murphy and Senator Pauline O’Reilly of the Green Party for participating. Cllrs Mike Cubbard (Ind) and Frank Fahy (FG) sent their apologies and best wishes for the Bike Week event.
Sunday family cycle in support of the temporary Salthill Cycleway. Credit: Galway Urban Greenway Alliance
Video of community cycle with Galway Urban Greenway Alliance, Galway Cycling Campaign, East of the Corrib Cycle-Bus and Let’s Get Biking Together (LGBT) Galway. Credit: Paul McSpaden
Navan Cycling Initiative were delighted to host Navan Bike Fest, a week-long series of events which took place during National Bike Week. Navan Bike Fest kicked off with a hugely successful half-day Family Day held at Coláiste na Mí on Sunday 12 September, the highlight of which was our Family Cycle around Navan with over 100 participants of all ages and abilities taking part. Other activities on the day included weird and wonderful bikes, a slow bike race and a junior cycle track and race area. We even had a special ice-cream bike!
Also during the week, we ran a Scavenger Hunt, partnering with businesses around Navan to hide twenty-six playing-cards for participants to seek out with some great prizes to be won. We also held two online public meetings on ‘Cycle Network and Greenways Update’ and ‘Race Across America and Ultra Cycling, with Alan Heary’. To finish off Navan Bike Fest in style, on Saturday the 18th we had a social spin to Slane Castle along the banks of the River Boyne, and movie night at the Solstice Arts Centre where we showed a selection of inspiring, feel-good cycling documentaries including ‘Cycling Across Europe in the Pandemic’, ‘All Bodies on Bikes’, and ‘Why We Cycle’.
A lovely cycle was followed by lovely chats in Arthur’s Quay Park as the moon came up. What a fab evening!
Kinsale Loves Bikes is delighted to announce that it’s new Community Bike Repair Station is now available to all cyclists. Located on the pier beside Food U cafe, the repair station has a pump for inflating tyres as well as all the tools required to repair and maintain your bike.
Kinsale Loves Bikes secured funding to purchase this amazing amenity and Cork County Council kindly installed it so everyone can avail of quality bike repair tools without charge.
Well done to all member groups within Cyclist.ie on the fabulous campaigning work. It is all helping to recreate a strong cycling culture countrywide. We are already looking forward to Bike Week 2022!
Streets4All is a new collective of people who have come together to create one voice in the campaign to make the streets, cities and places in Northern Ireland better for walking, wheeling, cycling and living.
The group has a wealth of expertise but, most importantly, a strong desire to create greener, healthier and more active ways of living and travelling. Its aim is:
to campaign for changes in the way we live in Northern Ireland. For too long now our streets and cities have been overrun and dominated by cars and private vehicles. We want to claim back these spaces to allow people to move freely in a positive manner.
On Thursday 23rd of September at 8pm, Streets4All will host a webinar facilitated by Cyclist.ie to showcase what is going on in the UK and Ireland by other campaigners, what has been achieved in terms of active travel and liveability, and how something similar can happen in Northern Ireland.
Speakers will include Agustina Martire, Giulia Vallone, Adam Tranter and Damien Ó Tuama. You can read brief bios for them below.
You can register in advance for this free webinar via this link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Do please spread the word on this event, especially to friends and colleagues in Northern Ireland. We look forward to meeting you all online then.
Bios of Speakers
Agustina Martire Agustina is senior lecturer in architecture at Queen’s University Belfast. She teaches urban history and theory and architectural design. She leads the StreetSpace project, an international and interdisciplinary project that studies everyday streets, shedding light on the way streets are used, experienced and represented. She works with a series of NGOs and government departments, advocating for equitable and just mobility and housing in Belfast.
Giulia Vallone Giulia is an award winning architect and urban designer with Cork County Council. Her focus is excellence in design of public works and townscape through a people centred design approach generating civic stewardship and placemaking. She is a passionate believer in the delivery of quality outcomes from collaborative and multi-disciplinary design process applied to all public investments in the urban environment, and not just those traditionally associated with architectural design. Her work with Cork County Council has won several design awards, in particular the “Clonakilty 400” Masterplan [phase I-II] winner of The RIAI Public Choice Award in 2014, The Academy of Urbanism Award, The Irish Design Award and RIAI Best Place in Ireland in 2017 and the latter triennial European Gubbio Prize in 2018.
Adam Tranter Adam is the CEO of communications agency Fusion Media, specialising in marketing communications around cycling and active travel. He also co-hosts the Streets Ahead podcast on active travel and liveable streets. Adam volunteers as the Bicycle Mayor for Coventry, which helps coordinate between existing cyclists, the community, government, and non-profits to make cycling better in Coventry. He was the first Bicycle Mayor in a UK city – the programme founded in Amsterdam where it is supported by the city government.
Damien Ó Tuama Damien is the National Cycling Coordinator with Cyclist.ie and An Taisce. His main focus is in supporting Cyclist’s 25+ member groups in collaborating effectively and advancing Cyclist.ie’s new strategy. He has worked in the mobilities space for over 20 years and completed his doctoral research exploring transitions in mobility systems in 2015 (Trinity College Dublin). He was a board member of the European Cyclists’ Federation from 2016 to 2021, and is currently on the board of Transport Infrastructure Ireland.
Bike Week first took place in Ireland in June 2009 following the publication earlier that year of the National Cycle Policy Framework. The NCPF included a specific objective (#10.2, page 33) that an annual National Bike Week would be organised so as to improve the image of cycling and promote cycling using “soft interventions”.
Twelve years on and as we edge out of a difficult last 18 months, Bike Week 2021 is ready to go. It is being launched this Sunday 12th of September, and Cyclist.ie’s groups are at the heart of organising the best events happening countrywide. A credit to all of our member groups and active volunteers!
You can check out all of the events happening on a county-by-county basis on the official Bike Week website here (see the bottom of that page), but in this article here we highlight a selection of some really fabulous events being organised by our own member groups of Cyclist.ie.
Navan Bike Fest is a week-long series of events planned for National Bike Week, kicking off with a half-day event on Sunday 12 September. This family-friendly event will be held at Coláiste na Mí and is a celebration of all things cycling, with a variety of cycling fun and games, stands and stalls, as well as the return of our ever-popular Family Cycle. Lots more at http://navancycling.ie/navan-bike-fest-2021/
Leitrim Cycling Festival is taking place in the beautiful little village of Kiltyclogher for a weekend of music, dancing, art, history, mud painting, good food and cycling to celebrate the wonder of bikes, communities and this stunning county. It runs from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th of September, and has a wonderfully action-packed programme of events. Details at https://leitrimcyclingfestival.com/leitrim-cycling-festival-programme-2021-2/
Dublin Cycling Campaign is running and supporting several terrific events during Bike Week. Campaign members will be taking part in the ‘Pedalpalooza’ family friendly festival in Fairview Park from 1pm to 5pm on Sunday 12th Sept, and the Campaign is teaming up with with wonderful crew from Bloomin’ Crumlin to cycle over to the events in Fairview (poster below).
Then on Monday, 13 Sept at 8pm, Dublin Cycling Campaign is hosting a special meeting over Zoom at which there will be a range of people presenting who get around Dublin by bike or trike. Speakers will have three minutes each to share their cycling stories, so it promises to be a lively and interesting evening. The meeting will be chaired by meteorologist Joanna Donnelly and is organised by Siobhán McNamara. Details at https://www.dublincycling.com/cycling/virtual-public-meeting-why-we-cycle-dublin-stories
The Galway Urban Greenway Alliance, which is campaigning for segregated walking and cycling routes from the city out to Barna and Moycullen, is running what sounds like a lovely Community Cycle event on Sunday 12th September at 11am. Details available at https://www.facebook.com/galwayurbangreenway/ and in the poster here.
On Saturday 18th of September, Gort Cycle Trails are organising a cycle from the Gort Railway Station to Coole Park via Glenbrack – AKA as the Gort Mini-Greenway. This sounds like a lovely event – not least because, once participants arrive at Coole Park, they will be treated to a coffee/Tea/Hot chocolate of choice and a yummie cake by Gort Tea Rooms in the Walled Garden. Details at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cycle-gorts-mini-greenway-with-gort-cycle-trails-tickets-169783169029 and in the poster below.
There are wonderful events happening in Kilkenny such as free week-long trials of cargo bikes and some bike maintenance workshops in Stoneyford and Kilmacow. Details on the Kilkenny Cycling & Walking Campaign Facebook page here and in the poster below.
The information below was received by Anluan Dunne from Kerry Recreation & Sports Partnership. As of 9th Sept, these were not published.
The events we have planned for Bike Week 2021 are:
Guided Group Cycles for Women (x2) – Sunday 12th of September (Killorglin and Tralee) – Led by local Cycling Ireland Women in Sport ambassadors Fiola Foley (Killorglin) and Clare Neenan (Tralee).
Over 55’s Small Group Cycles (x4) – Wednesday 15th of September (Listowel).
Bike Clinic Workshops (x5) – Cahersiveen: Eamonn Casey, Ring Hotel Cahersiveen, Monday Sept – 7pm to 8.30pm – Listowel: Kieran Corcoran, Listowel Arms Hotel, Tuesday 14th Sept- 7pm to 8.30pm – Tralee: Anthony O’Halloran, Meadowlands Hotel Tralee, Wednesday 15th- 7pm to 8.30pm – Killorglin: Kieran Corcoran, Venue CYMS Community Centre , Thursday 16th –7pm to 8.30 pm – Killarney : Matt from O’Sullivan Cycles, Venue and date to be confirmed
Bike Week Photo Competition ‘Where in Kerry will your Bike Take You?’ – 12th to 18th of September
Tandem Bike Rides for people who are blind or visually impaired (TBC) **Very low participation numbers and availability of experienced/suitable tandem pilots may impact on this going ahead during Bike Weel.
Cycle on Wednesdays (COW) – Active Travel Dept (TBC) To collaborate with colleagues from An Taisce/Green Schools to encourage and support the school community to cycle to school, as part of the Green Schools/Safe Routes to School programme.
We have also earmarked some of this funding for the purchase of some safe cycling equipment which will be used in future cycling programmes and initiatives
Cycle Sense are kicking off Bike Week with a Mystery Cycle Buffet and ending with a Family Bike Day including Art and Bike Repairs plus various cycling taster sessions in between.
Come down to the Bike Circus or visit us via Facebook Live to learn about all things derailleurs.
Tues 14th – 11:30am
Touring and E-Bikes webinar – tune in on Facebook Live or pop down to the Bike Circus
Tues 14th – 3pm
Wellbeing Cycle – a leisurely 10-15km cycle, all welcome meet at the Bike Circus
Thurs 16th – 11am
Accessibility Cycling workshop and webinar with Jack. See some great cycling options for people with mobility issues, via Facebook or pop down to the yard
Fri 17th – 3pm
Family Day – Come down to Croppy park with your small ones and have some fun.
Fri 17th – 5pm
A Circus at the Bike Circus! Come down to our local community bike workshop yard for a one off performance of juggling, tricks and the circus craic! (Culture Night Event)
Sat 18th – 3pm
‘Kidical Mass’ Cycle – a celebratory lap of the town, all welcome – especially kids! Meet at the Bike Circus
Sat 18th – 3:30-5pm
In Appreciation of our Apprentices – Pop down to the Bike Circus to learn about our free apprenticeship program and meet and mingle with some graduates as well as reconnect with other Bike Circus Members. Drinks & nibbles provided. We will also be launching our new community notice board, for carpooling, bike swapping and gear sharing!
Sligo Cycling Campaign have planned their Community Cycle to coincide with Culture Night, taking place on Friday 17th September. The cycle will include a stop-off at Cranmore Community Garden and conclude with refreshments and sea-shanties at the Riverside Hotel.
National Cycle to School practice runs 21st August to 4th September 2021
The “Get to School on Your Own Fuel” is a women-led initiative from members of Cyclist.ie – Irish Cycling Advocacy Network who today issued a call to parents/guardians, and school communities to support their promotion which aims to help families familiarise themselves with their school routes. This year the promotion will run from Saturday 21st August toSaturday 4th September.
Campaign groups will be running a range of local events to help get children ready to cycle to school and can supply guidelines for anyone interested in organising their own event. Pupils and students of all ages are welcome to participate and ideally they will link with other families, teachers, parent associations, and local organisations to plan and test the safest cycling routes from home to school.
Everyone who participates in the #GetToSchoolOnYourOwnFuel initiative is encouraged to register for a chance to win a hamper of cycle-goodies (register at www.cyclist.ie/school). Practice runs can be held on any dates between 21st August and 4th September.
Allison Roberts, spokesperson for the Clonakilty Bicycle Festival, said
2021 is a great year to start cycling to school! The new school year will see the beginning of the Government’s Safe Routes to School programme. 170 schools supported by Green Schools Ireland, the NTA and their Local Authority will receive funding to support walking and cycling infrastructure. Following on from the government’s lead, we as local residents can help accelerate the introduction of new measures to make cycling to school as easy and as safe as possible. Even if our children cycle once or twice a week it will make a difference on our roads, in our local communities and to the perception of local authorities. Safety in numbers really does apply here, if we can get small groups together cycling to school it will be easier, safer and more enjoyable for all.
Speaking on behalf of Cyclist.ie, Vice-Chair, Neasa Bheilbigh said
Many parents and principals would happily bid farewell to the daily chaotic parking scenes at the school gate but are unsure of what the alternatives are. Key to getting more children to school ‘on their own fuel’ is the familiarisation of routes from home to school. Cycle Buses have been offering a supported means of getting children to school safely. Other parents may welcome support to travel with their own children or to link in with a neighbour. Cyclist.ie is urging all school communities and not just those chosen for the initial Safe Routes to School funding to investigate if cycling is an option for them.
National Cycling Coordinator with Cyclist.ie, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama expressed the hope that following two years of pandemic disruption, the 2021/2022 School Year would be a smooth running and happy experience for all.
We in Cyclist.ie also hope that the new school year will see an explosion of interest in getting to school on your own fuel. We are only too happy to support families to do this in any way we can. We urge everyone to register for the Get to School on your Own Fuel promotion and to contact their local advocacy group – see our map of groups here.
The network of campaign groups is calling on schools to apply for funding for secure bicycle parking. They are calling on all local authorities and the National Transport Authority to support and fund cycle parking for all schools. As set out in our Vision for Cycling in Ireland, cycling groups want to see all agencies and organisations support the installation of safer, segregated cycle routes, remove barriers to cycling and walking through parks and housing estates, and develop direct routes away from motorised traffic. The groups are also calling on all local authorities to implement as a matter of urgency 30 km/h speed limits in all urban areas, especially around schools.
Cyclist.ie delivered its Pre-Budget 2022 Submission to the Department of Finance earlier today (Wed 18th August 2021). You can read it in full as a PDF here. The introduction and summary of the submission can be read immediately below.
A big thanks to our hard-working Executive Committee and wider team for preparing the submission. This behind-the-scenes technical work is but a small part of our broader advocacy efforts to put cycling and walking to the fore in government policy, practice and investment decisions.
Continue the Programme for Government Ensure 10% of Transport Capital Funding is Allocated to Creating High-quality Conditions for Cycling Countrywide
Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, is the umbrella body of cycling advocacy groups in Ireland (https://cyclist.ie/) and the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation (https://ecf.com/). Our vision is that cycling, as a mode of transport, becomes a normal part of everyday life for all ages and abilities in Ireland.
As recognised in the Programme for Government (PfG), cycling as a mode of transport offers numerous well documented broad benefits to society, including:
high rates of economic return on investment
improved public health
reduced greenhouse gas emissions
reduced air and noise pollution
increased population mobility
more liveable and sociable streets and communities
Cycling delivers multiple benefits to society, and it is essential that good habits are developed at the school-going age. Photo by Anna Groniecka at the ‘Back to School on Your Own Fuel’ campaign
Unlocking these benefits requires targeted and sustained investment, and international evidence demonstrates that investing in cycling provides excellent value for money. Despite some local objections and legal challenges, the Government and Local Authorities must continue to be steadfast in ensuring this value for money and wide social benefits are availed of.
Cyclist.ie needs to see the promises made in the Programme for Government (PfG) become embedded in all relevant national and local policy documents and programmes, with clear timelines set out for all elements.
We outline our budget / fiscal recommendations below (in our full submission) under the following two headings:
Taxation and fiscal policy directions to create modal shift to active travel
Legislative changes and the promotion of cycling
In summary we are seeking:
Continuation of financial support for Active Travel of 20% of the Land Transport Capital Expenditure per annum
Increased petrol and diesel prices / duty and VRT rates
Greater subsidies and supports for E-bikes so as to encourage a greater take-up of cycling (for longer / hillier journeys and for wider age cohorts) and a switch from cars to bikes
Improvement and complementing the Bike to Work scheme to include students, unemployed, and people with disabilities
Resourcing and growth of bike engineering training
Resourcing and agreed timelines for legislative changes to support the growth of cycling
The provisional figures published on the 26th of July 2021 by The Road Safety Authority (RSA) identify several worrying trends on the country’s roads. The review shows that from 1 January to 15 July, 2021, 65 people died on Irish roads in 60 collisions with a further 406 people were seriously injured. 
Speaking on behalf of Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, Colm Ryder, Chairperson said:
“We welcome the publication of this report but are extremely concerned that safety on our rural roads is in severe decline. The RSA statistics identify a 13 percentage point increase in the proportion of the fatalities occurring in rural areas, as against urban areas. In 2020, 69% of fatalities (corresponding to 51 deaths) occurred in rural areas, while in 2021, 82% of fatalities (corresponding to 53 deaths). It’s an unacceptable trend for rural Ireland and one which demands a strong response from government bodies and local authorities responsible for roads, transport and mobility.”
Of particular concern is that school finishing time has been highlighted as being the most dangerous time of the day on the nation’s roads. The time between 12pm to 4pm was the period within which accounted for 31% of fatalities to date this year. Ireland’s statistics documenting the number of children cycling to school continues to show a worrying downward trend. Since 1986, the number of girls cycling to school in Ireland has fallen from 19,000. At present, only one in 250 girls cycle to school in Ireland each day. Just 694 secondary school girls in Ireland cycled to school as per the most recent census data. 
The Department of Transport has announced funding to implement its Safe Routes to School Programme. The aim of the pilot programme is to assess routes to schools, selected by An Taisce Green Schools, and implement changes which would enable safe cycling and walking . Speaking on behalf of the Cyclist.ie Rural Cycling Collective, Anluan Dunne said:
“The pilot scheme to create safe routes to school shouldn’t be needed. Like the amazing cycle buses, such programmes are only needed because we have a legacy of poor design and even poorer priorities. I believe there is a growing acceptance that we have collectively made the wrong choices and now we need a concerted effort to rectify this. Specifically, we need less cars on our roads, increased enforcement of traffic law and severe penalties for people who endanger vulnerable road users such as children cycling to or from school.”
Driver behaviour was highlighted by the RSA survey and by senior Gardaí as being the most impactful factor impacting the statistics. Mr Sam Waide, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said:
“Our own research is telling us that one factor behind this is a deterioration in road user behaviour. The Driver Attitudes & Behaviour Survey which we conducted late last year revealed more drivers admitting to speeding in 50km and 100km speed zones. It also showed an increase in motorists texting while driving plus driving while fatigued and nodding off while behind the wheel.”
Cyclist.ie are calling for a zero-tolerance approach to road safety and an increase in penalties for drivers. An Garda Síochána issued 181,263 Fixed Charge Notices to motorists for speeding with detections continuing to rise across 2021. Cyclist.ie has also called for new infrastructure, such as fixed speed cameras and an online traffic offence portal, to be employed to make enforcement more effective.
Neasa Bheilbigh, Vice-Chairperson of Cyclist.ie stated:
“Clearly the current penalties and detection rates are insufficient. We need widespread deployment of fixed speed cameras, an online submission portal for traffic offences and new technology to detect motorists utilising mobile phones while driving. In addition, we need to see plans to reduce the number of car journeys taken in Ireland, particularly where viable alternatives exist. We want to see a robust response from the Gardaí and other state organisations.”
For more information please contact:
Anluan Dunne Member of the Cyclist.ie Executive Committee Chairperson of Kerry Cycling Campaign, [email protected]
 Road Safety Authority Six Month Road Safety Review, Jan to July 15 of 2021, Presentation – Available here.
Cyclist.ie made a submission to Fingal County Council this week (on 7th July 2021) on the non-statutory consultation on the Royal Canal Urban Greenway, 12th Lock to Kildare Border. For anyone less familiar with the stretch, it runs westwards from the 12th Lock, located quite near the junction of the M50 with the N3 (Navan Road).
The overarching point in our submission is that we are fully supportive of the emerging preferred route along the north bank of the Royal Canal, that connects directly with the already agreed section from the Kildare Border to Maynooth.
Cyclist.ie supports the proposed North Bank Route because:
1 It is simpler, easier, and more economical to construct 2 It is less invasive of natural areas and protects the rich natural environment of the existing south bank 3 It provides greater access to more people than a potential south bank route, which is severed from housing by the main railway line 4 It permits any plans for the DART+ project to advance separately along the greater part of its length 5 It retains the characterful walking paths along the Deep Sinking section 6 It avoids the huge engineering works that would destroy the environment along the South bank.
Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network (ICAN), is the federation of Cycling Advocacy Groups, Greenway Groups, and Bike Festivals on the island of Ireland. Cyclist.ie is the Irish member of the European Cyclists’ Federation (https://ecf.com/). Our vision is that cycling will be a normal part of transport and everyday life in Ireland.
We commend Fingal CC for the advancement of this vital piece of commuter and leisure cycling/walking route, as part of the Dublin to Galway cross country greenway and the European EuroVelo Route 2 – https://en.eurovelo.com/ev2/ireland
We are fully supportive of the emerging preferred route along the north bank of the Royal Canal, that connects directly with the already agreed section from the Kildare Border to Maynooth. This Greenway Route has the potential to provide a high-quality, safe, walking and cycling path for commuters, local residents, and visitors alike, and will ultimately link up with Greenway and commuter routes eastwards into Dublin City and westwards to the River Shannon. It is bound to encourage greater active commuter travel by bike, will undoubtedly attract more visitors to the area, and on its eastern end will serve as a commuter cycle route to and from a number of high employment locations in West Dublin and Dublin City.
We note that the present consultation phase is a non-statutory consultation, and we look forward to the final detailed development of the proposed route in due course?
We also have a number of specific comments and issues, which we outline below in subsequent sections.
2.0 General Comments
2.1Choice of North Bank Route
Cyclist.ie fully endorses the choice of the route on the North Bank for the following reasons: 1 It is simpler, easier, and more economical to construct
2 It is less invasive of natural areas and protects the rich natural environment of the existing south bank
3 It provides greater access to more people than a potential south bank route, which is severed from housing by the main railway line
4 It permits any plans for the DART+ project to advance separately along the greater part of its length.
5 It retains the characterful walking paths along the Deep Sinking section
6 it avoids the huge engineering works that would destroy the environment along the South bank
On a major potential commuter and leisure cycle route such as this Royal Canal section, the necessary surface should be a bituminous tarmacadam (asphaltic concrete) surface for its full length. Recent research suggests that a bituminous surface is also more environmentally friendly than a loose grit/dust surface. Bituminous surfacing is the preferred type of surface by cyclists in general, but also for wheelchair and pram users. It is also the preferred surface type recommended in the TII ‘Rural Cycleway Design – DN-GEO-03047’ document. This should be made clear in any future design statements.
We are delighted to see the proposed width standard of at least 4 metres, and only be reduced to 3 metres in areas of constraint, and in the rural sections. It could be aiming for 5m wherever possible, especially closer to built up areas from Clonsilla onwards into the city centre.
In the more high volume locations, such as between the 12th Lock and Diswellstown Road/Dr Troy Bridge, the design team might consider an alternate to the standard shared pathway. A segregated path design, with the cycle track at a lower level than the footpath would reduce conflicts in the more high volume usage area. Here below is an image of the Royal Canal within Dublin City Council’s area for a high-volume area.
2.4Access and Road Crossing Design Details
On the basis of the drawings exhibited it appears that there will be no use of restrictive access gates along the length of the route, as there are no details supplied for access gates on to the route. Cyclist.ie warmly welcomes this decision, which will encourage access by all ages, types and abilities of users. We assume that any potential access gates will, at the very least, comply with the recommended design given in Rural Cycleway Design – DN-GEO-03047. We favour clear unobstructed access. Photo montages of any proposed access gates would be particularly useful at further detailed design stage, as connections and road crossings all along the route raise a number of fairly standard safety issues.
2.5Multi Access Proposals
Despite objections from a number of residents in the area of Brompton and Delwood estates in the Coolmine area, we are happy to see a number of potential access points highlighted from nearby roadways and housing estates where most of the proposed route is located. In the future we feel that these residents will recognise the real benefits of having these access points. Fingal CC need to ensure that this proposed greenway is also accessible from densely populated areas to the south of the canal. This will necessarily involve re-evaluating all roadways and in particular safe cycle facilities in these areas, and general access to the Greenway.
2.6 Lighting and Security It is critical, not only for local perception and peace of mind, but also for general safety and ability to use the proposed greenway at all times winter and summer, that appropriate lighting (bat friendly) be put in place, particularly in the areas of high residency. This lighting should also be supplemented with appropriate and effective security monitoring in these areas.
2.7Park & Ride Access
Consideration might be given to the provision of Park & Ride sites along the route, for multi modal commuters to be able to drive to locations beside the canal, park their car and continue their commute by bicycle, or by train, from that location to their destinations.
2.8 Specific Location Related Points In our submission to the previous non-statutory consultation process in 2019 Cyclist.ie made a number of specific location related observations. These were at the following locations: – Collins Bridge – Hansfield SDZ and potential new rail station – Pakenham Bridge – Callaghan Bridge – Kennan Bridge – Sheepmoor Lane
We assume that the issues raised in these areas will be addressed at the detailed design stage due at either Part 8 planning or ABP application stage.
Cyclist.ie warmly welcomes this proposal to develop this section of Royal Canal Urban Greenway. We hope that our comments above will be helpful in examining the issues along the proposed route, and we look forward to the publication of the further detailed design at the final planning stage. Once again we would be happy to meet with the Council and designers at any stage to develop any of the points raised above
Colm Ryder Chairperson Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network http://cyclist.ie/ Registered Charity Number (RCN): 20102029 7th July 2021