All posts by damien.otuama

Irish Cycling Campaign Submission on Rosses Point Public Realm Project

Our newly inaugurated Irish Cycling Campaign (formerly Cyclist.ie) has made its first formal planning related submission to Sligo County Council, together with our member group Sligo Cycling Campaign.  And what better place to start than the lovely seaside town of Rosses Point west of Sligo Town. Note that the image above shows a present view of the Rosses Point coastal road.

The Rosses Point Public Realm Enhancement project is a scheme aimed at providing improved walking and cycling facilities along the main coastal road in Rosses Point.  Interestingly, this project is funded from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF) and not through available Active Travel funding.  Last year’s active travel funding allocated a separate €70,000 for footpaths in the village itself.  This was out of a total active travel allocation of €3 million for the county of Sligo for 2023.

Both Sligo Cycling Campaign and the Irish Cycling Campaign were supportive of the project, which Sligo Cycling Campaign views as the beginning/end of a Sligo Coastal Mobility Route from Rosses Point to Strandhill.  We both made a number of suggestions for proposed improvements.  Our submissions can be read HERE (for the ICC one) and HERE (for the Sligo CC one).  Our main points related to:

  • Compliance with the Cycling Design Manual
  • Speed limit reduction to 30kph
  • Consistent narrowing of the main carriageway to help reduce speeds
  • Controlled pedestrian and bike crossings
  • Consistent bike track width
  • Junction design improvement
  • Bus Stop shelter provision
  • More inclusive bike parking

Sligo Cycling Campaign members try out a potential Coastal Mobility Route to Rosses Point

We would be hopeful that Sligo County Council will take our considered points on board, and we look forward to the building of the proposed scheme sometime soon.

These two submissions are the first of many that will be submitted in the coming year by the Irish Cycling Campaign and its members across the country.  We will continue to make these submissions to Local Authorities and national bodies, to ensure that proposed active travel schemes are planned and built to a high standard.  Last year alone in 2023, as Cyclist.ie, we made over 50 submissions on Active Travel projects nationwide!

If you would like to support us in this valuable work in making Ireland better and safer for cycling and walking why not join Irish Cycling Campaign, or consider making a donation – or even better, get involved in our work through our many local groups?

You too can be the agent of change!

Irish Cycling Campaign – Media Appearances List 2024

On this page we list Irish Cycling Campaign’s main media appearances / contributions in 2024, while noting that it is by no means exhaustive.  The most recent contributions are shown at the top.

If you are a Campaign member who has done a media interview or made a contribution on behalf of your group at local or national level and would like it to be included on this page, just drop us a line. Thank you. 

NCN Launch in Sallins – Irish Cycling Campaign Report

The Irish Cycling Campaign, formerly known as Cyclist.ie, was delighted to attend yesterday’s launch of the National Cycle Network Plan in Sallins, County Kildare. Our National Cycling Coordinator, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, and Conor Winchcombe from local group Naas Cycling Campaign were present for the event, along with national level and local level politicians and officials, local school children and other locals out walking their dogs to try out the new facilities. 

The publication of the NCN Plan was timed to coincide with the formal opening of the section of the Grand Canal Greenway from Sallins to Aylmer Bridge, and a new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Grand Canal, a short distance away from the existing road bridge over the canal on the main Sallins to Naas (R407) road. The new canal bridge provides a motor traffic free link that will be enormously helpful for local school children, for those walking and cycling to the nearby Sallins train station, and for the increasing number of recreational cyclists and visitors to the area. Visitor numbers are also sure to increase when the Grand Canal greenway link from Adamstown to Hazel Hatch is completed in the near future.

At the launch, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan (pictured below) stressed the multiple functions of high quality motor traffic free and greenway infrastructure – it’s about catering for local school and intermodal commuter trips as well cycle tourism. 

The Irish Cycling Campaign is very happy to see the NCN Plan published. The publication of the final plan comes approximately 18 months after the circulation of the draft NCN plan, and after Irish Cycling Campaign (then called Cyclist.ie) made a detailed submission on the draft plan (see here) as did many Cyclist.ie local member groups. 

The planned NCN (shown below) will link cities and towns of over 5,000 people with a safe, connected and inviting cycle network. The proposed cycle network of approximately 3,500km will connect more than 200 settlements and 2.8m people. It will link to destinations such as transport hubs, centres of education, centres of employment, leisure, and tourist destinations with the intention of facilitating greater cycling and walking amongst students, leisure users, tourists, and commuters alike.

In a separate article, we will comment further on elements of the plan and details of route choices.

Notes:

The featured image at the top was kindly provided by Félim Kelly from Aecom. In that photograph are (going from left to right): Damien (Irish Cycling Campaign), Felim (Aecom), Richard (Transport Infrastructure Ireland), Michael (TII), Úna (TII) and Elizabeth (Department of Transport).

The National Cycle Network Plan can be read here: 

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/34846-national-cycle-network/

See also the coverage provided here:

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/ryan-unveils-national-cycle-network-plan-to-create-3500km-of-linked-cycleways-between-towns-and-cities-by-2040/a795118251.html (in which Irish Cycling Campaign is quoted)

https://www.irishtimes.com/transport/2024/01/10/new-cycle-routes-to-cover-3500km-across-state-by-2040-at-a-cost-of-14bn/

https://irishcycle.com/2024/01/10/larger-active-travel-budget-will-be-needed-says-minister-ryan-as-he-launches-e1-4-e1-9-billion-plan-for-national-cycle-network/ 

Irish Cycling Campaign Welcomes Launch of New National Cycle Network Plan

The Irish Cycling Campaign (formerly known as Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network) welcomes the publication of Ireland’s first National Cycle Network (NCN) plan.

The launch takes place in Sallins, Co. Kildare on Wednesday 10th January 2024. The NCN identifies a network of 85 cycling corridors around the country linking cities and towns of over 5,000 people.

Overall, we strongly support the development of a NCN, the aim of which is “to link towns, cities and destinations across Ireland with a safe, connected and inviting cycle network; encouraging more people away from their cars and onto their cycles.” 

In response to the public consultation on the draft version of the plan back in June 2022, we made a detailed submission which is available here. Then as now, we make the point that: 

We need to replace the lion’s share of our shorter car journeys (under 5km/10km) with active travel trips, and our longer car trips with either public transport on its own, or active travel plus public transport for those living further away from public transport services. This is where the real carbon savings – and improvements to public health – can take place. We welcome the aim (as shown in the image below from the NCN website) that the NCN will link with public transport services, and also with other key destinations and cycle networks.

National Cycling Coordinator, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, added that:

A core objective of the NCN needs to be to connect the towns and villages with safe/attractive cycle-friendly routes to their own rural hinterlands in all directions to a radius of 5-8km. This will allow for the most important local trips (to schools and shops for example) to be made safe for active travel – and hence for the greatest possible impact to be made on increasing the modal shares for cycling.

We look forward to the opening of a section of the Grand Canal Greenway between Sallins and Aylmer Bridge, at which the launch of the plan will take place.

The Irish Cycling Campaign will post its reflections on the launched plan after the event. 

Note – image above taken from this page https://ncn.consultation.ai/ 

Fancy Getting on Board (or on the Executive Committee)?

Our organisation runs on the power of volunteers. Without their time, expertise and commitment, literally nothing would be done. Kudos to all.

Have you ever considered doing some (more) voluntary work for the organisation? There are very many ways for members to get involved. For now, we’ll concentrate on some exciting opportunities just around the corner. At the end of February, we will hold our Annual General Meeting at which we will hold elections to fill vacancies on both the Board and the Executive Committee.

The Board of Directors / Trustees is the body responsible for the governance of the company and charity. It comprises up to 10 people and meets regularly (usually online) to deal with matters such as legal compliance, financial oversight, risk management, internal policy development, human resource matters and so on. Do you have experience in any of these areas? Might you be interested in exploring this further? If so, please email our Chairperson Mairead Forsythe for an informal chat to find out what is involved [[email protected]].

The Executive Committee is the group of 12 people responsible for overseeing the organisation’s national campaigning function, its day-to-day management of finances, and internal workings that are not governance-specific. In other words, it seeks to ensure that the greatest possible impact can be made. Crucially, gender and geographic balance are sought. If you would like to find out more, please email the National Cycling Coordinator, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama [[email protected]].

We will be posting more formal details on the above over the coming weeks.

Irish Cycling Campaign New Name and Constitution Adopted

At the Cyclist.ie EGM on Thursday 4th January 2024 our new Constitution and new name were adopted unanimously. See link to new Constitution here

So we’re now a fully-fledged national organisation, the Irish Cycling Campaign. Dublin Cycling Campaign will be one of our local groups and paid up members of Dublin Cycling Campaign will transfer automatically to membership of the Irish Cycling Campaign.

The National Executive Committee will be working on the development of a new logo over the coming months and we look forward to launching a contemporary logo that reflects the new organisation around mid-year. In the interim we’ll use the temporary logo above. We’ll also be working on finalising an Operations Manual and developing a new web address, email addresses and social media handles to reflect the new name. 

These are exciting times in cycle campaigning so do get in touch if you would like to get involved. Keep an eye out for more information and news of developments on the website.

Partnership for Active Travel and Health – COP 28 Letter signed by Cyclist.ie

As Cyclist.ie has called for throughout its campaigning history, we need bold action to promote walking and cycling as part of the process of decarbonising our transport systems.

As COP28 takes place in Dubai, Cyclist.ie is proud to be joining hundreds of NGOs in signing a joint letter from The Partnership for Active Travel and Health to call on world leaders to promote active travel in facing the climate crisis – but we need more to join our open call!

Active travel delivers more than any other transport mode when it comes to sustainable development and climate action. If more people were enabled to walk and cycle safely, it could reduce transport emissions by as much as 50%!

Yet, the recent PATH report on the climate plans of UNFCCC countries – see here – reveals that only eight countries have properly linked walking and cycling with their climate plans!

Join us and call for bolder action by signing PATH’s COP28 letter.




IEN Gathering in Cloughjordan

Cyclist.ie is now a member of the Irish Environmental Network, as we report recently on our website here. So we were delighted to attend IEN’s recent Gathering of Members, held in Cloughjordan in County Tipperary from 24-26 November 2023. In this short report, Cyclist.ie Executive Committee Member Mary Sinnott shares her reflections on the weekend, which was also attended by Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, our National Cycling Coordinator.   

The weekend gathering took place in the Cloughjordan Enterprise Centre. It was a carefully considered, well planned, informal exchange that allowed new members like me to meet many other seasoned advocates. 

We had ample opportunity to get to know all attendees, learn from them, and understand common challenges. We had separate sessions on topical NGO challenges including: how to deal with misinformation and online abuse, environmental and ecological economics, preparing press releases, using social media effectively, and succession planning. All of those topics were engaging and provoked much constructive discussion. In developing into more effective and more professional organisations, succession planning is particularly important. The recent sudden passing of Andrew St. Ledger of CELT (see here) – and indeed today’s very sad news of the passing of Michael Ewing, the former Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar and IEN (see here) – reinforces sharply the relevance of this topic.

On Saturday afternoon, we had an outdoor session which commenced with the planting of an Irish oak tree to commemorate Andrew St. Ledger. The tour following this allowed us to explore the Eco-Village, to get to know each other better and to learn about how it was conceived and how it is developing. Thankfully, the crisp and cold November weather allowed us to enjoy it without much hurry.

More than anything, the weekend was fun, light, instructive and reassuring. I was quickly convinced that IEN is a very beneficial network for its members. Learning that the trick to advocacy is repetition and persistence was a reassuring diamond that I took home with me.

As Cyclist.ie has just recently been accepted as a member of IEN, having the chance to join its 2023 Gathering was timely and beneficial. It is very clear to me now that membership will offer us a wide network of NGOs to exchange and collaborate with, to share information and training supports, and avail of the financial benefit of membership. It is a network that this organisation will benefit from as we evolve and seek to meet our strategic aims. 

Cyclist.ie wishes to sincerely thank the IEN organisers for such a rich weekend of activities and for the warm welcome into the network.

And thanks to Davie Philip in Cultivate for the photos used above!

Cyclist.ie and Cycle Friendly Employer Ireland Forge an Alliance

Cyclist.ie is delighted to announce a collaboration with Cycle Friendly Employer Ireland. CFEI is the only official provider of the EU-standard Cycle-Friendly Employer programme in Ireland. Developed by the European Cyclists’ Federation, the programme is aimed at getting more people on bikes and cycling to work. Together, Cyclist.ie and CFEI support the development of more cycle-friendly routes nationwide and more funding opportunities for cycling. 

Cyclist.ie is the national cycling advocacy organisation for Ireland. At present it has 35 member groups countrywide in both urban and rural areas, and engages systematically with national level government departments and agencies, and with local authorities through its local groups. Cyclist.ie was founded in 2008 to advocate nationally for better cycling conditions, and built on the work of its member organisations, some of whom had commenced cycle campaigning over 30 years ago (as reported here). Cyclist.ie is the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation and has engaged closely on European transport policy formation, through the ECF, for many years. Cyclist.ie is also a member of the Irish Environmental Network and The Wheel (Ireland’s national association of charities, community groups and social enterprises).    

Cycle Friendly Employer Ireland is part of the European Cyclists’ Federation’s Cycle-Friendly Employer Consortium. Its goal is to help employers create cycle-friendly workplaces for their team, increase cycling confidence nationwide and encourage behaviour change to support Ireland’s green transition.

CFE is part of Ireland’s Sustainable Mobility Action Plan. Participation in the CFE scheme helps to:

  • Decrease carbon emissions
  • Reduce transport costs
  • Lower employee absence and improve wellbeing
  • Demonstrate one’s commitment to the environment and sustainability
  • Attract and retain talent and customers

The collaboration between Cyclist.ie and CFEI will work to increase awareness amongst companies / organisations in Ireland of the CFE certification framework, and of the campaigning and advocacy work of Cyclist.ie which is helping to reshape transport policy and culture in Ireland. 

On the announcement of the alliance, Mairéad Forsythe, Chairperson of the Board of Cyclist.ie, said 

“We are at an extremely exciting time in the development of cycling in Ireland. Cycling advocacy plays an integral and important role in influencing how progressive transport policy is developed, and Cyclist.ie is leading the way in recasting transport policy at local and national levels. But companies and other organisations also have a crucial role in influencing how employees commute to work – so Cyclist.ie is delighted to team up with Cycle Friendly Employer Ireland and help to shape how companies think about the development of local transport plans and the provision of cycling friendly infrastructure.”   


Meanwhile, Michael O’Boyle, CEO of Cycle Friendly Employer Ireland, said

“Companies and other organisations are now recognising the multiple benefits of having a healthy workforce with more employees cycling to work. It reduces emissions and is cheaper for employers and employees, and improves health outcomes. CFEI helps employers to measure their current cycle-friendliness and implement effective, actionable strategies to help more employees to cycle to work. 

Our services include bike pool schemes, insurance, maintenance support and facilities consultation, as well as building community within and between cycle-friendly organisations.

Individual action can have a big impact and we are delighted to team up with Cyclist.ie to promote cycling throughout Ireland.”

All in all, the alliance between the two organisations is a positive move for cycling development in Ireland. Both organisations look forward to seeing – and to contributing to – the development of a strong cycling culture countrywide.

More information at:
https://cyclist.ie/
https://www.cyclefriendlyemployer.ie/

Cyclist.ie now a member of Irish Environmental Network

Cyclist.ie is very happy to announce that it is now a member of the Irish Environmental Network. This comes following the recent approval of its application to join.  

As set out on its website, the Irish Environmental Network is a network of individual environmental Non-Government Organisations that work individually and, as appropriate, jointly to protect and enhance the environment, and to place environmental issues centre stage in Ireland and internationally. The IEN works to promote the interlinked principles of environmental, social and economic sustainability. The IEN represents to government the capacity building and funding needs of its member organisations, all of whom are involved in one way or another in the well-being, protection and enhancement of the environment. 

Underpinning Cyclist.ie’s successful application to join IEN is its not-for-profit and registered charity status, its national remit and its proven experience over many years in conducting high quality and high impact advocacy work in the environmental and sustainable transport spaces. 

On hearing the news of its successful application to IEN, the Chair of the Board of Cyclist.ie, Mairéad Forsythe, said:

Cyclist.ie is delighted to be part of the membership of IEN. We bring many years of sustainable transport advocacy experience to the network, and look forward to collaborating with other IEN members over the coming years.  

On becoming a member of IEN, Cyclist.ie joins other member organisations such as An Taisce, Friends of the Earth, Cultivate and Feasta. Cyclist.ie already has positive working relationships with many IEN member organisation from running and participating in joint campaigns and initiatives over the years.  

News of Cyclist.ie joining IEN comes shortly after Cyclist.ie’s major in person gathering of its groups/branches on 30th September and the 30th Birthday of the Dublin Cycling Campaign group – as we reported on here. Joining IEN represents another step in the growth and development of Cyclist.ie, and in making a bigger impact on public policy and on the culture of Ireland.