All posts by John

Great Southern Greenway: Limerick – Kerry

Inching forward: two reports now issued, from Kerry County Council, on the the Fenit and Listowel Greenways

They contain a lot of information including maps and photographs. Also included are the 350 or so submissions on the project with over 300 of these being from the general public

Background: this Greenway follows the route of the old Limerick – Tralee/Fenit railway line. Currently a stretch between Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale is open, in co. Limerick. The current documents relate to the Kerry section of the route, currently mostly undeveloped.

Main website: http://www.southerntrail.net/

 

Cyclists call on gardaí to protect them from road rage drivers

Cyclists have called for more action by gardaí to protect cyclists after a number of apparent road rage incidents emerged in videos on social media.

The call came after dash-cam footage of an incident involving a cyclist and taxi driver on Belvedere Road between North Circular Road and Dorset Street in north Dublin was published on social media on Wednesday.

Read article (which contains video)

Cycle Right or Cycle Wrong?

In 2017, Deputy Catherine Murphy addressed a question in the Dail about the management of the cycle training programme Cycle Right, specifically the anticipated increase in cycling to school and the benchmark for success. This was against a background in the UK of increased training having no significant effect on cycling levels unless accompanied by the provision of high quality infrastructure.

The response by Minister Shane Ross was in short that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport had no idea about how effective the scheme would be and did not have any benchmark for success.

In 2018, one year on from having introduced the scheme, Deputy Catherine Murphy again asked about the effectiveness of Cycle Right. (​ See full transcript of question and answer) In a rambling response, the Minister Shane Ross confirmed that there was no data available on the number of children cycling to school directly as a result of Cycle Right training.

He did state that in 2017, 15,245 pupils participated in Cycle Right training in 428 schools. which means that 4% of primary schools pupils (if only primary schools took part) 1 or 2.7% of all pupils received cycle training. He went on to state that

“This cycle training ……. will result, over time, in an increase in the number of responsible cyclists on our roads. As Cycle Right is essentially a training programme, we will continue to monitor it based on the number of participants ……

There is no evidence that cycle training on its own will lead to increased cycling. In stating the increase in terms of additional responsible cycling, it could be interpreted that there would be no additional cyclists – only more ‘responsible’ ones. The statement that they will continue to monitor Cycle Right based on the number of participants is “flannel”. Of course the Department is going to continue to monitor the scheme as it is funded on the basis of a payment per head.

The response to the parliamentary question then rambles on to discuss the Green Schools programme although Green Schools were not referred to in the question. The Green School programme monitors the number of children travelling by active means but only those schools which are participating in the Travel Module. Any school which is not participating in the Travel Module or in the Green Schools programme is not monitored. The survey results report an increase from 3% to 4% over two years. This is more selective hype and spin by the Minister and his Department as they aggregate the results over more than one year in order to boost the results.

So now we know that only a small percentage of pupils receive cycle training and nobody has any idea about its effectiveness. This lack of interest in its outcome begs the question what is this Minister and / or senior management doing?

Minister Ross announces additional Funding for New Safety Measures for Cyclists

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross T.D. today confirmed an additional €400,000 of funding  is being made available to Dublin City Council for investment in cycling safety infrastructure.

Speaking at today’s announcement Minister Ross commented –

“I want to encourage more people to cycle and I realise that safety is a concern to many, so I am continuing to invest in safety measures for cyclists. This €400,000 will improve safety for cyclists at 40 key junctions across Dublin City Centre and is a great example of my Department and the National Transport Authority working with local authorities to improve cycling and walking infrastructure generally.”

This investment will be used to  fund Dublin City Council’s installation of  smart cyclist detection equipment at 40 key junctions around Dublin. This new traffic management feature aims to make busy junctions safer for cyclists by using smart technology to regulate traffic more effectively. In particular these measures will help alleviate concerns of cyclists regarding collisions and crossing times at busy junctions.

Minister Ross stated: “This funding is in addition to the €110million I have already secured for the development of cycling and walking infrastructure across the country over the next 4 years. Furthermore, significant investment is planned under the BusConnects programme in Dublin, which will deliver around 200km of, where possible, segregated cycle paths.”

The Department is also a key sponsor of Velo-City 2019 and is working closely with Dublin City Council (DCC), who will host the event.  The Minister said “I am delighted to support this prestigious event and look forward to welcoming the conference, delegates and sponsors back to Dublin in June of next year.”

The Minister also wished the NTA’s Smarter Travel Team success for their ‘Reboot your Commute’ campaign that is launching tomorrow and thanked the National Transport Authority and DCC for their continued commitment to improving infrastructure.

Westminster council’s actions show it puts cars first, not people

Bad day for London’s cyclists …

A legal challenge by Westminster city council to block a major cycle route in London has succeeded on a procedural point, in a move that could send Transport for London back to the drawing board and set safety improvements to one of London’s most dangerous junctions back by months.

The council’s successful judicial review of Cycle Superhighway 11 (CS11), which was due to run from Swiss Cottage to Portland Place, is the latest of its blocks to cycling, walking and road safety improvements. Following the scrapping of the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, the review has cemented Westminster’s reputation as the car-is-king borough of London. Read full article

 

Cyclist.ie Budget 2019 #Allocate4Cycling

Cyclist.ie wants the Government to tackle Climate Change, our Health Crisis, and get better value for taxpayers’ money, by prioritising investing in cycling. Below is a Summary of Cyclist.ie’s submission to Finance for Budgetary Consideration.

This is a summary; this is the Full Submission

We are calling for 10% of Ireland’s Land Transport Budget to be spent on Cycling

10 Reasons to Prioritise Investment in Cycling

  1. It provides excellent value for money and addresses numerous government policies
  2. Helps tackle congestion
  3. Helps people get the exercise they need, improves public health, and saves money for the Health Service
  4. Can improve psychological well-being
  5. Will improve safety for cyclists and for other vulnerable road users
  6. Can help us meet our Climate Change Obligations
  7. Doesn’t’ generate air or noise pollution
  8. Can create better public places
  9. Offers an affordable mobility option for all
  10. Can boost local economic activity

What is the current situation?

  1. Cycling gets about 2% of the land transport budget and this has fallen in recent years
  2. 15 cyclists were killed on Irish roads in 2017 as a result of a collision involving a motorist. That is, the highest number in a decade
  3. Transport accounts for 20% of Ireland’s overall emissions
  4. Car dependence imposes significant economic costs on Irish society. The cost of congestion in the Greater Dublin Area was €358m in 2012 and is continuing to rise. The cost of congestion for all of Ireland was roughly €1.8bn
  5. The average cost of running a family car for a year in Ireland is approx €10,700
  6. The Healthy Ireland Framework and the National Physical Activity Plan recognise the importance of active travel to improve the health and well-being of the population
  7. The DTTAS Strategic Investment Priorities for Land Investment Policy states we must tackle urban congestion through improving walking and cycling
  8. The UN Environment Programme calls for 20% of transport funding to be spent on walking and cycling

Cyclist.ie’s Budget Priority Recommendations

Prioritise Investment in High Quality Safe Cycling Infrastructure

  • 10% of the Land Transport Budget to be invested in high quality cycling infrastructure. Expedite the Development of strategic cycling infrastructure projects. All planned primary and secondary cycle routes in major towns and cities and all projects in the GDA Cycle Network Plan to be completed as soon as possible
  • Cycling to be integrated into the transport system for all major public transport projects
  • All planned transport infrastructure including new roads, road upgrades junction design to take account of cycling, and comply with the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DMURS) and The National Cycling Manual
  • Increase projected funding for Rural Greenways, especially those close to settlements and gathering points

Set up a dedicated National Cycling Office

  • DTTAS to appoint a National Cycling Officer at senior level who will head a National Cycling Office to promote and coordinate cycling development across Government Departments and nationally
  • Dedicated cycling officers to be appointed in every local authority to promote and coordinate cycling development locally

Invest in Safety and Awareness

  • Cycle Training to be available in all primary and secondary schools free of charge, and expansion of Cycle Training to 3rd level students and all adults
  • Increase in monetary fines for motoring offences impacting on cyclists, currently €60 whereas €80 for other offences
  • Introduction of fresh cycle friendly legislative initiatives to promote growth of cycling, including Safe Passing Distance, Contraflow Cycling, Left turn at red lights, Joint use of pedestrian and zebra crossings, and Cycle Priority Streets
  • Resourcing and training of Garda in cycle related legislation, and ‘Bike Start’ training to be introduced into the Garda College. Resourcing of greater levels of Garda enforcement of bike related vehicle offences
  • Taxi drivers to undergo Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) standard certification to ensure their skills are brought up to PSO standard
  • Extension of the Bike to Work scheme

Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, is the umbrella organisation for cycling advocacy groups in Ireland and is the Irish member of ECF, the European Cyclists’ Federation

Full submission

CONTACT: Colm Ryder, Chairperson – Tel 0872376130 – Email

European Cities Could Avoid up to 10,000 Premature Deaths by Expanding Cycling Networks

A study led by researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has found that expanding designated cycling networks in cities could provide considerable health and economic benefits, with a rate of return of up to 70 € for every euro invested.

The analysis – part of European Commission funded Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches (PASTA) project – of data from 167 European cities suggests that the length of cycling infrastructures is associated with a cycling mode share of up to 24.7%, in which 1 in every 4 citizens would choose the bicycle for their daily commuting. The study, published in Preventive Medicine, estimates that if all the assessed cities achieved a 24.7% bicycle mode share, over 10,000 premature deaths could be avoided annually. Read article

Valuing Cycling in the European Parliament: How to address the €80 billion cost of physical inactivity?

The epidemic of physical inactivity was the main topic of discussion at the Sport intergroup conference in the European Parliament (EP) last week. Its €80 billion cost, first raised by Marisa Fernandez Esteban of the EU Sport Unit was repeated over and over. ECF’s response to this public health crisis is the EU Cycling Strategy, with its 2030 aims to increase cycling by 50%, reduce cycling fatalities by 50%, thereby adding 225,000 jobs and 250 billion euros to the cycling economy. “If every EU citizen did just 15 minutes more of cycling or walking each day, we’d save 100,000 lives from unnecessary early deaths each year,” said ECF health policy officer Dr. Randy Rzewnicki. “Walking and cycling is the best buy for EU cities and towns,” he said, “We’re working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to make that message clear in many ways: including free training in the Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) and supporting the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA).” Read article

Leitrim Cycling Festival

Leitrim Cycling Festival will take place from the 22nd to the 24th of June in Manorhamilton and Dromahair. The aim of the festival is to celebrate the locality for its wonderful cycling routes, to bring people together to learn about the future of cycling in the area, to build a community that can be involved in developing the area and to have some fun.

Website and poster