As the European populace is voting for their representatives in the new European Parliament later this week, we are extremely pleased to see strong cross-party support for cycling as the future of transport among the next generation of elected officials. This is the key result of the ECF European Parliament 2019 election campaign coordinated with our members over the last few weeks.
In 25 out of 28 Member States, candidates to become MEPs have been asked to complete a survey of their views on five of the most pressing issues for Europe’s cyclists. Candidates were also asked to sign the Cycling for All pledge, signing up to be champions for cycling in the next parliament.
Dublin City Council is hosting the Velo-City 2019 international cycling conference in Dublin from the 25th – 28th June 2019 in the Convention Centre Dublin. The Velo-City conference is the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) annual global cycling summit, and Dublin is proud to be hosing the conference this year. It is the world’s largest conference dedicated to cycling, cycling infrastructure, bicycle innovations, bicycle safety, and the social and cultural changes driven by cycling on a global scale. Delegates attending the conference will be involved in the areas of delivering safe cycling facilities, technology, health, behavioural change, urban and infrastructure policies and mobility.
Approximately 1500 delegates are scheduled to attend the event over the three-day period, providing a significant boost to the local economy. The conference title is ‘Cycling for the Ages’ and will explore visions for the cycling city of the future and how we get there from the cycling city of today; how can we support and design to ensure measures taken are inclusive for all ages, gender, abilities and nationalities.
“I’m very happy to lend my support to this important international conference. It’s an exciting event and it’s great to that Dublin City Council are hosting it. Encouraging and supporting people to walk and cycle is crucial to help meet our climate action challenge, tackling congestion and making our cities more liveable places. That’s why this Government is increasing the funding available to support the development of safe cycling infrastructure across the country both in urban areas, like Dublin city, and rural areas, through our new Greenways Strategy”, said Shane Ross TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
“This increased investment is supporting the delivery of a number of major projects in Dublin this year and over the coming years as the National Transport Authority continues to implement the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan, including the delivery of 200km of cycling infrastructure as part of the BusConnects programme,” he said.
One of the key social activities that Dublin City Council has organised for the delegates is a Bike Parade, which will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday the 26th of June. Delegates will travel along the Sutton to Sandycove (S2S) cycle route – one of Dublin City Council’s and the National Transport Authority’s flagship cycling projects, towards St. Anne’s Park. Joining them in the cycle parade will be a host of community groups, school children and cycling enthusiasts along the UNESCO designated Biosphere, a location that is one of the most highly designated and ecologically sensitive sites in the world. Upon arriving at the Park, there will be free family entertainment for all as well as a farmers’ market with foods such as artisan cheeses and preserves, organic meat, fresh baked bread, cakes and treats.
“We are delighted to host Velo-city 2019 and look forward to interesting and informative discussions from leaders in the cycling world”, said Owen Keegan, Chief Executive, Dublin City Council. “As part of our ongoing commitment to sustainable transport and delivering on our commitments to combating climate change, construction contracts will be awarded on three major cycleway projects in the city centre this year; the Clontarf to City Centre Cycleway, the Fitzwilliam Street Cycleway and the Royal Canal Way project; while design work is ongoing on the Dodder Greenway, Clonskeagh to City Centre, and the remaining sections of the Sutton to Sandycove Route (S2S). With the Liffey cycle route now out for public consultation all of these projects represent an important and exciting future for the city.”
“As a Smart City, we also constantly explore how technology can help increase cycling levels and we have worked in partnership with several companies and organisations trialling unique and smart solutions to promote and encourage cycling,” he said.
To coincide with Velo-city, Dublin City Council in partnership with Cycle Industries Europe and the European Cycling Federation, has announced the ‘Smart Pedal Pitch’, a search for the most innovative cycle tech solutions. Winning entries will get the chance to pitch to a global cycle audience as well as a panel of international judges from the tech and cycling world.
Over the course of the Velo-city Conference, sessions will focus on a broad range of engaging topics including; “Cycling & Climate Change – the opportunity”, “Cycling Road Space Design – to Share or Segregate”, Explaining and convincing for a better cycling city”. Keynote speakers at the Conference include; Owen Keegan, Chief Executive Dublin City Council, Anne Graham, CEO National Transport Authority, Philippe Crist, Advisor for Innovation and Foresight for the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), former professional cyclist, Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s first ever Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Lucy Saunders, public health specialist, urbanist and transport planner, creator of healthy Streets approach, Klaus Bondam, CEO of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation since 2014 and Amanda Ngabirano is an urban and regional planner, lecturing at Makerere University in Kampala and Vice President of the World Cycling Alliance in Africa. Conference Details
Major Health Bodies support call for Active Travel to be an integral part of the forthcoming All of Government Climate Action Plan
The Irish Heart Foundation, the Irish Cancer Society, Diabetes Ireland, Irish Doctors for the Environment, the Association of Health Promotion Ireland, Professor Donal O’Shea (National Clinical Lead for Obesity and Hon. President of Cyclist.ie), and the Irish Pedestrian Network have signed an open letter from Cyclist.ie to the Taoiseach asking for concrete measures to facilitate active travel to form an integral part of the forthcoming All of Government Climate Action Plan.
The Department of Transport’s walking and cycling budget is increasing this year, but planned expenditure comes nowhere near the 10% level demanded by Cyclist.ie for cycling in its Pre-Budget Submission 2019 and endorsed by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action (JOCCA). The ground-breaking report by the JOCCA makes a very strong case for active travel with the statement – “active travel measures are also among the most cost-effective emissions reduction strategies”. Our particular focus is how this needs to happen on health grounds. There is overwhelming evidence that lack of physical activity is a contributory cause in a host of debilitating chronic illnesses, including heart-disease, stroke, some cancers and diabetes. Hence the endorsement of the letter by all of the above health bodies. The forthcoming Climate Action Plan presents an opportunity to set targets for active travel which will contribute to reducing emissions and promoting health.
On Friday 5th April 2019 the head of the Irish Government, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (5th from the left), and his entourage visited the Great Southern Trail Greenway tunnel at Barnagh; 7km West of Newcastle West on the N21 road.
Read more on SouthernTrail
Back in September 2017, we were delighted to be contacted – completely out of the blue – by Toño Peña, the Vice-President of Biciclistas de Corella, a Spanish organisation promoting the bicycle as a means of transport. He was inquiring to see if Cyclist.ie would like to be a partner in an Erasmus+ project funding application he was leading on. The project was to be all about social inclusion, youth empowerment and sustainable transport. The answer was an emphatic ‘yes’!
Roll on March 2019, and after many months of SKYPE calls, emails, Garda vetting of volunteers and navigating labyrinthine forms for EU projects, we were part of an exciting partnership and on our way to the lovely town of Corella in the the region of Navarra. In the intervening period, Cyclist.ie had teamed up with Green Schools Ireland, and the other project partners were Frie Fugle and Cycling Without Age from Denmark, a youth association (LAG Suduva) from Lithuania, and the Alhama High School and Biciclistas de Corella in Spain. Crucially, on board with the adults from the cycling and environmental organisations above were school children from all four participating countries – around half a dozen from each. The pupils from Ireland came from St. Tiernan’s Community School in Dundrum. The adults comprised Dr. Damien Ó Tuama from Cyclist.ie, Jane Hackett from Green Schools, Martina O’Shea linked to the school, and Allison Roberts from Clonakilty Bicycle Festival (who was joined by her partner Justin and three year old Ari, all of whom were on bigger bicycling and camper-van adventures in Spain and Portugal at the time!).
All 40+ participants who travelled to Corella were treated to a wonderfully diverse and amazingly action-packed week of activities. We have to say that the crew from Biciclistas de Corella were the best hosts ever! Each day was jam-packed with formal and informal, indoor and outdoor, day-time and night-time activities of every type imaginable. Some of the highlights included a tree planting workshop, a lovely 40km cycle through a farming region to Fitero, a trip to the Bardenas Desert with a picnic and barbeque afterwards, a dancing workshop, a pottery-making session, singing jotas with the residents of the nursing home and then heading out with them on a Cycling Without Age trishaw, evening time dinners with home-made food provided by locals, visits to wineries, a trip to Pamplona and visiting the palace of Navarra, tortilla-making workshops, meeting the Mayor of Corella, visits to cathedrals….. and lots of presentations on cycling and cycle tourism. It is exhausting listing even some of our activities! Most importantly, we got a lovely warm welcome from the hosts and from everyone we met in the school and on our trips.
The first project meeting definitely succeeded in getting cycling campaigners and school pupils from four quite different countries swapping ideas with each other over the course of the week. It was educational, sociable and a breathe of fresh air for us all. Take a bow Toño, Cristina, Quique, Chivvy and team!
The next ‘mobility’ or trip for the project participants will be to Dublin in June and – as per the funding application submitted over a year ago – the plan is for the group to be here during the same week as the Velo-city Cycling Planning Conference at the end of June. As far as is possible, we will aim to knit into some of the Velo-city events such as the Cycle Parade and other side events, and Toño Peña himself will be presenting at the conference. Further trips will be to Copenhagen in October and Lithuania in mid 2020 – and then there will be a additional trip back to Ireland in 2021 and we are exploring the idea of heading to Clonakilty for the bicycle festival!
To hear more about the project, pop along to the public meeting of Dublin Cycling Campaign taking place on Monday 8th of April – details here – and/or get in contact with Cyclist.ie’s National Cycling Coordinator.
The route for a 5km cycle path along the river Liffey in Dublin has finally been selected by the National Transport Authority (NTA) seven years since planning for the project began.
The segregated cycle route from the Phoenix Park in the west to the Tom Clarke Bridge in the east is expected to cost more than €20 million and will run on both sides of the river.
More than 100 car parking spaces and 33 trees will be removed to facilitate the track, but unlike previous plans, cars or buses will not be diverted from the quays.
Read article (Irish Times)
NORMA PRENDIVILLE – normap@limerickleaderie
More than three decades after the Great Southern Trail Group was established, one of its founder members and current chairman, Liam O’Mahony has been invited to address the conference of the European Greenways Association on the issue of citizen involvement.
The conference, which takes place in Spain next week, has attracted participants from countries all over Europe including a speaker from the Department of Transport and Tourism who will outline the Irish strategy in developing Greenways.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader in advance of the conference, Mr O’Mahony said the building of an underpass to Barnagh Tunnel, currently underway, was to be welcomed.
The application by Kerry County Council for funds to develop two stretches of the old Great Southern railway line from the Limerick border to Listowel and from Tralee to Fenit was also a positive, he said.
But he questioned whether there was “joined-up” thinking between the Kerry and Limerick councils on the matter and argued that an opportunity was being missed to e develop a national greenway.
“It appears that both councils are working independently of each other” Mr O’Mahony said. “Kerry is not even using the Great e Southern tag in their two projects.
“Both councils have also failed to highlight that the railway route is 100km long,” he pointed out.
He is also concerned that the momentum that was injected when Limerick City and County Council took over management of the Limerick trail in 2016 has faded.
“A grand plan is one. Implementation is something else.”
And he has voiced concern that the Great Southern Trail group, is once again being sidelined. When the idea of a trail along the railway line was first raised, Shannon Development ignored the group and effectively “created the opposition among landowners”, he said. For ten years, Mr O’Mahony said, the trail group was “regarded as an undesirable element.”
But the group persisted in its plan, gradually doing stretches of the line and gained recognition. Now, Mr O’Mahony feels the group is again being ignored. “Now everybody seems to be consulted except us’ he said. “Anything suggested by us has been put on the long finger,” he said.
And he includes in this, a suggestion from the trail group to site artefacts of railway heritage along the route. These include old wagons, wheels etc. which could be adapted to new purposes but would serve as reminders of the past.
The group however, is particularly concerned about preserving the integrity of the line.
“When the GST Group was developing 40km of the old railway line in Limerick, it prevailed, despite trenchant opposition form some sources, in preserving the integrity of the route,” Mr O’Mahony said.
“It is a matter of much regret that in 2017, Limerick City and County Council failed to develop a stretch from Rathkeale to Ballingrane Junction due to local opposition. To compound this failure, there are indications the council is now contemplating a deviation from the already developed 40km Greenway to facilitate one individual.”
This is totally unacceptable to the Trail Group, he continued, and could set a precedent for further deviation in the yet to be developed stretches of the line.
“Our position is clear: State-owned railway routes are not up for grabs by private individuals.” he said.
To cut greenhouse gas emissions we need to increase cyclist numbers and that means getting more women on their bikes
So much of the world around us is designed for men; from the mundane (public toilets and smartphones) to the potentially deadly (stab vests and crash test dummies). My own research, recently launched at the C40 Women4Climate conference, revealed similar trends in how we design cities and formulate transport policy, with devastating consequences.
Transportation accounts for up to one-third of greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s biggest cities and traffic is the largest source of toxic air pollution. To create sustainable, healthy and liveable cities, we need to increase the number of cyclists on our streets, and that means getting more women on their bikes. In San Francisco, only 29% of cyclists are women; in Barcelona, there are three male cyclists for every female cyclist; in London, 37% of cyclists are female.
So what can cities do to get more women cycling?
The introduction date for more aerodynamic, safer truck cabs on Europe’s roads will be brought forward to 1 September 2020, EU lawmakers agreed yesterday. The European federation of transport NGOs, Transport & Environment (T&E), welcomed the reform which will speed the roll-out of more rounded truck fronts that allow drivers to better see pedestrians and cyclists and improve fuel efficiency.
Under the changes agreed last night, truckmakers will be permitted an additional 80-90cm of cab length in return for improving the aerodynamics, vision, safety and driver comfort of the truck cab.
James Nix, T&E’s freight and climate director, said: “For decades EU law prohibited truckmakers from producing more streamlined, rounded cabs, holding back safety and aerodynamics. Today’s decision puts an end to this and paves the way for more fuel efficient and safer trucks to hit the road from next year, many years earlier than previously agreed.”
Today’s trucks account for 2% of vehicles on the road but 15% of fatalities, amounting to 4,000 deaths every year across Europe. Around 1,000 of these deaths are cyclists and pedestrians. Combined with other design changes, the reform will also enable emissions reductions and fuel savings of up to 10% from long-haul trucks.
On 21 February, legislators will decide on another key reform – the introduction of a ‘direct vision’ standard for new trucks in the General Safety Regulation – in a vote by the European Parliament’s internal market committee (IMCO). The standard is expected to set out the area surrounding a truck cab the driver must be able to see without using mirrors or cameras, thus improving safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
James Nix concluded: “The design change just agreed will help consign the brick-shaped cab to history. However, unlike for cars, there is still no minimum area of the road that truck drivers must be able to see directly. MEPs should now pass the direct vision standard which will go a step further in making Europe’s roads safer for all.”
T&E noted that the reform of truck cab design has taken place in less than nine months, showing that the EU can move speedily. The proposal was published as part of the mobility reform package in mid-May 2018.