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An Taisce and Cyclist.ie Erasmus+ learning and Training trip to Lithuania

After a hiatus of almost two years, the Erasmus+ project that Cyclist.ie is part of through our partnership with An Taisce Green Schools, recommenced with a training and learning tour of Lithuania in the middle of November. In this article, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, National Cycling Coordinator with Cyclist.ie and An Taisce, reflects on the visit and on reconnecting with a wonderful team of advocates from the four participating countries.

The Erasmus+ Project

For those less familiar with it, Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. The programme places a strong focus on social inclusion, the green and digital transitions, and promoting young people’s participation in democratic life. You can find out more about Erasmus+ here.  

This particular Erasmus+ project, entitled “Sustainable Mobility, Sustainable Community”, combined themes of social inclusion, intergenerational relationships, community building and sustainable mobility. The partners comprised organisations from Ireland, Denmark, Lithuania and Spain (the lead partners). You can read more on the background to the project on a Cyclist.ie web article from April 2019 covering the first of the four exchanges visits (the lovely training and learning visit to Corella in Spain), and you also can check out the overarching blog for the project here.  

The learning and training visit to Lithuania had an action-packed and diverse schedule of outdoor and indoor events, with a lot of thought and preparation going into the programme. Huge credit must go to our principal contact in Lithuania, Reda Kneizeviciene, for curating the multi-day programme. 

I highlight below some of the most memorable aspects of the visit to Lithuania, but note that it is certainly not exhaustive in terms of covering all of the events we took part in. Overall, we had three very full days of activities plus some extra events on our arrival and departure days.

Arrival Day – Tue 16 Nov

After visiting friends in Warsaw, I travelled overland from the Polish capital to Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. The bus trip took around 10 hours, and I received a lovely welcome at Vilnius bus station from Reda Kneizevičienė, the lead on the Lithuanian team, along with her son Jonas and nephew. Similarly, the partners from Spain and Denmark were met at the airport with warm welcomes before our reunion in the local hotel.  

Damien Ó Tuama and Reda Kneizevičienė

Full Day #1 – Wed 17 Nov

One of the undoubted highlights of our trip was our visit to the Seimas, the Parliament of Lithuania. We were treated to a full guided tour of the building, including the old and new parliamentary chambers, before the conference commenced. 

The title of the conference was “Examples of sustainable development in volunteering activities: when both the environment and the public benefit” and it was opened by Mr. Simonas Gentvilas, Minister of the Environment in the Lithuanian government. We were also lucky enough to meet the Speaker of the House, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, who is herself former twice world chess champion. 

L-R: Reda Kneizevičienė, Tono Pena De Marcos (Vice-President, Biciclistas de Corella, and Coordinator of the project), Ms Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen (Speaker of the Seimas of the Lithuanian Republic) and Mr. Simonas Gentvilas (Minister of the Environment in the Lithuanian government)  

And the full team! 

There were informed presentations given by representatives of each of the project partners, in addition to ones delivered by reps from the Transport Ministry, the City of Vilnius and the Lithuanian Cycling Community (itself a member group of the European Cyclists’ Federation – see here). The full programme for the conference can be read here and the YouTube video capturing all of the recorded presentations can be viewed here (with Damien’s presentation commencing at 2h 10min).  

Damien Ó Tuama from Cyclist.ie and An Taisce addressing the conference

Jens Erik Larsen from Denmark addressing the conference. In the background is an image from 1990 on the day Lithuania gained its independence from the Soviet Union.

The formalities of the conference were followed by a much more informal – and ever so slightly bitterly cold – evening time bike tour of Vilnius. Lovely to see the old and new parts of the city, with an entertaining and knowledgeable tour guide. Very enjoyable indeed. Some pics from the trip are below. They include an image of a plaque on Paupio street within “The Republic of Užupis” in Vilnius – one of 25 plaques in different languages showing the Constitution of the district of Užupis.

The first 10 articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Užupis read as follows (see here for them all):

  1. Everyone has the right to live by the River Vilnelė, and the River Vilnelė has the right to flow by everyone.
  2. Everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter and a tiled roof.
  3. Everyone has the right to die, but this is not an obligation.
  4. Everyone has the right to make mistakes.
  5. Everyone has the right to be unique.
  6. Everyone has the right to love.
  7. Everyone has the right not to be loved, but not necessarily.
  8. Everyone has the right to be undistinguished and unknown.
  9. Everyone has the right to idle.
  10. Everyone has the right to love and take care of the cat.

Following the bike tour, we had dinner in the lovely Socialinis Restoranas “Pirmas blynas”  restaurant which is located in the basement of a church. It was set up by a Dutch chap (pictured below) with a culinary and social mission to employ people with intellectual disabilities. Fab food and atmosphere there and a terrific enterprise overall. 

A group picture after dinner in the lovely Pirmas Blynas restaurant 

The location of the Pirmas Blynas restaurant

Our day finished with a bus journey to the Suvalkija region, stopping off en route for a night-time visit to the stunning Trakai Island Castle.

Day #2 – Thursday 18 Nov

Our second full day in Lithuania was another action-packed one, with trips to a transport and technology museum, the Marijampolé Technical College, the school attended by the Lithuanian pupils taking part in the Erasmus+ project, a “Bunny Museum” and then, finally, a meeting in the hotel to review the 3 year project as a whole. The pictures below will illustrate some of these visits and meetings.  

The Director of Marijampolé Technical College showing us the robotics laboratory. 

The Bunny Museum which draws upon the rich rabbit history of the region.

Representatives from each of the partner organisations taking part in the final project meeting. The session focused on assessing the project as a whole and considered future possibilities for international collaborations. 

Day #3 – Friday 19 Nov

Our third and final full day was spent in the more rural parts of the Suvalkija region and it commenced with a visit to a local community centre and a tree planting session in the Antavanas Historical Park.

We planted one oak tree for each of the partner countries – Ireland, Denmark, Spain and Lithuania. The planting is symbolically important to mark the Erasmus+ project itself and our learning and training visit to the country, but also as a part off-setting for the carbon cost associated with the groups travelling (by air) to Lithuania. 

Rebecca from Biciclistas de Corella and Damien from Cyclist.ie planting the Irish tree!

Further tree planting with Reda taking the lead.

A final photo before leaving the lovely community centre – with Chifly (in green), Tono (in navy), Jens Erik (in grey) and one of the woman from the centre.

Our Lithuanian partners, LAG Suduva, have recently created a trail in the forest in the region – and next up was a visit there to check it out. It’s a 14-kilometer trail that will connect Kazlu Ruda with three more villages: Kadliskes, Jurés and Agurkiskes. For more information on this see here.  

Launching the trail!

And some further shots from the local area.

One of the many wooden churches and buildings of the region. 

Jens Erik Larsen, one of the founders of the Euro Velo network of trans-continental cycle routes (see here), sharing with the local hosts his knowledge of the history of road traffic warning signage. In this case, Jens Erik reflected on the sign showing (scared) children racing across the road so as to dodge (speeding) motor vehicles.   

Perhaps the most fascinating visit on our trip was to the Kardokai Village Nature School, where the pupils themselves took our Erasmus+ group on a walking tour. The school itself has been developed over the last four or five years or so, and has pupils up to the mid-teens at the moment. The class rooms comprise various interesting wood and straw bale built buildings – as well as clearings in the forest – and with the curriculum very much ecologically focused and with an emphasis on developing practical food growing, building and other skills. This visit was of particular interest to the Danish and Spanish school teachers in the group. 

Many of the existing school classrooms / buildings, and those under construction, are geodesic domes – quite elegant structures.

The final formal event of our trip was a traditional Lithuanian Folk evening – a session of dance, music, cooking and dining! Some photos below will give a flavour.

Traditional Lithuanian dance with local musicians supported by Spanish, Danish and Irish band members!

‘Eggie’, the Lithuanian student, giving his highly entertaining live translations of the descriptions of traditional Lithuanian weaving at the folk evening. 

Participants receiving their Certificates of Participation in the 4th Learning & Training stage of the “Sustainable Mobility, Sustainable Community” Erasmus + project after dinner. Congratulations Juan!

Departure Day – Saturday 20 Nov

Saturday was departure day for us all, but we managed to squeeze in a visit to and walking tour of Kaunas, the second city of Lithuania, en route to Vilnius. 

Tono and Cristina from Corella

More geodesic domes – and note the trick of using inflated car tubes under the ladder to prevent damage to the structures while they are under construction. 

In Conclusion

This Erasmus+ learning and training tour, like the previous ones of the project, was a truly wonderful experience – action-packed with diverse activities each day, educational, sociable and very inclusive in every sense of the term.

I want to thank Reda Kneizeviciene once again for curating the whole programme under difficult Covid influenced circumstances – and also thank all of the other most hospitable Lithuanian hosts.

From a transport perspective, I was struck by the depth of car culture in Lithuania (and especially Vilnius) – similar to many other European countries including Ireland. There is still much to do to create the conditions to nurture a stronger everyday cycling culture in both urban and rural areas. It would be lovely though to revisit the country in the summertime to compare and contrast cycling numbers!  

It was disappointing, of course, that pupils from Spain, Ireland and Denmark were not permitted to travel for this trip – they were certainly missed, especially by their Lithuanian counterparts – but very much understandable given the public health context. 

From my own perspective, it was lovely to make friends and forge connections with brilliant activists and volunteers from all of the partner organisations – and I look forward to meeting them again in the not-so-distant future. 

Our group in the (old) Lithuanian Parliament

Cyclist.ie would certainly love to be involved in other sustainable mobility related Erasmus+ projects in the future, so please get in touch with [email protected] if you are interested in possible collaborations.

Finally, thanks again to those whose photographs I borrowed for this article – especially Reda Kneizeviciene and our chief official photographer Juan Luis (‘Chifly’) from Corella! Much appreciated indeed. 

Damien Ó Tuama
06.12.2021 

Open Letter to World Leaders at COP26

Cyclist.ie and ECF call on governments at COP26 to boost cycling levels to reduce carbon emissions and reach climate goals quickly and effectively

The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and a global coalition of 80 pro-cycling organisations, including Irish member Cyclist.ie, have issued an open letter calling on governments attending COP26 in Glasgow to commit to significantly increasing the number of people who cycle in their countries in order to reach global climate goals quickly and effectively.

The world needs much more cycling if we are to combat climate change. Without quicker and more determined action by governments worldwide to cut transport carbon emissions, we will be dooming present and future generations to a world that is more hostile and much less inhabitable.  Frans Timmermans, the Director of the EU Green Deal, says that ‘the bicycle is the most important instrument in meeting climate change targets’.

CO₂ emissions from the transport sector continue to increase. Meanwhile, the transition to zero-emission cars and trucks will take decades to complete and will not solve other problems like traffic congestion and sedentary lifestyles. Despite this, COP26 Transport Day on 10 November is set to focus exclusively on the electrification of road vehicles as a solution to the climate crisis we are facing today.  This proposal is too narrow focussed and will only lead to further road congestion, and continued inappropriate travel methods.  The bicycle and in particular Electric Bicycles has a major part to play.

ECF and its allies believe cycling represents one of humanity’s greatest hopes for a shift towards a zero-carbon future. Bicycle use produces zero emissions, delivers wide ranging positive societal impacts and – most importantly – is a technology that is already widely available today. The world cannot afford to wait decades for fossil-fuel cars to be fully phased out and replaced by electric vehicles. We must urgently leverage the solutions that cycling offers by radically scaling up its use, including the potential that electric bicycles offer to extend journey lengths, and support lifetime cycling.

The signatories to this open letter call on governments and leaders, including the Irish Government, attending COP26 to declare commitments to significantly boost cycling levels at home and collectively commit to achieving a global target of higher cycling levels. The letter was sent to governments and transport ministers ahead of COP26. 

Colm Ryder, Chairperson of Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network: ‘Cycling development is a vital key to unlocking the transport potential of our island, and to tackling climate change.  Irish citizens must be given a real transport choice through the provision of a countrywide network of safe and segregated infrastructure.

Jill Warren, CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation: “There is no conceivable way for governments to reduce CO₂ emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst of the climate crisis without significantly more cycling. The devastating effects of accelerating global warming should be clear to everyone, and boosting cycling levels is the best way to quickly cut carbon emissions from transport on a massive scale.”

Henk Swarttouw, President of European Cyclists’ Federation and of the World Cycling Alliance: “Cycling should be a cornerstone of global, national and local strategies to meet net-zero carbon targets. At COP26, governments must commit to providing the financing and legislation for safe and equitable space for cycling everywhere. Citizens are ready for the 

About the European Cyclists’ Federation: With over 60 member organisations across more than 40 countries, the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) is the world’s largest and best-known cyclists’ advocacy organisation. Our aim is to improve and increase cycling by influencing policy and harnessing the power of the European cycling movements.

Contacts: 
Colm Ryder, Chairperson, Cyclist.ie
    Tel: 087-2376130, Email: [email protected]

Dr Damien Ó Tuama, Cyclist.ie National Cycling Coordinator,
    Tel:  087-2840799 Email:  [email protected]

Cycling is my Superpower – Polish Embassy in Ireland Initiative

Cyclist.ie is delighted to spread the word about the fabulous Cycling is my Superpower initiative being promoted by the Polish Embassy in Ireland.

We have always maintained in Cyclist.ie that cycling gives us extra powers, so it is great to have that endorsed by the Polish Embassy.

Check out the information below, including details of how to win a bicycle of your dreams!  

ATTENTION ALL CHILDREN age 6-10 living in Ireland!!

Celebrate Children’s Day (June 1st) and World Bicycle Day (June 3rd) with us and take part in an art competition CYCLING IS MY SUPERPOWER!

The main prize is a bicycle of your dreams!
Watch this video to find out more:

We are calling on all children aged from 6 to 10 to take part in an art competition: Cycling is My Superpower! The main prize is a bicycle!

If you live in Ireland and attend Senior Infants, 1st, 2nd or 3rd class and you like both cycling and art, then this competition is for you!

Create your own artwork related to the theme Cycling is My Superpower!

It could be any type of drawing/painting in A4 size – done in pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, crayon, markers, pastel, watercolour, gouache, acrylics, oils, poster colour or collage.

What’s important is that you do the work yourself and that this is your original idea.

Don’t forget to sign your name at the back of your artwork. Also, ask your parents / guardians to fill out an entry form for you.

Send both the artwork and the entry form by post before Monday, 21 June to the following address:

Polish Embassy in Dublin
5 Ailesbury Rd,
Ballsbridge,
D04 W221

At the Embassy, we will select the 30 best works and upload them online for a popular vote on Embassy’s Facebook page. The winner will be announced on June 30th!

More info on the competition, Entry Form and Competition Rules are available at:

Website: www.gov.pl/ireland/cyclingismysuperpower
Facebook: https://fb.watch/5RKvoSlvyG/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PLinIreland/status/1399648785056387072?s=20

Have a great CHILDREN’S DAY!!!

SIXTH UN Global Road Safety Week – Love 30, Streets for Life – 17 to 23 May 2021

Why Ireland Needs 30km/h Urban Speed Limits

What difference does 30km/h make?

At 60km/h one in ten pedestrians survive collisions between car and pedestrians, while at 30km/h nine in ten pedestrians survive – see graphic below.  For the 6th UN Global Road Safety Week , The UN is calling on policymakers to act for low speed streets worldwide, limiting speeds to 30 km/h where people walk, live and play.  This call echoes the 2020 Stockholm Declaration where Ireland was one of the co signatories pledging 30km/h urban speed limits.

We need to make this happen!

A 30km/h speed limit introduces calmer, safer roads and shorter braking distance. It gives the driver a better view of their surroundings and makes it easier for them to see any pedestrians crossing the road, cyclists and other vehicles and allows more time for drivers to react to the unexpected.

For 2021, the theme of the week is ‘Streets for life’ and this has never been more important as people spend more time in their own localities. 30km/h makes our cities, towns and villages safer places to live.  It allows children and those with limited mobility to move more freely and it creates vibrant people-friendly spaces.

Road traffic injuries rank among the top four causes of death for all children after infancy.  Crashes on the roads account for one third of all injury deaths across all age groups – pre-schoolers, older children or teenagers.

There was 6% increase in the number of people who died on Irish roads in 2020 as against 2019, despite a reduction in overall traffic volumes.  A total of 149 people died on Irish roads in 2020 – compared to 140 in 2019. This included 10 people on bikes.  

However, overall the measures taken to reduce road trauma are working: between 2013 and 2019, Ireland saw a 26% reduction in road traffic fatalities, compared to just a 6% reduction across the whole of the EU-27.  We had the two safest years on record for road fatalities in 2018 and 2019, and slowing down will ensure that this overall long-term downward trend in collisions and fatalities will continue. 

Many cities and urban areas worldwide have introduced widespread 30 km/h limits. Several countries are introducing default 30 km/h speed limits in all urban areas including The Netherlands, Spain, and Wales (20 m/h). Some locations have speed limits as low as 10 km/h. Love 30 and Cyclist.ie believe that Ireland, as a signatory of the Stockholm Declaration, must follow this best international practice and legislate for a default 30 km/h limit in all built-up areas.

Ends

For further information, contact:

Mairéad Forsythe: 086-8337577
Caitríona Corr: 083-0238790

https://www.love30.ie/

UNDER-REPORTING OF CYCLIST COLLISIONS – RESEARCH BY KEVIN GILDEA (TCD)

In this article, PhD researcher Kevin Gildea from Trinity College Dublin describes some recent findings from his RSA funded research project related to cyclist safety in Ireland. Cyclist.ie wishes to sincerely thank Kevin for taking the time to pen this article for us.

Kevin’s full paper, entitled “Characteristics of cyclist collisions in Ireland: Analysis of a self-reported survey”, has been published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention and can be found via this link.

The broad aims of our project are 1) to characterise cyclist collision risks in Ireland, and 2) to determine engineering-based prevention strategies. This project forms part of a broader strategy to improve cyclist safety in Ireland, and to attract more people to start using their bicycles.

Under-reporting in Ireland

Since embarking on this project I have heard numerous stories from people involved in collisions while cycling, noting that many of these are unlikely to have come to the attention of the Gardaí. I then investigated other work that Irish researchers have done in this area, specifically, from our colleagues Jack Short and Brian Caulfield in the Civil Engineering Department in Trinity College Dublin, who showed that cyclist collisions are the least likely collision type to be reported to the Gardaí. These unseen cases likely held some important cyclist safety insights, however, there was not any database that contained information for these collisions. All we had was anecdotal information from conversations with cyclists. We had to put some manners on this, so, in 2018 we designed and distributed a survey nationally across the Republic of Ireland.

Firstly, the study highlights a large amount of underreporting for cyclist collisions in Ireland – roughly ¾ of respondents involved in injurious collisions did not report the incident to the Gardaí. Furthermore the findings indicate that many minor injuries do not appear in hospital data. This is important since road safety priorities in Ireland are based on analysis of Garda data or hospital data, though primarily using Garda data. So, a major challenge with understanding the overall burden of cyclist collisions in Ireland relates to a substantial proportion of missing data. This is not a problem specific to Ireland – very few countries have the mechanisms in place to capture information on these under reported collisions.

How can data collection be improved?

This is a tricky issue. Some countries systematically link their Police and hospital data (e.g. Sweden). Our study indicates that combined monitoring of Garda and hospital data may be effective for monitoring Serious injury collisions, however, they would not effectively capture Minor injury collisions. Our results indicate that roughly 80% of Minor injuries would not be tracked. For these we must make it easier for road users to self-report their collisions, possibly via an online platform. For example, in the Metropolitan Police in London have an online platform for reporting collisions (https://www.met.police.uk/). Another option would be to include a module on road traffic collisions in the Irish National Travel Survey.

Reporting Biases

We also investigated the factors that have effect on whether or not cyclist collisions are reported to the Gardaí. Our main findings here is that injury severity, and collision type have an effect. Collisions involving motorised vehicles were more likely to be reported to the Gardaí – this is evident from analyses of Garda reported data in which the majority (over 90%) involve vehicles. The results highlighted the relative importance of single cyclist collisions in particular, which comprised roughly 30% of the cases, but were much less likely to be reported to the Gardaí. Specifically, the odds of Garda reporting was 20 times greater for greater for collisions with motorised vehicles. Furthermore, Minor injuries were much less likely to be reported to the police than Serious injuries. Specifically, the odds of Garda reporting was 7 times greater for Serious injuries.

What are the implications?

The implications are that road safety priorities are biased towards collisions with vehicles, and more severe collisions. International studies have shown that priorities do begin to change with the inclusion of lower severity collisions. Basically, if we had had access to these unreported collisions our road safety priorities would look different.

What can we do to address these?

We are working on this. We are currently performing a further analysis of the details of cyclist to motorised vehicle collisions and single cyclist collisions, with the inclusion of unreported collision types. Pre-crash scenarios and impact configurations for cyclist collisions with bonnet-type vehicles, and collision factors and fall types for single cyclist collisions are being coded. This analysis will provide an evidence base for road safety stakeholders, and (hopefully) lead to improvements in cycling safety in Ireland.

You can contact Kevin at:
https://twitter.com/kgildeatcd

VELO-CITY COMES TO DUBLIN

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

UN Global Road Safety Week

Dublin, 8 May 2017

Today marks the start of the UN’s Global Road Safety Week. All around the world, communities are coming together to organise events focused around the theme ‘Save Lives #SlowDown.’ “Speed is at the core of the global road traffic injury problem,” notes WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “If countries were to address just this key risk, they would soon reap the rewards of safer roads, both in terms of lives saved and increases in walking and cycling, with profound and lasting effects on health.” 54 people have been killed on Irish roads in 2017 already, of whom 21 were vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, motor cyclists and pillion passengers). Approximately one third of all these accident fatalities are speed related. Drivers need to make the pledge and act to Save Lives

#SlowDown.

This week will see the Garda Traffic Corps out in force, carrying out extra speed checks around Dublin. Love 30 will be holding a series of events on the 9 th of May, asking drivers to make the pledge to ‘Save Lives #SlowDown.’ At 8.15am schoolchildren from Scoil Chaitríona on Mobhi Road will be out giving drivers their views on why they should slow down. At 11 am on Tuesday 9 th May, Love 30 and the Garda Traffic Corps will be Monck Place, a known ‘rat run’ in Phibsboro, asking drivers to make the pledge to ‘Save Lives #SlowDown’. At 1pm on Tuesday 9 th May, a cross-party Oireachtas group of cycling TDs and Senators will be showing their support for this campaign at the Leinster House gates on Kildare Street.

Welcoming the initiative, Inspector Ronan Barry of the Garda Traffic Corps called on everyone to take part this week. “Slowing down isn’t just for UN Global Road Safety Week,” he said. “We all need to take responsibility for saving lives on our roads.” Love 30 is a coalition of cycling and community groups who campaign for lower speed limits to make our towns and cities safer and more pleasant places to live, work and play. “We are one group out of thousands of groups, all around the world, calling on drivers to slow down,” says Love 30’s Mairéad Forsythe. “We must accept that speed is a critical factor leading to deaths on our roads and change our behaviour accordingly.” Dublin Cycling Campaign are also supporting this intiative. “In Dublin alone 3 cyclists have been killed off their bikes this year already,” said Colm Ryder of the Dublin Cycling Campaign. “It is a frightening situation that cannot continue. We are delighted that An Garda Síochána are carrying out these urban speed checks.”

Contact: Love 30, Mairéad Forsythe, 086-8337577

UN Global Road Safety Week: 8 – 14 May 2017: The #SlowDown campaign operates on the principles of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. On 11 May 2011, dozens of countries around the world kicked off the first global Decade of Action. From New Zealand to Mexico and the Russian Federation to South Africa, governments committed to taking new steps to save lives on their roads. The Decade of Action seeks to prevent road traffic deaths and injuries which experts project will take the lives of 1.9 million people annually by 2020. The Global Plan for the Decade of Action outlines steps towards improving the safety of roads and vehicles; enhancing emergency services; and building up road safety management generally.

It also calls for increased legislation and enforcement on speeding. More information

Love 30: Ireland has already seen 6 cyclists die on our roads this year, 3 of them in Dublin. Approximately one third of all accident fatalities are speed related. Drivers need to be cognizant of their speed levels and potential to kill or maim vulnerable road users (VRUs), particularly in urban areas. The Love 30 Campaign strongly supports the introduction of a 30 km/h speed limit on many roads in Irish towns and cities and, together with the Garda Traffic Corps, is supporting the UN’s Global Road Safety week with daily speed checks throughout the week across Dublin. More information