In response to the public consultation run by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to inform the delivery of guidance on remote working for both employers and employees, Cyclist.ie sent in the following short submission.
Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network is the umbrella body of cycle campaigning and advocacy groups in Ireland – http://cyclist.ie/. Our vision is that cycling becomes a normal part of everyday life for all ages and abilities in Ireland. We take a particular interest in the commute to work – especially (i) the quality of conditions along the route for those wishing to cycle and (ii) the facilities at the workplace to make life easier for those using ‘active travel’ modes to get to work.
Focusing only on the nature of ‘hubs’, we wish to stress in this submission the importance of hubs having:
In short, at this especially sensitive time for all of us, we would like to the stress the importance of creating the conditions to make it as easy and as safe as possible for workers to choose the healthier option and cycle to / from work (where distances per permit).
I would be very grateful if you can incorporate these points into any updated guidance produced.
During the lockdown period of restricted movement, it was exciting so see so many families out walking and cycling on strangely quiet roads. Bikes sold like hot-cakes and shops ran out of supplies. Now people of all ages are keen to hold on to their newly experienced sense of autonomy and freedom.
To tie in with the nationwide Launch of Cyclist.ie’s Rural Cycling Collective Vision Statement, Sligo Cycling Campaign held a family fun cycling event recently in Cleveragh and Doorly Parks. The event was supported by Councillor Donal Gilroy (FF), Chair of the Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Committee, and by Councillor Marie Casserly (Independent), long-time supporter of cycling and of Sligo Cycling Campaign. Before the cycle began, Sligo Cycling Campaign’s Secretary and PRO, Gemma Woods (a qualified Cycle Right training instructor) did a short training and bike-check session with the young cyclists.
Afterwards, the peloton set off through the park and along Doorly Park to finish on the grounds of County Hall, Riverside. Mayor of Sligo Municipal District, Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady was there to welcome the party. The children displayed the posters and letters they had done showing why they loved cycling and how they would like to be able to cycle more places more often.
Chairperson of Sligo Cycling Campaign, Joan Swift, thanked the Mayor, Councillors and especially the participants. “It’s wonderful to have safe amenities such as Cleveragh Park and Doorly Park for cycling, but these children want to be able to cycle to school, to the library to their Granny’s “said Swift. “We are campaigning for a fair distribution of transport funding to regional parts of the country to make cycling for all ages and abilities a reality”.
According to the rural cycle collective the co-benefits of more people cycling more often include improvements to health, safety, congestion, air-quality, noise levels, and the public realm. More cycling will also help us to meet our climate change obligations.
Photo above kindly provided by Edel Moran.
For more information on Sligo Cycling Campaign, visit their Facebook page.
National Cycle / Walk to School practice runs 15 – 29 August 2020
Cycling campaign groups from all over Ireland, members of Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, are issueing a call to parents, teachers, schools, sports clubs, local authorities and other groups and individuals, to support a National Cycle / Walk / Scoot to School promotion to help families familiarise themselves with their school routes, between the 15 and 29 August next.
All through summer 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, children have been out cycling in their local neighbourhoods, going to parks, meeting their friends, and enjoying the freedom and fresh air. With the return to classrooms in September, cycling and walking groups around the country are highlighting the opportunities for more children and students to cycle, walk, scoot or skate safely to school.
Key to getting more children to get back to school ‘on their own fuel’ is the familiarisation of routes from home to school. Cycle campaign groups around the country will be running a range of local events to practise school runs between the 15th and 29th of August, and can supply written guidelines for any interested groups that want to organise events. Working together with experienced cyclists, each family can find the routes safest and most convenient for them. School-children of all ages, primary and secondary, can participate. Ideally they will link with other families, with teachers, parent associations, and with local organisations to test and plan the safest routes from home to school for cycling and walking .
Promotions will also take place in many locations, with opportunities to get bicycles checked by qualified mechanics, as well as taking part in a national scavenger hunt competition (teams can register at www.cyclist.ie/school). Practice runs can be held on any days that suit the participants between 15th and 29nd August. To date, events have been scheduled for Clonakilty, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Kilkenny, Bandon, Sligo, Wexford and Dublin.
Information on route planning, how to maintain your bike, guidance on locking your bike correctly and details on the Scavenger Hunt competition will be provided on the day by each local event organiser.
Speaking on behalf of the national cycling campaign Cyclist.ie, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama said:
“there is no better time for children and parents to trial new, healthier, active travel ways to get to school. We have all long suffered the traffic jams, polluted air and general chaos of the school run by car. We will help people check their bikes over, plan a fun and safe route to school and demonstrate how to lock your bike correctly”.
“During the pandemic, young people have really enjoyed getting back on their bikes and these school practice runs will give them and their parents the confidence and impetus to use cycling and walking as the new normal way, the most fun and healthy way, to get to school happy and ready to learn”, said Ó Tuama.
Allison Roberts, a spokesperson for the Clonakilty Bicycle Festival, said
“Following on from the government’s urging of people to choose walking and cycling over other modes of transport, we want to help people make the first step. There has never been a better time for Local Authorities to accelerate the introduction of new measures to make ‘active travel’ as easy and as safe as possible. We are in a changed world, and we need to see changes on our roads and streets to make cycling safer all day, everyday for all ages and abilities.”
The network of campaign groups called on schools to provide space for secure bicycle parking. They will be contacting all local authorities and the National Transport Authority with a request to support and fund this initiative where possible.
As set out in the Vision for Cycling in Ireland (http://cyclist.ie/ruralvision/), 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 will also be contacting all local authorities to ask that they implement as a matter of urgency 30 km/h speed limits in all urban areas especially around schools.
Cycling Ireland (CI), the national governing body for sports cycling in Ireland, has just launched its new strategy for the upcoming four years to 2024. It is a concise and well presented high level overview of what they plan to do, and sets tough targets to meet in all sectors that it operates in. It is a document well worth checking out for anyone interested in the development of cycling in Ireland, and we in Cyclist.ie commend CI on its targets and aspirations.
It is divided into three main pillars: Participation, Performance, and Enabling. Of particular interest to us, as cycling advocates, is the Enabling section which relates to the development of cycling overall and includes advocacy. CI does envisage a role for itself directly in cycling advocacy, but it is not yet clear exactly what that means in detail, and this will need to be teased out between CI and Cyclist.ie as we work together over the coming years. The ‘Participation Pillar’ also includes some aspirational targets in relation to ‘audit of facilities’, and ‘participation for all ages and abilities’.
As you may be aware, CI runs some really progressive cycle training programmes that are funded directly and indirectly by the state. The main training program is the national Cycle Right bike training initiative, but there are a variety of other often innovative programmes geared towards getting more people on bikes. It is good that there is a professional funded body helping to support these activities.
While naturally CI concentrates on competitive and sports cycling, as befits its national brief, it also places greater emphasis in this new strategy on ‘fun’ and ‘non competitive’ events. It recognises that there is a wider potential membership who wish to simply cycle for utility or leisure reasons. And like Cyclist.ie, CI has a strong volunteering culture which it proposes to develop further. CI and Cyclist.ie will, we hope, continue to work together as part of CI’s proposed ‘advocacy partner framework’, as this will be critical in the development of a deeper and broader cycling culture, and Cyclist.ie already has a basic Memo of Understanding with CI. The work that we do in Cyclist.ie is supportive and complementary in helping to build the foundations for the growth of cycling countrywide.
CI will continue to work with many of the same ‘actors’ or agencies as Cyclist.ie. We in Cyclist.ie look forward to enhancing cooperation across those links. All in all, the CI strategy is a challenging and worthwhile four year strategy doc with the different actors responsible clearly nominated, and timelines set. We in Cyclist.ie wish Cycling Ireland the very best with this new strategy and we look forward to increased and productive cooperation into the future.
Note: image above comes from the Axa Community Bike Rides.
MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday 30 July 2020 A Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland Launched by Cyclist.ie’s Rural Cycling Collective
During the lock-down period of restricted travel, one widely remarked phenomenon was the large increase countrywide in the numbers of people of all ages out walking and cycling.
A desire to retain that peace and freedom, together with the promise by the new coalition government of an annual €360 million spend on walking and cycling infrastructure has led to the formation of a new Rural Cycling Collective. Comprising an array of groups and individuals under the umbrella of the wider national Cyclist.ie advocacy network, the group is focused on making rural communities (towns, villages, and rural roads) cycle-friendly for all ages and abilities. It aims to re-balance the debate on active travel so that everyday journeys by bike across rural Ireland are enabled and supported.
“A VISION FOR CYCLING IS A VISION FOR THE FUTURE”
Launching the manifesto, Joan Swift, speaking on behalf of Sligo Cycling Campaign – a member group of Cyclist.ie – said
Today, we launch our vision document which aims to promote and celebrate everyday cycling in towns, villages and their surrounding areas. We are launching the Rural Cycling Collective to highlight the needs of areas outside of the major cities. We are campaigning for a fair distribution of transport funding to regional parts of the country to make cycling for all ages and abilities a reality. Our 8 identified priorities have the potential to completely transform our communities.
“RURAL COLLECTIVE HAS 8 PRIORITIES”
The collective is calling on Local and National Government to:
Create an environment in our towns, villages, and rural roads where cyclists are expected and respected.
Create and map useful, connected cycle routes throughout Local Authority areas.
Implement best practice design so that routes are safe and comfortable for all ages and abilities.
Prioritise safe cycle routes to schools and car-free zones at school gates.
Lower Speed Limits to make our roads and streets safer and more accessible for everyone, and to reduce casualties.
Ensure clear and timely access to funding by improving capacity at all levels of local and national government.
Collaborate with all stakeholders – including cycling and community groups – at all stages of planning and design.
Provide cycle training for all ages especially children
Taken together, these measures would transform active travel throughout Ireland. The co-benefits would include improvements to health, safety, congestion, air-quality, noise levels, and the public realm. More cycling will also help us to meet our climate change obligations. Speaking ahead of the launch, Anluan Dunne from Kerry Cycling Campaign said:
We can be a voice for areas of Ireland that have not yet realised the potential of cycling for everyday activities – cycling to school for children, to work, to the post office for your pension, to shops to buy a litre of milk – or to cycle around to your neighbours for a catch-up. We need to change how we develop our towns, villages and rural roads and we need our collective voice to be heard
At a recent family fun cycle in Clonakilty as part of the multi-location launch of the Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland, there was an overwhelming feeling that both children and adults love exploring their local neighbourhoods and areas on their bicycles, and that cycling needs to become an everyday part of life in Ireland again.
Jo Sachs-Eldridge, from Leitrim Cycling Festival, who led the creation of the vision, invites everyone – people who cycle, people who don’t cycle, want-to-be cyclists, mums, dads, planners, councillors, Ministers and An Taoiseach – to get involved in shaping this vision and helping to make it a reality.
The Rural Cycling Collective plans to foster collaboration amongst cycling groups across Ireland and to jointly lobby local authorities and public representatives for the changes which will entice more people to choose the bicycle for everyday activities. It will also work towards a cycle-friendly Ireland by collaborating with all stakeholders, organising regular events, fun-cycles and campaign actions.
Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network is the umbrella body of cycle campaigning and advocacy groups in Ireland – https://cyclist.ie/. It is the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation – https://ecf.com/.
Cyclist.ie’s Rural Cycling Collective is the expanding array of small groups and individuals within the wider Cyclist.ie advocacy network with a focus on making rural communities (towns, villages and rural roads) cycle friendly for all ages and abilities.
Last week a Zoom meeting was called for any interested groups, to discuss creating a new sub-collective of Cyclist.ie in order to build a mutual support network to promote and celebrate cycling in towns, villages and in between. Cyclist groups introduced themselves and discussed their strengths, challenges and the vision for the collective. As smaller ‘rural’ groups often struggle with fewer volunteer resources, expertise, and energy than larger city-based initiatives, by banding together the idea is that they will be able to move forward more efficiently and effectively, with mutual support (and with less-burnout!).
Towns and cities represented at the meeting were Thurles, Bandon, Skiberreen, Clonakilty, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Sligo, Navan, Bandon, Kerry and Wexford.
While the mission and manifesto of the collective are currently being worked on with a launch expected later this month, the aim is to work alongside one another to better engage and work with relevant authorities and stakeholders, and to help bring forth a national transition towards a cyclist-friendly Ireland. To spread the love of bikes and work towards their manifesto goals, the collective will propose regular actions, fun-cycles and campaigns that member groups can host in their own communities. By joining forces to gain momentum, allies, and media attention the sum of their local actions will be greater than the sum of the parts.
If you, as a group or individual would like more information, or to get involved, please contact Allison Roberts (Cyclist.ie Executive Member/Clonakilty Bicycle Festival)
The team at the Clonakilty Bicycle Festival started a podcast! Now on it’s 7th episode it was started to spread the news about their festival and have decided to keep it going on a weekly basis year round! Already on the podcast at warmshowers.org are interviews with Tahverlee, Mairead Forsythe (Love30), a cycle-history of West Cork, an episode with Cycle Bus leaders from around the country and more!
You can find the Clon Bike Cast most places you get your podcasts, or here. Please share and subscribe!
The Clonakilty Bicycle Festival had it’s 9th year in June at it was a roaring success, by branching out and re-envisioning what was possible in the lock-down organizers put together a programme of ‘anywhere in the world’ events, live streaming talks, film screening with director Q&A and more. Thank you to all who joined in, especially for our Global Scavenger Hunt which had 28 teams and over 100 participants from all corners of the globe. We are so looking forward to next year – our 10th Clon Bike Fest – we are already hatching plans to take over Clon with bikes… will you join us?
Survey published regarding Buncrana greenway in Donegal – win a commuter bike worth €500
In Donegal, as part of the Council’s work for the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (required as part of the planning process), the local Council has published a survey soliciting feedback from the general public regarding their cycling and walking preferences, particularly if a greenway linked Derry and Buncrana.
There is a section on the requirements of tourists, so feedback from outside the area is also sought.
Cyclist.ie wishes Eamon Ryan TD, the new Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, the very best in his new role.
Minister Ryan’s appointment comes on the back of the inclusion of some very progressive sustainable transport commitments in the agreed Programme for Government (PfG), especially in regard to cycling and walking. On funding, the new government has committed to:
… an allocation of 10% of the total transport capital budget for cycling projects and an allocation of 10% of the total capital budget for pedestrian infrastructure. The Government’s commitment to cycling and pedestrian projects will be set at 20% of the 2020 capital budget (€360 million) per year for the lifetime of the Government. (p13)
This is potentially game-changing when one considers that the spend on cycling in 2018 was just €12.64 million (or less than 2% of the transport budget) – see Cyclist.ie Pre-Budget Submission 2020. It opens up the feasibility of funding high quality cycling infrastructure in all of our cities and towns, and providing greenway infrastructure connecting into the heart of our built-up areas, and schools, sports grounds, shops and other destinations.
The new emphasis on cycling and walking in the PfG comes at a time when the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) – as it was called up until a few days ago – is preparing a new Sustainable Mobility Policy (SMP). Cyclist.ie responded to the public consultation on the SMP early in 2020 – see Submissions on New Sustainable Mobility Policy – and we are awaiting the Department’s analysis of the submissions received. It is timely for a new Minister with a low carbon vision of mobility to take office when a new plan is being drafted.
The other point to highlight is the need for the new Minister to create the structures to enable several government departments, a handful of state agencies, and all 31 local authorities (LAs) to be aligned in their policies around walking and cycling promotion. One of the failings in the implementation of the ambitious 2009 National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF) was the inaction on ensuring good coordination and cooperation between all bodies.
It is essential that Minister Ryan makes sure there is strong alignment between the key departments of Health (Minister Stephen Donnelly), Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Minister Darragh O’Brien), Education (Minister Norma Foley), Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands (Minister Heather Humphreys), and Children, Disability, Equality and Integration (Minister Roderic O’Gorman) so that a new culture of active travel can emerge, and become part of everyday life in Ireland. Additionally, local authorities are crucial actors because they will be responsible for so much of the change, but their expertise on cycling development varies from strong to weak.
The opportunity to be seized by the Minister now is to harness the public appetite for change and lead the way in transforming our cities and towns into the healthy, convivial and economically vibrant places they need to be.