Category Archives: Irish Posts

Ireland, see also NI

Bikes for Refugees

We are aware of a couple of organisations in Ireland that are accepting donations of used cycles to pass on to recently-arrived refugees.

The Bike Hub social enterprise in Dún Laoghaire want to let refugees know about the availability of donated bikes. They ask donors to send photos to [email protected] so they can estimate the work needed and suitability for people on the waiting list, which also includes low income families and customers of Focus Ireland and the Irish Refugee Council. The Bike Hub have donated an estimated 130 bikes since last July.

Another organisation doing this is River Cycles on Ushers Island in Dublin city centre. See full story here.

If you know of any other businesses or organisations who are accepting bikes to pass on to refugees, please let us know and we will add the information to this article.

Active Travel and Energy Security

Cyclist.ie strongly endorses the statement issued earlier this week by Henk Swarttouw, President of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and highlighting the links between our patterns of mobility and our energy security needs and vulnerabilities. The ECF statement can be read here. Note that Cyclist.ie is the member for Ireland of the ECF.

The statement is a timely reminder of how active travel – walking and cycling for shorter trips, rather than motoring – contributes to our reduced dependence on Russian oil and gas. In other words, active travel goes well beyond considerations of improved public health, more liveable neighbourhoods, and reduced carbon emissions. 

Dr. Hannah Daly and her colleagues stressed in their Irish Times article of 8th March 2022 that Ireland must play its part in ending Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels, and they argue that we need “a large scale communications campaign from Government to frame our energy transition explicitly in terms of the need to cut Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuel”. Cyclist.ie strongly supports this point.

In regard to the related topic of transport emissions, we know from the most recent National Transport Authority Household Survey published in December 2018 that 50% of all of the trips we take in Ireland are under 5km – a distance very much cycle-able for much of our population (with shorter trips easily walkable). Furthermore, recently published energy and transport modelling research by O’Riordan et al (2021) maintains that significant energy and emissions savings can be achieved from modal shift in Ireland  –

the active mode scenarios, which focus on increased walking and cycling achieve a 0.2 – 1 MTCO2 reduction in annual passenger transport emissions in 2030 [while the] range of public transport scenarios, inspired by targets set out by the Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan achieve a between 0.001 – 0.3 MTCO2 reduction in annual passenger transport emissions in 2030.

We note here that in 2018 Ireland’s transport emissions amounted to 12.2MT and that by 2030 the required emissions based on the Climate Action Plan are 6-7MT as per the 2021 Climate Action Plan (page 144), so the modelled emissions reductions from a shift to active travel are very significant. 

As a further practical and immediate measure to support the Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland, Cyclist.ie supports the collection and distribution of bicycles to refugees arriving in Ireland and will be liaising with its member groups in promoting initiatives in this regard. Access to a bike may allow some of those traumatised by war to avail of opportunities for social, leisure and economic activities, and hence help contribute to their recovery.

Cyclist.ie Member Group Love 30 Presents to Oireachtas Committee

On Tuesday 1st March 2022, Cyclist.ie’s Love 30 group, which campaigns for 30kph speed limits in urban areas and safer speed limits generally, presented to the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications.

This was an important step in the process of reducing urban speed limits to a safer level for all vulnerable road users, and making our cities and towns safer. A full preparatory statement was outlined and presented, and can be viewed as an attachment on the Love30 website here.  

Love 30 was represented by Muireann O’Dea and Joan Swift (pictured above), while Dr. Lorraine D’Arcy from TU Dublin also presented – in addition to the representatives from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) – as can be seen in the recording of the session.

Kieran O’Donnell TD (Fine Gael) chaired the session in a very engaged manner, while Steven Matthews (Green Party) and Ruairí Ó Murchú TD (Sinn Féin) also made strong contributions. Gerry Horkan TD (Fianna Fáil) also attended briefly.

Love 30 was also delighted to have the further support and strong contributions from TD Neasa Hourigan TD (GP), Senator Pauline O’Reilly (GP) and Senator Marie Sherlock (Labour).

The RSA CEO Sam Waide (pictured below) urged the introduction of default 30kph urban speed limits both to increase safety, but also to bring us in line with other European countries. He emphasised that Ireland is lagging behind, and as a result deaths and serious injuries continue. The international evidence clearly supports the introduction of the lower speed limits.

Dr. Lorraine D’Arcy (pictured below) emphasised the loss of human interaction in our urban roads and streets due to the preponderance of the private car, and also the need for a cross-sectoral multi-stakeholder approach to the assessment of the benefits of reduced speeds and reduced vehicle use.

Love 30 formally presented their statement, and overall the Committee accepted the rationale and evidence behind the call.  Love 30 issued a Press Release beforehand, which prompted some media coverage of the issue – including the Irish Times’ piece Streets devoid of human interactions due to dominance of vehicles committee told on 2nd March.

There was strong support from Committee members for a default 30 km/h speed limit in built-up areas, with exceptions for some roads where justified with evidence, and they would like to see it implemented as quickly as possible. 

Importantly, following the presentations and discussion it was agreed that the Oireachtas Committee will write to the Department of Transport asking for a progress report on the Working Group on Speed Limits as set up under the Road Safety Strategy. This Working Group has already met twice this year. The Committee will seek its Terms of Reference, and will recommend that Love 30 is included in the Working Group. The Committee would then look for the follow-up actions that are needed.

This has been a very positive result from this presentation, and underpins the great work that Love 30 have been doing over the past years.

If you want to get involved in this vital area of road safety and improvement in our cities you can contact Love30 at [email protected] or check out the website at https://www.love30.ie/.

If you want to support the wider work of Cyclist.ie or want to know more about the work of Cyclist.ie, check us out at www.cyclist.ie or email us at [email protected].

Rural Ireland CAN cycle!

“Rural Ireland CAN cycle!!” Cyclist.ie Rural Collective tells Councillors.

Major campaign calls for support for cycling in Rural Ireland 

A national campaign to encourage local councillors to endorse the ‘Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland’ began this week. The campaign is based on the “Vision” manifesto, launched in September 2020 by Minister for State, Malcolm Noonan. Coordinated by the national cycling advocacy network, Cyclist.ie, an information leaflet has been dispatched to every rural local councillor highlighting the need to prioritise the 8 Asks of the Vision.

Joan Swift of Sligo Cycling Campaign said: ‘We are launching this leaflet to build on the positive conversations that are happening as a result of our ‘Vision’. Our initial launch was well received by local and national government and the public. We then brought our message to all Chief Executives and Directors of Services responsible for road infrastructure, and now we want to take that campaign a stage further and reach out to the men and women who are our elected representatives in our rural local authorities – the people who can really make this change happen.’

She continued: ‘Active travel is receiving unprecedented funding and staffing and if the funding is spent effectively it can transform peoples’ experience of rural mobility. The aim must be to ensure that in rural as well as in urban Ireland, cycling for all ages and abilities can become a reality. The 8 Asks, described in our ‘Vision’ are a pathway to achieving this.’

Jo Sachs-Eldridge of Leitrim Cycling Festival, who led the creation of the vision, explains: “We know our councillors are concerned about the same things that matter to us – road safety, rural transport options, energy use, physical and mental health. What we are proposing will impact positively on all of those and more. Our ‘Vision’ recognises the need to move to a more strategic approach to rural cycle planning and design. It also recognises the need to change the social as well as the physical environment on our roads – so that our public spaces are safer for everyone. Rural Ireland is currently very car dependent and the percentage of people who cycle is low but there is huge potential to change this. It wasn’t that many years ago that cycling was a normal way to get around. Let’s all help rural Ireland cycle once again!.’

Anluan Dunne of Kerry Cycling Campaign also stressed the importance of community and stakeholder engagement: “Local authorities and councillors should see us as partners and allies as they consider plans for cycle routes. Our expertise and hands-on experience of cycling in rural communities will be invaluable in considering what makes a safe route for cyclists of all ages and abilities.”

Salthill Temporary Traffic Calming & Cycle Facilities – Cyclist.ie Submission

Earlier today Cyclist.ie made a submission to Galway City Council in regard to the Salthill Temporary Cycle Lane/ Traffic Calming Measures.

The full suite of documents relating to the scheme can be found here https://www.galwaycity.ie/SalthillTemporaryCycleway (and note that the deadline for submissions was 4pm on Fri 28 Jan 2022).

The main message in our submission is that Cyclist.ie broadly welcomes these temporary proposals for cycling facilities along the Salthill seafront, presented as two options. In general we favour Option 2 over Option 1, as it is less disruptive and more practical overall for the needs of the area.

We commend the City Council on this initiative which has been a long while in gestation and we are confident that the construction of these temporary facilities will be a huge success, once properly managed; and in the long term will, we hope, lead to a more permanent scheme which prioritises sustainable transport, and enables safe and comfortable access to the facilities in the area.

Our submission can be read in full below.

1 – Introduction

Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network (ICAN), is the Federation of Cycling Advocacy Groups, Greenway Groups and Bike Festivals on the island of Ireland. We are the Irish member of the European Cyclists’ Federation.  Our vision is for an Ireland with a cycle friendly culture, where everyone has a real choice to cycle and is encouraged to experience the joy, convenience, health and environmental benefits of cycling.

Cyclist.ie broadly welcomes these temporary proposals for cycling facilities along the Salthill seafront, presented as 2 options.  In general we favour Option 2 over Option 1, as it is less disruptive, and more practical overall for the needs of the area.  We commend the City Council on this initiative which has been a long while in gestation, but we are confident that the construction of these temporary facilities will be a huge success, once properly managed; and in the long term will hopefully lead to a more permanent scheme which prioritises sustainable transport, and enables safe and comfortable access to the facilities in the area.

We make some broad comments below on aspects of the temporary design of the Option 2 proposed scheme design.

2 – General Comments

2.1 Scheme Drawings/Images
Overall we welcome the presentation of this proposed temporary scheme, but the understanding of the proposal could have been enhanced with some 3D images and/or video presentations, to enable a clearer understanding of the proposals by the ordinary punter.  We urge the City Council to ensure this feature is added to all future scheme consultations.

2.2 Cycle Facilities
In the realisation that this is a proposed temporary scheme, Cyclist.ie generally welcomes the proposed cycle track/lane widths of 2metres for single way and 3 metres for 2 way cycle tracks.  But, we urge the Council to keep these minimal widths throughout the scheme, and not reduce them, as indicated on the Leisureland Cross Section drawing, where ample width exists on the roadway to facilitate a full 3metres.
In the long term we are confident that this attractive facility will be as successful as  -the temporary scheme built in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council in recent years – see image below, and will be well used, with a likely long term need to review these minimal widths. 


DLR Coastal Mobility Route – A game-changer and a massive success

A long term scheme will also give the opportunity to consider wider elements such as overall public realm improvement and clear prioritisation of vulnerable road users and sustainable transport users.

2.3 Pedestrian Facilities
It is noted throughout that no new proposals are included to provide safe crossing facilities for pedestrians along this stretch of roadway.  This is an unfortunate omission which should be rectified, particularly close to major landside facilities, housing estates, and car parks.

2.4 Public Transport
The ready availability of public transport will be a vital part of this proposed scheme, to give people a further alternative to accessing the seafront area other than by car.  The upgraded bus stops in some areas are to be welcomed, but we suggest the use and practice at these bus stops should be monitored to check on any pedestrian/cyclist conflicts.
We also note the apparent (from the drawings) omission of existing bus stops to the west of the proposed scheme?

2.5 Car Parking
We broadly welcome the proposed reduced car parking along the main seafront, which will help to improve the overall safety of the area, and also to make it more attractive.  However, it is incumbent on Galway City Council to manage the expectations of car users intending to arrive in this area, by providing adequate forewarning of available parking locations, and ideally providing alternative means of accessing the seafront by providing extra public transport from possible designated locations.
We would also recommend that all on-road disabled car spaces are relocated to the seafront side, to enable easy access to facilities by users.  There are a number of potential design options for this to be facilitated.

2.6 Other Issues
2.6.1 Scheme Extremities
At the Barna Road western end the proposed cycle track exit onto the busy Barna Road is not ‘intuitive’, and will undoubtedly cause problems, especially for beginner/young cyclists.  This exit on to Barna Road needs to be re-examined and ideally a safe crossing installed, for cyclists wanting to turn right
At the Salthill/Seapoint roundabout there is no obvious way for cyclists to exit the 2 way cycleway onto Upper Salthill Road.
2.6.2 Cycling Access to and from the Proposed Cycle Track
It is not clear from the drawings exhibited if cyclists can easily access the proposed route from side roads, or alternatively leave the proposed route to exit across the main carriageway to a side road.  This should be clarified.

3 – Summary / Conclusion

  • This initiative by Galway City Council is to be broadly welcomed, and will increase the safety and enjoyment of the Salthill/Seapoint areas overall.
  • We request Galway City Council to examine all of the issues that we have raised in Section 2 above, in order to improve the scheme overall, and its general acceptance by the public.
  • We look forward to the implementation of this proposed scheme and in the long term a full scheme addressing the broader transport, public realm, and climate issues that a final permanent scheme will bring.

We are happy to meet with Galway City Council at any stage to discuss any of the points raised above.

Colm Ryder
[email protected]
www.cyclist.ie

Cyclist.ie an Awardee of Rethink Ireland’s Glas Funding

Cyclist is delighted to be advancing its work on the Rural Cycling Vision with funding support provided by Rethink Ireland under their Glas Communities Fund. Rethink Ireland has granted this award with the support of the Department of Rural and Community Development from the Dormant Accounts Fund and Ornua. The project runs from October 2021 to April 2022. A summary of the projects of the five awardees under this scheme can be read here

Through this six month long project, Cyclist.ie is aiming to encourage and assist local cycling advocacy groups to establish and grow. It is doing this by facilitating the transfer of knowledge and expertise between cycling groups, empowering rural groups to engage systematically with their local authorities and advancing bespoke campaigns and events. The support from Rethink Ireland is also helping Cyclist.ie to build on its organisational capacity to achieve social impact over time. 

The support is already bearing fruit with the development of Cyclist.ie’s nine Action Groups. The creation of these groups enables our expanding volunteer base to contribute directly to specific domains of work. It also enables the transfer of knowledge between experienced and new advocates. 

Additionally, through the support of Rethink Ireland and with the professional input of Communications company We the People, Cyclist.ie is — for the first time ever — developing a Communications Strategy. This is another exciting development for the organisation and we look forward to engaging with many audiences with the new insights gained over the coming months and years. 

Watch this space for further updates on the project! 

Note that this funding success follows on from another recent successful project funded by Rethink Ireland under their Innovate Together Fund – see here

Great southern Trail extends into kerry

Liam O Mahony, Cathaoirleach of the Great Southern Trail Ltd (GST) visited the Greenway work in progress at Kilmorna near Listowel. The GST which has campaigned for over thirty years to convert the disused railway from Rathkeale to Tralee into a Greenway welcomes this long awaited extension of the Limerick Greenway across the Kerry Border and which is scheduled to be opened to Listowel by the summer.

Strategic Rail Review – Cyclist.ie Submission

Cyclist.ie made a submission today in regard to the consultation process associated with the all island Strategic Rail Review. You can read the consultation documents here

And you can read the submission of Cyclist.ie and An Taisce in the following text.

The first public commuter line in Ireland, from Dublin to Dun Laoghaire, was launched in 1834 – and the lines stretched out to Belfast, Cork and Galway over the following decades. The point here is that the rail corridors and infrastructure put in place back then have shaped development and settlement patterns for almost two centuries. When planning the future of rail on the island of Ireland we need to have similar timelines in mind, and be thinking about what type of transportation system and settlement patterns we want to end up with, not just in 2050 but in 2100 and 2200. This is the opportunity to shape that future. 

Our current rail “system” is almost exclusively a set of radial lines (with much of it single track) running to and from Dublin, with minimal direct inter-connectivity between towns and cities outside of the capital. This needs to change completely if we are to arrive at a transport network and system – and future settlement pattern – which is in line with our requirement to decarbonise our entire transport system (and economy and society by 2050) as per the Paris Agreement and our own brand new Climate Action Plan. There needs to be far greater recognition of the shaping effect of our transport infrastructure on where development ends up taking place. Additionally, we note the over-representation in the road traffic collision statistics of heavy goods vehicles in serious and fatal collisions (and particularly those involving vulnerable road users). The future of freight movement in Ireland needs to acknowledge this fact, and to maximise the movement of goods by rail, and not on roads with the associated road carnage that ensues. 

Image from page 7 of the Consultation Document

Therefore, the priority over the coming decades but starting now needs to be around connecting our regional cities with high quality rail infrastructure and services and then prioritising transit oriented development – i.e. development of almost every type close to rail stations (in line with the 15 Minute City / Town concept). There needs to be high quality, high capacity, direct and resilient connections from Dublin to Wexford/Rosslare (thinking ahead to take into account coastal erosion patterns) and on to Waterford and on to Cork and to Limerick and to Galway and to Sligo and on to Derry and then Belfast and back to Dublin. The North West of the island is severely lacking in high quality rail transport and there is no better time than now to rectify this problem – as against investing in road based options which will, inevitably, stimulate dispersed car-based development patterns and car trips (and hence higher energy use, emissions and use of raw materials).

The mainline train lines (Dublin to Cork, Galway and Belfast) should be upgraded to electric. Ireland is anomalous in Europe in mainline services being all diesel. There are local air quality issues at stake here as well as carbon emissions. 

The other point we wish to stress in this submission is the need to think about inter-modal journeys, and low / zero carbon trips. The catchment area of a train station when considering people cycling to it is approximately 9 times the area of the catchment area of the station for those walking to it (given that average cycling speeds are approximately 3 times those of average walking speeds). Therefore, there needs to be a full acknowledgement of the need to provide for bike / rail journeys when planning investment in the future of rail. Of most concern here is the following:

– The design of safe and attractive cycle routes to every train station and stop in the country, and this must include making areas close to stations properly permeable and well connected for those walking and cycling to stations (‘filtered permeability’ as it is called).

– The need for high quality, safe and secure bicycle parking at every train station / stop in the country. In cities, there needs to be a quantum leap in ambition and investment priority so as to provide high capacity / high quality infrastructure such as we see in cities such as Utrecht, Malmö and Munster (in Germany). See for example the facilities in Utrecht in this video: 

– The carriage of bikes on all trains needs to be greatly improved –  at a minimum to match proposed EU levels of 8 bikes per train (as per this ECF article).



Bicycle spaces on trains must be easy to use and suitable for a variety of bike types, including bicycles loaded with pannier bags (so as to nurture a strong cycle tourism culture), or even cargo bikes.  Cyclists who do not have good upper body strength (e.g. most women), find it hard to use some of the spaces on the existing Irish rail fleet. Furthermore, the bicycle compartment should be visibly indicated on the rolling stock itself – many logos on carriage doors showing the bicycle spaces are much too small.  Some of the intercity trains in Ireland now have fine big logos which is welcome, and such logos should be placed on all trains. Such a simple and inexpensive change would make life a lot simpler for people with bicycles trying to board trains. 

Cycle friendly rolling stock (Germany) – Photo kindly provided by Ray Ryan (Skerries Cycling Initiative)

– Additionally, there needs to be signs on the platforms showing where cyclists should wait (see Bath Spa station in the UK for example). Note that high-speed trains often stop only for a few minutes. To properly manage the timely loading of bicycles and avoid possible delays, customers need to know which section of the platform their coach is going to halt. They should be guided by diagrams, either paper (e.g. Deutsche Bahn) or electronic (e.g. SNCF), which clearly indicate where the coaches are going to stop. In addition, platform voice announcements should be given before the arrival of the train. 

As above, the north west quadrant of the country is severely depleted in regard to rail infrastructure. Similarly West Cork has a very large and long gap without any rail infrastructure. 

Furthermore, it is not wise to lift unused lines such as Waterford to Rosslare for conversion to greenways, when the first priority needs to be the reinstatement of high quality rail links. The closures were to a large extent due to very poor service frequency and timing from Irish Rail. This needs to be acknowledged and addressed. Lines also need to be made available to other operators if this improves services.

In addition, the current level of service on the Dublin to Rosslare line is extremely poor and results in an anomalously low modal share for train in this corridor.  The problem is exacerbated by the lack of connectivity between the ferry services to and from Rosslare and the train services.  This means that people who want to travel without a car on these ferry services effectively cannot do so.

We recommend strongly that a direct curve is provided towards Dublin at Ballybrophy to make the services on the Nenagh line connect to Dublin. The current track layout there does not promote a fast service.

.

Dr. Damien Ó Tuama
National Cycling Coordinator, Cyclist.ie http://cyclist.ie/ and An Taisce https://www.antaisce.org/
Vice-President, European Cyclists’ Federation (2016 – 2021) https://ecf.com/
The Tailors’ Hall
Back Lane
Dublin D08 X2A3

Bicycle Film Festival Ireland

The virtual 22nd Annual tour of Bicycle Film Festival is coming to Ireland in partnership with Dublin Cycling Campaign and Cyclist.ie.

The Bicycle Film Festival will take place between February 4th – 13th online and will offer 90 minutes of short films on all things cycling. These films are available to view any time during the week of the festival.

How does the virtual Bicycle Film Festival Ireland work? A ticket allows you to view the 90 minute short film format from Friday, February 4 at 6:00 PM GT through Sunday, February 13 at 11:59 PM GT streamed to your computer, tablet, or smart TV by simply clicking on the link provided by email 15 minutes before opening date and time. Ticket prices are “sliding scale” €9/$10, €13.50/$15, €18/$20 (£ 7.5, £ 11, £15) so all ticket prices entitle you to the same content. You may view BFF in one sitting, or as you will, from the comfort and safety of your home.

Get Tickets: https://btt.boldtypetickets.com/events/118366289/bicycle-film-festival-i…

The Films: BFF Select Shorts appeal to a wide audience from film connoisseurs to avid cyclists and everything in between. The curated collection of select short films will take you on a journey around the world, covering such topics as:

  • The first BMX crew in Nigeria
  • UK’s Jools Walker rediscovers her love of cycling and her desire to create space for young black woman like her
  • The story of road cycling legend and overall wonderful soul, Connie Carpenter
  • The struggle of a young woman and her bike in Iran
  • A father (actor, Timothy Spall) copes with the loss of his son through cycling
  • Cycle sport as relief from genocide
  • A bird’s-eye view of a BLM bicycle protest ride from New York to DC
  • A charismatic Ghanaian immigrant in Amsterdam who teaches refugee adult women to ride bikes and many more…

Get Tickets: https://btt.boldtypetickets.com/events/118366289/bicycle-film-festival-i…

About BFF: BICYCLE FILM FESTIVAL has been celebrating bicycles through art, film, and music the last 21 years. Founded in 2001, Brendt Barbur was compelled to start the BFF after being hit by a bus while riding his bike in New York. The physical BFF spanned the world in over 90 cities worldwide to an audience of over one million people. The festival has an incredible history of working with the most important artists, filmmakers, venues, and institutions around the world.The Subcultures of cycling have shared equal billing with the most exciting innovators in music, art, design, and film.

Participants have included: Erykah Badu, Karl Lagerfeld, Francesco Clemente, Shepard Fairey, Albert Maysles, Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Alex Katz, Kaws, Mike Mills, Paul Smith, the Neistat Brothers, Tom Sachs, Ridley Scott, Kiki Smith, Swoon, and Ai Weiwei. This festival is a celebration of way a life––not just entertainment.