Tag Archives: Submissions

All kinds of Submissions e.g. to Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport etc.

Radical Changes to Transport MUST Be Part of the Next Programme for Government

The election is over but a new government has not yet formed. The arrival of COVID 19 has added to the challenge of negotiations for a new Programme for Government, but at the same time we cannot stand still on other issues.  During the election, Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, urged parties to implement two key transport policies  – 1) the rebalancing of Land Transport funding to allocate more to cycling  and 2) the provision of high quality cycling infrastructure. 

We accept that in the short term that the government is facing substantially increased expenditure to deal with Covid-19 and its consequences and a reduction in the capital budget is inevitable. However, we are looking for a rebalance of the transport capital budget and would  stress that investment in cycling represents very good value for money – the best return on investment for any transport intervention. The need for an appropriate level of funding and high quality infrastructure will continue long into the future if Ireland is to achieve government goals on road safety, climate action, congestion, the environment and health.

From election manifestos, all political parties accept the need for increased everyday cycling, while most accept the need for increased funding to 10% of the Land Transport budget, which in 2020 would amount to €182M. In the first 8 months of last year, the Minister for Transport spent approximately €2M or  0.11% of his annual Land Transport budget on cycling from his Walking /Cycling allocation – the principal area of expenditure for everyday cycling. Gerry Dornan, Vice Chair of Cyclist.ie stated “We accept that an immediate increase to 10% by the Minister for Transport is not practical in 2020 or 2021, but it is realistic to ramp up investment to 10% within three or four years and that is the benchmark by which we will judge the next government”.

A revision to the Strategic Framework Investment in Land Transport (SFILT) is essential. The original SFILT was developed in 2015 and fails to take into account increasing congestion, chronic health issues, air and noise pollution.  A suite of some twenty background papers informed the SFILT process but most were related to existing high car dependency and failed to give any serious consideration to increased active travel. 

The second issue which the incoming government  must address is the quality of infrastructure. Last year, international attendees at the Velo-City cycling conference  in Dublin were shocked at the poor quality of Irish cycling infrastructure. In order to attract people out of cars, high quality segregated infrastructure is essential. 

Seville was able to provide a cycle network and increase cycling significantly to 8% in just five years – the same period of office as an incoming Irish government. In the last five years, there has been little progress in Irish cities. Cyclists in Galway and Cork are frustrated and alarmed by their respective Metropolitan Area Transport Strategies while Limerick cyclists have little confidence in efforts to date at urban improvement by their local authority. The Strategies pay lip service to prioritising cycling and instead reflect the road-centric policies of the SFILT. In particular, traffic models are constructed on the basis that traffic levels will increase, with the inevitable “conclusion” that more roads are needed. The increases are large enough to justify “one more lane” but less than actual increases which would cause politicians to question the viability of schemes in terms of sustainability and value for money. 

Furthermore, the lack of vision on cycling by Irish local authorities is clearly demonstrated by several Dutch cities having current cycling levels in excess of 40% of journeys, whereas by 2039-2040 the predicted level of cycling in Galway city centre is just 6% and in Cork is 4%.

Cyclist.ie believes that the Department of Transport should require Directors of Services for Transport to be appointed as Cycling Officers with responsibility for change in transport mode for their authority and for publishing annual progress reports. 

The challenges to the next Irish government are unprecedented. It MUST introduce radical change to the way transport is managed in order to create a resilient mobility system and one that is consistent with nurturing active and healthy travel habits.

Submission on Policing Priorities 2020

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 a registered Charity and are also the Irish member of the European Cyclists’ Federation.  Our vision is that cycling will be a normal part of transport and everyday life in Ireland.

Cyclist.ie, is delighted to make this brief submission to feed into Policing Priorities for 2020, and we note the commitments made in Policing Plan 2019.

We note and appreciate the Roads Policing Key Performance Indicators, the high level objective of Protecting People, and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris’ commitment in the foreword to keeping people safe and protecting the most vulnerable. We especially welcome the section in  Policing Priorities 2019 which includes Policing our Roads and Safeguarding Road Users. Cyclist.ie suggests two further additions to Policing Priorities 2020: 1) Dangerous Overtaking and 2) Obstruction of Cycle Lanes 

Both of which would help to improve the safety of people who cycle.

The background to our comments is the trend of increasing cyclist fatalities on the roads. The graph below shows that this trend has been generally upward since 2011.   

Together with this trend in cyclist fatalities, we note the very worrying trend of high levels of serious injuries to vulnerable road users in urban areas, as outlined in the joint RSA/Garda press release of 28th November

The excerpted graph below, from the above report, illustrates the seriousness of this growing trend

We would hope that these latest figures will spur the Garda Traffic Division to greater efforts to protect vulnerable road users in urban areas in particular.  And, in the case of cyclists this can be done by increased enforcement levels, based on the new ‘Safe Overtaking of Cyclists’ legislation as well as tackling illegal parking in cycle lanes, on double yellow lines, and illegal use of bus lanes by private vehicles.  We note also from the latest figures released by the RSA that approximately three cyclists per week suffer life changing injuries.

Periodically, Cyclist.ie meets with senior officers of An Garda Roads Policing Unit, and RSA, to discuss items of mutual interest. The most recent meeting – jointly with the Road Safety Authority – was on 27th August 2019 when the Garda delegation was led by Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary. The discussions that day included Dangerous Overtaking, and Obstruction of Cycle Lanes. 

Dangerous Overtaking of Cyclists

Cyclist.ie has campaigned in support of legislative changes and more effective enforcement of road safety legislation. We are pleased that the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Minister for Justice have successfully introduced new penalties for the Dangerous Overtaking of Cyclists.  We look forward to new initiatives by the Garda Roads Policing Unit in 2020 to support the introduction of this legislation, and to protect vulnerable road users.

Obstruction of Cycle Tracks

A second  area of concern is drivers who obstruct cycle tracks by parking on them, thereby forcing cyclists either onto the footpath or into general traffic lanes. We welcome the provision of an email address for Cyclist.ie to report such instances and propose to follow up on this in this New Year. We note that on 23rd June last, Minister Flanagan tweeted that “Cycle lanes must be kept clear for cyclists only. Gardaí and local authorities must act to enforce the law.”

We would also welcome increased policing of the offences referred to above, namely; parking on double yellow lines, and illegal use of bus lanes by private vehicles.  The publication of regular (quarterly?) bulletins on the number of Fixed Charge Penalty Notices (FCPN) issued would be a progressive step in indicating how all of these issues are being progressed.

As enforcement is a key factor in ensuring that cyclists are not endangered by such practices, a commitment in terms of targets and resources is essential to ensure that the targets in question are met. As a step towards this end, Cyclist.ie urges the Garda Commissioner to include these areas in the Policing Priorities of the national Policing Plan 2020.

We note that the Police Authority also has input into the national policing priorities and that the priorities in turn inform and are reflected in the priorities of Divisional Policing Plans and the Joint Policing Committees. Highlighting these areas by prioritising them would send a clear message to members of the force, to politicians and to the general public that they are no longer acceptable.

Cyclist.ie is happy to engage with members of the Roads Policing Unit at any stage, on any of the above issues.

Submissions on New Sustainable Mobility Policy

Cyclist.ie made four detailed submissions today (28th of February 2020) in regard to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS)’s Review of Sustainable Mobility Policy. Our submissions covered Active Travel, Climate, Congestion and a Summary paper

In our submissions, we pointed out that the Irish modal share data speak for themselves: a car dependence of 74%; a public transport share of a mere 6%; 15% travelling on foot; and just 2% cycling. Immediate and radical action is required to address the failure to improve this balance over the last half-century. For comparison, the modal share for cycling for all trips in The Netherlands is approx 25% and for trips under 7.5km is approx 33%. 

We believe that the government needs to invest far more seriously in active travel – and to de-prioritise investment in the unsustainable modes – in order to achieve an increase in active travel in all parts of Ireland: urban, suburban and rural area. There is a need for greater recognition of the potential of walking and cycling to achieve carbon abatement targets and recognition of the many wider benefits increased cycling offers. 

A sincere thanks to our volunteers – and, in particular, the members of the Cyclist.ie Executive Committee – in drafting these submissions. 

Government Consultation on Sustainable Mobility

Friday 28th Feb is the closing date for making submissions on the government’s sustainable mobility policy (SMP). This covers public transport (urban and rural) and active travel (i.e. walking and cycling). Details of the process including background papers can be read here

We urge all of our members and fans to send in submissions to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) stressing the need for a radical change in policy – to be emailed to [email protected] by 17:30 this Friday 28th Feb. You can use the material in the two links below, and add in your own observations also.

If you are under pressure and have time only for a super short submission, we suggest you stress the following points in your submission (with subject title – Public Consultation on a Review of Sustainable Mobility Policy) and reword/edit in your own style as appropriate

  1. The balance of investment between active travel and public transport on the one hand, and carbon intensive modes on the other hand needs to change radically in favour of the former. Our position is that, once essential maintenance is provided for, and existing contracts honoured, there should be zero allowance for growth in car-based modes and the budget needs to be allocated to walking, cycling and public transport.
  2. Road space needs to be reallocated to allow a shift to more efficient modes of travel by installing high quality segregated cycling infrastructure and improved facilities for pedestrians on both urban and rural roads. A special emphasis needs to be given to making junctions safe for all ages and abilities – in too many cycle schemes over the last 20 years, improvements were made to the links, but not to the junctions themselves (the location of many collisions). 
  3. Secure and high quality cycle parking facilities need to be provided at all public transport stops, stations and interchanges to facilitate intermodal journeys. In the case of major stations (such as Plunkett in Waterford, Kent in Cork, Colbert in Limerick, Céannt in Galway, and Heuston, Connolly and Bus Áras in Dublin), there is a need to provide high capacity state-of-the-art cycle parking facilities as can be found in cities such as Utrecht and Malmo. 
  4. Create immediate ‘Quick Build’ projects in the interim to improve the cycling experience, while waiting for the major projects to be completed.
  5. Create an institutional structure to coordinate and oversee the implementation of all active travel measures. We would maintain that the structures recommended in Chapter 06 of the 2009 National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF) are still broadly relevant. A major weakness with the implementation of the NCPF over the last decade was the lack of advancement of critically important actions such as 17.2 (establishment of a National Advisory Forum) and 17.4 (Creation of a Network of Cycling Experts). Compared to the institutional structures created to look after the roll out of Ireland’s motorway network, the structures created to coordinate cycling interventions were not in the same league. 

Cyclist.ie Calls for a VeloRution!

Cyclist.ie’s vision is that cycling will be a normal part of transport and everyday life in Ireland.  Cycling is a vital part of building healthier and less polluted communities. Check out our 10 Election Asks HERE, but we boil them down to three kernel points below.

  1. CYCLING NEEDS TO BE A NORMAL EVERYDAY ACTIVITY

Cycling is a critical part of the transport equation in combating Climate Change.  We need everyday cycling to be better and safer, more convenient, and easier. Hopping on your bike should be a more attractive option for the so-called first-mile and last-mile journeys.

No more slashing of funding or paltry rises: major investment is needed to shift people away from car dependency, especially for short journeys under 5km.  This means greater investment in cycling infrastructure and promotion.

We need our next Government to allocate a minimum 10% of Transport Funding to cycling immediately, as promised under the National Climate Action Plan.  Currently, cycling is allocated a tiny 2% of our transport spend.

We do not need to reinvent the wheel. Bike safety is highest in countries and cities where bike use is high and people cycling have interconnected networks of segregated routes (e.g. Netherlands, Denmark, Bristol, Manchester).

2.ELIMINATE THE NEED FOR CYCLE BUSES – BUILD SAFE  SEGREGATED NETWORKS

Manifestos that mention school cycle buses should make us weep with rage. There should be no need for parents and adults to marshal kids to school on bikes, forming human shields between small soft bodies and big, motorised, metal boxes. Cycle buses must not become the norm.

What we need are safe routes to schools and throughout populated areas: networks of segregated cycle paths along roads; safe junction design with priority signalling for people on bikes; and quiet routes through permeable neighbourhoods.

Let’s get designing and building!

3. FIT FOR PURPOSE PLANNING, POLICY AND POLICING

The 3 Ps of Planning, Policy and Policing seem a little dry at first glance – but these are the actions that make the good things happen.

Planning  – Building safer cycling infrastructure should be guided by our National Cycle Manual. This design guidance needs urgent updating to upgrade our standards and bring us into line with best international practice.

Policy – We need joined-up thinking for everyday cycling across the myriad of Departments: Transport Tourism and Sport, Health, Environment/Housing, Education, and Justice. We need a resourced National Cycling Office, preferably within the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, to coordinate policy, and ensure action.

Policing – We have road traffic legislation that considers people who cycle and walk, but enforcement needs greater priority. People who cycle are frustrated and frightened by illegal parking in cycle lanes and dangerous overtaking.The Garda need to learn from their UK counterparts.

CONCLUSION

Increasing cycling numbers in Ireland will cut congestion, improve public health, and reduce pollution.

To get more people cycling, we need to make it an easier and safer choice. Let’s have real Cycle Networks, Safe School Routes, and coordinated Planning, Policy and Policing that protects us.

It’s as easy as ABC: Allocate 10% of transport funding to cycling; Build safer infrastructure, and everyone will Cycle more.

10 Asks to Make Cycling Safer and Better for All

  • Allocate 10% of transport funding to cycling
  • Establish a National Cycling Office in Dep. of Transport, Tourism & Sport
  • Provide high quality cycling infrastructure networks that enable Cycling for All
  • Introduce a default 30 km/h speed limit in urban areas
  • Prioritise the provision of school streets and safe routes to school
  • Rebalance transport expenditure to prioritise public transport, walking & cycling
  • Introduce a subsidy scheme for E-bikes similar to the E-car scheme
  • Update the National Cycle Manual as a matter of urgency
  • Land use planning for urban development to prioritise active travel
  • Prioritise enforcement by An Garda to protect people walking & cycling

Cyclist.ie Pre-Budget Submission 2020

Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, has made a pre-budget submission, asking for 10% of the transport budget to be allocated to cycling.

We estimate that spending on cycling currently amounts to less than 2% of Transport capital spending. This year climate change has moved centre stage with the publication in March of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action (JOCCA) final report, the declaration in May of a Climate Emergency, and the publication in June of the government’s Climate Action Plan, all of which recommended that 10% of the Transport Budget should be spent on cycling.

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