Final_GCC_logo_7_06_2010Galway Cycling Campaign welcomed the launch of the city bike share scheme (Coca-Cola Zero Bikes) a year ago, but its success was in doubt from the start once the planned station on University Road was not built.

City Hall, in a last minute U-turn, removed one of the three largest docking stations from the scheme due to concerns over loss of 4–5 car parking spaces. “The decision to completely remove a station capable of holding up to 30 bicycles, one of only three of that size, clearly showed the priorities of City Hall at the time. UHG and NUIG lost their primary docking station link to the city centre even before rollout,” said Robert Mc Kenny, Campaign Chair.

As of today, only 13 stations out of 15 are operational in Galway city. A total of 19 were meant to be built over a year ago. The greatest distance is between stations at Fr Burke Road and City Hall, which are 1.7km apart. Their proximity to one another is widely believed to discourage potential users.

City Hall’s decisions to omit planned docking stations and ignore recommendations on one-way streets did not bode well for the scheme from the start. It is no surprise to the Cycling Campaign that Galway’s is the least-used scheme nationwide by a significant margin. If it were expanded to the same number of stations as Limerick (23) or Cork (31), and if the one-way streets issue were dealt with, then it could match those cities’ usage numbers.

One-way streets lead to long detours for cyclists, as Campaign member Shane Foran explained. “There is a bike share station on Mainguard Street near St Nicholas Church. The distance to the next bike share station at Newtownsmith is 350m. Because of the one-way street system and a ban on cycling in the pedestrian zone, the return journey from Newtownsmith to Mainguard St. is 1.1km by the northern route and 2.1km by the southern route.”20150927_Market_St_Street_View_with_notes

The one-way streets problem has long been highlighted by the Campaign as a barrier to cycling in Galway. The Jacobs Report, which was the initial feasibility study for the bike share scheme, described Galway as “awkward to navigate by bike” and recommended providing two-way cycling on one-way streets – a common feature in other European cities. This has not been implemented. “Two-way cycling on one-way streets has been in the City Development Plan for a decade now, and the Jacobs Report stressed its importance in its Executive Summary,” said Campaign PRO Oisín Ó Nidh. “If Galway City Council had followed the recommendations of the Jacobs Report, then Galway would not be in last place.”

Further reading:

See our discussion paper: Addicted to cars; the role of car parking revenue for Irish local authorities and implications for state policy.

Appendix 1: Public Bike Share in Galway – Page 7

Appendix 2: The impact of one-way streets and disk parking on school children – Page 9

Cycling Campaign welcomes decision to suspend funding on Athlone Galway cycle route



Need for root and branch review of entire project




The Galway Cycling Campaign has welcomed the decision by the Minister for Transport, Mr. Paschal Donohoe TD, to suspend funding for the controversial Galway section of a proposed cross country cycleway.  We think there should now be a root and branch review of the conduct of the project agencies which has caused consternation among landowners along the route. The NRA and Council Roads departments were clearly not suitable to deliver such a project and it should now be given to other agencies. The suspension of the project was needed since it was having a damaging effect on whole concept of cycle tourism and recreational cycling in rural areas. The behaviour of the NRA and County Council Roads departments threatened to do profound damage to the development of cycling tourism in Galway and nationally.

The Cycling Campaign have previously pointed out that the county councils and NRA had ignored standard methods for providing such routes without splitting farms.  From the outside the impression was of a project intended to maximise the cost to the taxpayer and thereby maximise any disruption to local communities and for little useful purpose. The conduct of the agencies involved has raised the spectre of the worst days of the Celtic Tiger.   The project was handled like some kind of “mini-motorway” scheme. Coloured lines were drawn on maps and compulsory purchase orders proposed for lands along these designated corridors.  A completely new road was to be pushed through the countryside of East Galway with little or no attempt to make use of existing infrastructure already in public ownership.  The argument might be made that this was what was specified in the term of reference for the project.  However, these terms of reference were probably drawn up in consultation with the agencies involved.  Either way they should not have been accepted as the basis for the project.

This quiet country road near Recess is to form part of the proposed Oughterard-Clifden cycleway. Is there nothing like this in all of East Galway?

These agencies also seemed to simply ignore successful models for cycling tourism that were already working in County Galway. Cycling is central to the tourism product on the Aran Islands. On Inis Mór, cycling is a popular way for tourists to explore the island. Visitors hire bikes near the quay when they get off the ferry and use minor country roads shared with local motor traffic. The key point is that these roads are used by low volumes of motor vehicles on local journeys. In our view, it would be bizarre to suggest that similar conditions cannot be created elsewhere in the county.

There are also successful models for creating rural recreational routes already operating on the ground. Up and down the country, rural recreation officers and county heritage officers have been working with local communities, for minimal cost, to develop walking routes using local country lanes and boreens. These programs attract wide community buy-in and the resulting routes are “adopted” by local communities. Instead of building on this successful model, the NRA and Council Roads engineers took an approach that maximised cost and alienated local communities. The key point about cycle routes is that they are first and foremost to serve the local community. These local segments then link up to provide larger networks.

Along with the conduct of the scheme, the route choice itself had raised eyebrows. We have been discussing and thinking about the Dublin-Galway route for nearly two decades. The Royal Canal never suggested itself as an obvious choice. The obvious choice was always to follow the Grand Canal to Shannon Harbour and tie in with Clonmacnoise and the Beara Breifne Cycle route which starts in West Cork and ends in Fermanagh. The Royal Canal to Mullingar suggests itself as a route for getting to Mayo rather than Galway. Some commentators have now been calling for the extension of the Royal Canal route towards Mayo.

Budget 2016: Cycling Campaign calls for car-parking income to be taken from councils


Cyclists call for action on local councils who are “addicted to cars




In a pre-budget submission, the Galway Cycling Campaign is calling on the Government to remove car-parking revenue from local authorities and take away financial incentives to promote private-cars over other forms of transport.  Figures in a 2010 report for the Irish Parking Association show that nationally, Irish local authorities accounted for 27% of car-parking capacity and 33% of parking revenue.  The local council component of the business accounted for €115 million in annual revenue.  The Cycling Campaign submission points out that car-parking revenue gives local authority managers a financial motive to prioritise cars over other forms of transport. This conflict of interest has strong negative implications for state transport policy.

To fix the problem, we propose a system of strategic parking levies.  A system of car-parking levies would also have wider uses such as providing support for businesses in town centres and support for anti-congestion projects such as park and ride schemes.  Such levies could be used to provide a level-playing field between hard-pressed town centres and out-of-town shopping centres that should not have been allowed in the first place.

Galway City (Bohermore): Google Street View showing this strategic access corridor, the local authority has removed road space from cyclists to provide paid on-street parking. The disk parking arrangements with painted parking lanes and ticket machines can be seen.

See our discussion paper: Addicted to cars; the role of car parking revenue for Irish local authorities and implications for state policy.

In a discussion document “Addicted to Cars” passed to the Department of Finance, we point out that the state has invested in measures intended to promote sustainable travel such as walking, cycling and public transport, yet little overall growth has been seen. The way councils use funds for sustainable transport often creates new problems or avoids fixing old ones. Worse: a situation continues where state funds meant to support sustainable transport end up being used essentially to facilitate car travel.  Irish cycle lanes often seem to disappear just where they are needed, with cyclists finding their way blocked by parked cars and traffic jams. Other negative impacts include creating one-way streets so that additional road space can be used for car parking, often this has the practical effect of making it illegal for children to cycle to school.  In some cases local authorities have spent state funds in a way that avoids key aspects of the recommendations behind the project.  We use the example of the Coke zero Bikeshare in Galway. City Bikeshare stations were installed without bringing in the two-way cycling on one-way streets that was part of the proposal.

One way streets croppedGalway City: Galway Cycling Campaign poster illustrating impact of city council practices on child cyclists.

20150927_Market_St_Street_View_with_notesGalway City: Google Street View showing Market St. at the Connacht Tribune Office. The street is one-way going towards the viewer. There is a Bikeshare station on Mainguard Street near St Nicholas Church in the background. The distance to the next Bikeshare station at Newtownsmith is 350m. Because of the one-way street system and a ban on cycling in the pedestrian zone, the return journey from Newtownsmith to Mainguard St. is 1.1km by the northern Route and 2.1 km by the southern route. In the background is St Patricks National School – schoolchildren face similar diversions. The disk parking arrangements with painted parking lanes and ticket machines can be seen.

Budget 2016: Cyclists call for deposit on glass bottles


Budget 2016: Stop the puncture problem at source say cyclists




The Galway Cycling Campaign has made a submission on Budget 2016 calling for a national deposit scheme on glass bottles.

Moving motor vehicles have a “sweeping” effect that pushes broken glass, gravel and grit to the edge of the roadway. Cycle lanes and cycle tracks are parts of the road that no longer get “swept” by passing cars, so they automatically collect more of this unwelcome material.

Scaled 2013-02-22 10.24.28Broken glass on a Galway cycle path

Roadside cycle paths in particular can be hard to reach for the usual Irish road-sweeping vehicles, and many are notorious for collecting broken glass. One UK study found that cycle track users are seven times more likely than road cyclists to get punctures.[i] 

For a cyclist in a city like Galway, getting a puncture while you are approaching a roundabout can also be a serious safety issue.

The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark all have deposit schemes on glass bottles, but Ireland does not. It is our view that to support the Government’s Smarter Travel programmes, Ireland needs to introduce compulsory deposits on glass bottles.

[i] Franklin, J. (1999). Two decades of the Redway cycle paths of Milton Keynes. Traffic Engineering and Control, Aug. 1999.

Cycling Campaign say old N6 not suitable location for International Greenway

Final_GCC_logo_7_06_2010IFA and NRA sabotage jobs boost for East Galway

Funding should be scrapped or go elsewhere if suitable route not found



The Galway Cycling Campaign has called on the Minister for Transport, Mr. Paschal Donohoe TD, to reject IFA proposals to put a local section of an international greenway beside the old N6. Controversy has erupted about the routing of the Galway section of the Eurovelo 2 cycling route. The route is meant to start in Galway and end in Moscow and much of the mainland sections are already in place. Conflict has arisen between the IFA and the NRA who have proposed to CPO farmers’ land to construct the route.

Eurovelo 2 route from Wikimedia Commons uploaded by user Rbrausse. Adapted from European Cyclists’ Federation Eurovelo routes map

Eurovelo 2 route from Wikimedia Commons uploaded by user Rbrausse. Adapted from European Cyclists’ Federation Eurovelo routes map

The cyclists say both sides are at fault with the NRA approach viewed as poorly managed and divisive. The county council and NRA seem to have ignored standard methods for providing such routes without splitting farms. The cyclists accept that the appointment of the NRA to lead the project has been highly questionable and that the NRA involvement has not been positive. However, the IFA suggestion of putting a Greenway beside a busy road is equally flawed and would make the country a laughing stock.

The cyclists say a reality check is needed. The Greenway represents strategic international infrastructure and, if implemented correctly, could open up a huge new tourism product for East Galway. Elsewhere in Europe cycling tourism is big business. Over 5 million Germans take a cycling holiday every year. Domestically, the German cycling tourism market has sales of more than €9 billion annually. In 2010 just over one million Dutch people went on a cycling holiday with the potential market estimated at €1.7 million. For the Italian tourism market, adventure holidays (of which cycling is a part) generated €510,000 million of travel retail sales in 2008. In 2008, around 970,000 UK holiday makers took part in cycling while on holiday. There is also a large untapped Irish market. In 2007, research found that 28% of Irish adults had used a bicycle in the previous year.

Between the towns of Gort, Loughrea and Ballinasloe there are currently over 5000 people on the live register. Retail in Ballinasloe has been decimated. The cycling route represents an enormous opportunity for communities along its path – including the farming community. By pushing a “solution” that would destroy the essential nature of the Greenway, the IFA are open to the accusation that they are sabotaging economic recovery for local communities and towns in East Galway.

Following a brief meeting with the Minister on Monday 31st of August, the cycling campaign is to bring forward alternative proposals for a different process for creating such routes. The cycling campaign endorses the view that it is better to redirect any funds elsewhere in the country than to spend them on a second class version of a cycling route in Galway.

Note on cycling tourism in Europe.

In 2010 the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs commissioned reviews of the potential for cycling tourism in Europe. They estimated that 5.6 million Germans took a cycling holiday yearly. It was found that German cyclists make up over a fifth of cycling EU tourists and around a fifth of Germans have taken at least one cycling holiday. Domestically, the German cycling tourism market has sales of more than €9 billion annually. In 2010 just over one million Dutch people went on a cycling holiday with the potential market estimated at 1.7 million. For Dutch tourists, cycling is the third most popular theme holiday after cultural holidays and hiking. Dutch cycling tourists invest a lot of money in their holiday bikes. In 2007, the Dutch spent an average of €1,600 on a holiday bike in 2007 and €2,400 on average in 2010. For the Italian tourism market, adventure holidays (of which cycling is a part) generated €510,000 million of travel retail sales in 2008. In 2009, 2.6% of Italian travellers went on a sport-related holiday. The main motivations for Italians taking cycling holidays include ‘nature’, ‘sports and exercise’, ‘culture’, and a desire to be away from cars and traffic. In 2008, around 970,000 UK holiday makers took part in cycling while on holiday. There is also a large untapped Irish market. In 2007, research found that 28% of Irish adults had used a bicycle in the previous year.

Cycling tourism in Germany, Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2011
Cycling tourism in the Netherlands, Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2011
Cycling tourism in Italy, Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2011
Cycling tourism in the UK, Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2011
SLÁN 2007 Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes AND Nutrition in Ireland Main Report, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND CHILDREN, 2008

Statbank data
Persons on Live Register (Number) by Sex, Age Group, Social Welfare Office and Month
(Both sexes and All ages 2015M07)

Ballinasloe 2,076
Gort 1,197
Loughrea 1,920

Total 5,193

Cycling Campaign makes submission on the Galway City Traffic Management Programme.

Final_GCC_logo_7_06_2010Calls for vision of Galway as a University City with traffic reduced city centre.

Houses may have to go in Knocknacarra


The Galway Cycling Campaign has made a submission on on the Galway City Integrated Traffic Management Programme Consultation. The central vision put by the campaign is that Galway should be managed like other well known university cities. Their submission argues that Galway should see itself as the Oxford or Cambridge of Ireland. Likewise car-focused cities such as Los Angeles or Birmingham are poor models for Galway to follow. The cycle campaign argue for a system of traffic cells modelled on cities like Delft and Groningen with cars banned from crossing the city centre. The Salmon Weir bridge, O’Briens bridge and Wolfe Tone bridge would be closed to private cars but remain open to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. Private traffic crossing the city would need to use the Quincentenial Bridge.


Image: Google Satellite view showing proposed “traffic cells” created by managing access across three city centre bridges.


For the wider city, the submission calls for an approach based on a “Hierarchy of Solutions” taken from official guidance. This would require comprehensive measures to address car speeds on city roads with a focus on enforcement. It is stressed that problematic road features need to be removed or modified. Examples include roundabouts in the city which must be either removed or traffic calmed with raised zebra crossings. Substandard lane widths such as at traffic lights are also highlighted. The cycle campaign calls for remedial measures for newer car-based areas of the city such as Knocknacarra. Here the cul-de-sac based housing model needs to be dismantled. In some cases, it may be necessary to purchase properties and demolish them in order to create a functional roads network. Without this, walking, cycling and public transport are discouraged by excessively long travel distances. In addition, smaller schoolchildren must have traffic-free routes away from main roads if school-run congestion is to be tackled The consultation exercise is part of the controversial Galway bypass process conducted by Galway City and County councils.


Image: Google Satellite view showing walking distances to local amenities from two adjacent houses.  Residents in house A in Cartur Mor must walk over 2km.  The same trip for a resident of Cloch Ard is 600-700m.

Link to submission (790kb pdf)


Give Cyclists the Green Light

green lightGalway Cycling Campaign is calling for all traffic light systems to be rectified so that they give the green light to cyclists at junctions.
Sensors at many junctions in Irish cities are turning green for motorists, but not for cyclists.
Galway Cycling Campaign cautiously welcome the introduction of on-the-spot fines for cyclists.
Offences which penalise cyclists for cycling at night without a light or failing to stop for a School Warden fine are especially welcome.
However, our roads are not yet ready for implementing the running a red light offence.
Currently it is unjust and unworkable to expect cyclists to stop for all red lights.
“For example, I am cycling and I stop at the stop line at a junction. The lights do not detect me, so they stay red, and a queue forms behind me. If I go beyond the stop line, which is technically an offence, and beckon the driver behind me to move forward to activate the sensor, only then will the lights change,” explained Shane Foran, Galway Cycling Campaign’s Technical Specialist.
He also pointed out that if there were no cars behind him, the sensor may not detect him. “If I was cycling into town at night when it was a bit quieter, and there were no cars behind me at this junction, I would be left waiting there in vain. The lights would stay red indefinitely. I would argue that in effect, several generations of Irish roads engineers have been training Irish cyclists to ignore red traffic lights,” said Mr Foran.
This situation is a failure on behalf of roads authorities to comply with the law which states that “a road authority shall consider the needs of all road users. (Article 13.5 of the 1993 Roads Act)
Galway Cycling Campaign are calling on the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohue to issue a direction ordering that all traffic signals change for cyclists.
“This flaw in the system is easily remedied. Timers at traffic lights could be used instead or else more appropriate sensor systems,” said Mr Foran.

To read the letter that Galway Cycling Campaign sent to Minister for Transport Paschal Donohue please click here:

Fixed Penalty Notices Letter to Paschal Donohue

Open letter to Editor of City Tribune, Galway

17th June 2015
Dear Editor,
We are writing to respond to opinions recently expressed by City Tribune journalist Declan Tierney. On May 22 (page 2) he suggested that cycling campaigners should hold a “seminar” to inform the general public “as to how they should behave when on their bikes.”
On June 5 (page 2) he wrote: “We are encouraging the Galway Cycling Campaign to embark on something of a tutorial. It would be great if they would encourage the cycling public in general to stop behaving like idiots when they are on their bicycles.” He also declared, “Some cyclists have absolutely no respect for the pedestrianised areas of Galway.”
We are writing to echo the views of Simon Comer from Cosáin whose excellent letter was published on this page last week. He made the point that cycling campaign groups have been tirelessly lobbying for many years for safer conditions for cyclists.
Galway Cycling Campaign, a group made up entirely of volunteers, is one of these groups and has been lobbying on behalf of cyclists for 17 years. We have also contributed hugely over the years to educating Galway’s cyclists.
Our ‘Share the Road’ and ‘Cycling Skills’ leaflets have proved continuously popular and have been adopted for use in other cities. Some of our members are accredited cycle instructors, and deliver training sessions to adults.
We have also produced a series of road signs with messages such as ‘Always use lights at night and ‘Please respect pedestrian crossings.’
We do not have a statutory role in enforcing traffic laws or in implementing government cycling policy. We are all too aware, especially this week – National Bike Week – that cyclists are vulnerable road users, and will come out the worst in collisions with vehicles.
Mr Tierney declares that the GCC should “embark on a learning curve.” We however believe that it is Mr Tierney himself who is in need of the learning curve. He is quick to condemn cyclists, and fails to understand why cyclists are using pedestrianised streets at all.
Cycling is now enshrined in national government policy, as outlined in Smarter Travel and the National Cycle Policy Framework. Galway City Council has a role in promoting cycling and providing adequate facilities.
Cycling infrastructure in the city is simply not good enough. The existence of a one-way system in the city centre results in cyclists being forced into pedestrian areas. Allowing cyclists to move both ways on a one-way street is a simple solution to this problem. Our educational materials advise cyclists to dismount in pedestrian areas.
Mr Tierney, the next time you see a cyclist on a pedestrian street, ask yourself why they are there at all. And then, instead of suggesting that a resource-poor voluntary organisation provide seminars for the public, think carefully about what specific local and national bodies have statutory obligations to educate the cycling public.
Mairéad Ní Chaoimh,
Galway Cycling Campaign


Interested in winning a FREE bike goodie bags? Here’s your chance!

To mark the occasion of the launch of Galway Bike Festival and our upcoming bike screening ‘A Night of Cycling Shorts’, we have not one BUT two competitions for you!



Picture competition bike week 2015 banner FB
Life is better by bike! We would love to know what’s your favorite place to ride. So we’re launching the #IWantToRideMyBicycle photo competition.

How to enter:

1. Take a photo of your bike (and yourself if you can) in your favorite location to ride it
2. On Facebook: Tag Galway Cycling, Galway Bike Festival in your photo and use #IWantToRideMyBicycle #GBF2015 #BW2015
3. On Twitter: Tag @GalwayCycling, @GalwayBikeFest and use #IWantToRideMyBicycle #GBF2015 #BW2015

Competition closes 16th June 2015 and winner will be announced via Facebook and Twitter. Creativity and humour will be taken into account by our jury.

Prizes will be awarded at our Night of Cycling Shorts Event!

Good Luck!



bike competition bike week 2015 banner FB

We love a bit of fun and racing and on the occasion of Galway Bike Festival, we will have a little treasure hunt on Monday 15th June from 7pm-10pm. All you have to do is to spot our light-up bike in the city!

How to compete:
1. Keep an eye on our Social Media to locate the bike (we will post a picture of the bike location and you will have to recognise it to get there)
2. Tell us where the bike was on Twitter or Facebook and use the tags #WhereIsTheBike? #BW2015 #GBF2015
3. Be the first at the destination to pick up the cinema clap board on the bike
4. Collect your prizes at our event A Night Of Cycling Shorts on Wed 17th June 7pm by returning to us the cinema clap

Have fun!

Please don’t forget to like, share, and follow us on Facebook, twitter and our website:

And see you all on Wed 17th of June for ‘A Night of Cycling Shorts!
Join the event on Facebook for more info.

Galway Cycling Campaign presents…
“A Night of Cycling Shorts”

bike week banner 2015

Galway Cycling Campaign will present “A Night of Cycling Shorts” in Huston School of Film, Earl’s Island, NUIG on Wednesday 17 June at 7:00 pm as part of National Bike Week.

This well loved annual event will showcase the best of Irish and International Bicycle Cinema as up to 2 hours of short films, celebrating bike culture, will be screened.

The selection, which has been specifically chosen for National Bike Week, will feature a diverse, exhilarating and award winning mixture of short films from around the globe. There will also be spot prizes, competitions and a few surprises on the night.

The event is free and doors open at 6:45 pm. Be there, with (bicycle) bells on!

For more updates and bike fun “like” the Galway Cycling Campaign Facebook page or follow us on twitter @GalwayCycling.

Join our Facebook event here.

Where: Huston School of Film, Earl’s Island, NUIG, Galway
When: Wednesday 17 June. Doors open at 6:45 pm. Films kick off at 7:00 pm
Ticket Price: FREE ENTRY. Limited seating. First come, first served. There are sofas up the front so the early bird really does catch the worm.

#GBF2015 #BW2015