Galway Cycling Campaign and Why Not? Adventure Film Festival present “A night of Cycling Shorts”

A Night of Cycling Shorts

Bike-Film-Night-Poster

Galway Cycling Campaign and Why Not? Adventure Film Festival will present “A Night of Cycling Shorts” in Kelly’s Bar, Bridge Street on Wednesday June 18th at 7.30 pm as part of National Bike Week. The event will showcase the best of Irish and International Bicycle Cinema as up to 2 hours of short films will be screened to celebrate cycling culture.

The selection on the night will feature a diverse, exhilarating and award winning mixture of short films covering topics such as bicycle social entrepreneurship, underground unicycling, epic mountain biking adventuring and a land speed record attempt. & yes, that last sentence did includes the words underground unicycling! The night will also see the screening of the Irish premiere of the 2013 International Cycling Film Festival winner.

There will also be spot prizes and surprises on the night.

The event is free and doors open at 7:00 pm. For more updates “like” the Why Not? Adventure Film Festival and Galway Cycling Campaign Facebook pages and follow the websites: www.galwaycycling.org and www.whynotadventurefilmfestival.com

Where: Kelly’s Pub (upstairs), Bridge St, Galway City

When: Wednesday June 18th. Doors open at 7pm. Films kick off at 7:30pm

Ticket Price: FREE ENTRY. Limited seating.  First come, first served.

A new bicycle commuting service comes to Galway

A new bicycle commuting service is coming to Galway during National Bike Week. For two days of National Bike Week, Monday 16 June and Wednesday 18 June (National Cycle to Work Day) the BikeBus will provide adult cyclists in Galway with the opportunity to commute to work with other cyclists.

A BikeBus is a collective form of bicycle commuting where a group of cyclists follow a set route and timetable, “picking up” and “dropping off” “passengers” along the way. A BikeBus provides those new to bicycle commuting with a perfect opportunity to commute to work alongside experienced cyclists. The BikeBus also welcomes experienced cycling commuters who may fancy a more convivial ride for the week that is in it. The BikeBus is a fun, healthy and sociable way to get to and from work. We’ve put together a set of FAQs for BikeBus.

The Galway BikeBus will travel from the Knocknacarra Community Centre to the Parkmore Business Park in the morning and return in the evening. The BikeBus will pass by major employers and industrial hubs such as Galway University Hospital, NUIG, Liosban Industrial Estate, Mervue Business Park, Ballybrit Business Park, Briarhill Business Park and Parkmore Business Park. See the maps for the routes at: Galway BikeBus Morning Route (Cappagh Road to Parkmore) and Galway BikeBus Evening Route (Parkmore to Cappagh Road). You can also download the timetable as a PDF (5 Mb)

Make sure you check the route map and timetable below to “catch” the BikeBus. Email info@galwaycycling.org to let us know if you want to “get on board”.

Cycling Campaign raises concerns about Fr Griffin Rd proposals.

The Galway Cycling Campaign has raised concerns about proposals to
rearrange the junction at the Fire Station on Fr Griffin Rd. The
proposals are due to come before the City Council meeting on Monday
9th September. The cyclists say this is a key junction, serving
districts with the highest levels of cycling in the city and that the
changes could have negative effects for these road users. They are
calling for cycle lanes to be included in the redesign.

The proposals will convert the one-way section of Fairhill opposite
the Fire Station to two-way use and will allow cars to turn into this
section from Fr Griffin Rd. For the cyclists, the issue is that the
council are proposing to put dedicated right-turn lanes on Fr Griffin
Rd. They say that this will have the effect of pushing the main
traffic queues into the edge of the road thus blocking out cyclists on
a key route into the city. According to the Cycle Campaign, the
changes will have the effect of pushing cyclists up onto the footpaths
to keep moving.

According to Campaign spokesperson Oisin O’Nidh “There

aren’t cycle lanes at this junction but it works well for cyclists at
the moment because motorists using tend to stay in the right hand lane
when queuing at the lights”. He continued “this means there is usually
space for cyclists to keep moving – our reading of the new design is
that it will push cars into this space leaving cyclists with nowhere
to go”. Census data in the draft Galway Walking and Cycling Strategy
show that Salthill, the Taylors Hill area and the Claddagh have the
highest levels of cycling to work. In 2006, 9% of Salthill, 8% of
Taylors Hill residents and 7% of Claddagh residents cycled to work or

education. The junction at the Fire Station is on the direct route
into the city for many of these cyclists. In an alternative proposal
the Galway Cycling Campaign is a calling for cycle lanes to be
provided on Fr Griffin Rd as part of these works.

At today’s (9th of September 2013) City Hall meeting the council will also consider proposals for traffic calming at various locations including Dr. Mannix and Rahoon
Rds. The cycling campaign is in favour of this part of the proposals
and welcomes these measures as creating safer more attractive places
for cycling and walking.

Cycling Campaign welcomes changes to Connemara greenway proposals at oral hearing.

The Galway Cycling Campaign has welcomed changes proposed by Galway County Council to the Oughterard to Clifden Greenway at the An Bord Pleanala oral hearing held in Clifden last week. The cyclists had serious concerns about an initial design that would put a recreational cycle-path directly beside high-speed traffic on the N59 for over 11km. At the hearing, held over two days in the Station House Hotel Clifden, the County Council offered an amended design. The new design would use sections of the old railway line and the old Clifden road to provide an additional 6.35Km away from the N59.

Some of the alternatives brought to the Oral Hearing by Galway Cycling Campaign that where adopted. Routes No 1 and No 4 shown below
OpneStreetMapExtract_with_alternatives

The hearing heard some opposition from local landowners, particularly from the Bunscanniff and Glengowla townlands. Keith Geoghegan of Glengowla mines expressed serious concerns about possible ill effects on his business but offered an alternative route through his property away from the old railway track. Some observers expressed the view that visiting tourists should be charged a fee to cross individual land holdings. Mr. Liam Gavin, Senior County Engineer, expressed a preference for following the old Clifden-Galway Railway embankment to the greatest practical extent. Local hoteliers and business owners spoke in favour of the scheme. Mr. Paul Dunne, a Lecturer in Tourism at GMIT spoke in favour of placing the route away from the N59 and cited research on feedback from users of the Great Western Greenway in Mayo. Some contributors took an opposing position arguing for the incorporation of the route into the N59 or of dropping the scheme altogether in favour of investing in local roads.

Evidence was presented at the hearing pointing out that the incorporation of recreational cycle-routes into roads with high-speed traffic is directly contrary to both the 2007 Failte Ireland Tourism Strategy and guidance from the National Trails Office.

According to the cyclists, the overall proposal to develop a 50km Greenway from Oughterard to Clifden, and costed at EU7million, is welcome. If sensitively carried out, the scheme could create a huge asset for the community of West Connemara. They point out that the Western Greenway in Mayo has generated EU7million per year for the local community – indicating significant unmet demand for a particular cycling experience.

An Bord Pleanala recently rejected a Kerry County Council application to put a tourist cycle route directly beside the N86 on the Dingle Peninsula. The Cycle Campaign is hopeful that the eventual Board decision on the Galway greenway may identify further sections of the route that can be taken off road. Even with the changes proposed, 5.15km will still be right beside the traffic on the N59.

Campaign says rejection of controversial Kerry Cycleway proposals good news for Connemara Greenway.

The Galway Cycling Campaign and Cyclist.ie, Ireland’s National Cycling Lobby Group has welcomed An Bord Pleanala’s rejection of a controversial NRA Cycle path scheme for the N86 in the Dingle peninsula. The road scheme running from Camp to Dingle had attracted particular concern because the designers planned to co-locate a tourist cycling path directly beside high speed traffic for the entire length of the N86 scheme (28km). The rejection of the Kerry proposals echoes concerns raised about the proposed Connemara Greenway which is due to go before an Oral hearing next month in Clifden. The cyclists are hailing the decision as a vindication of the Failte Ireland tourism strategy and National Cycle Policy Framework which is to avoid busy roads.

The Galway Cycling Campaign has lodged an objection to the proposed Connemara Greenway on similar grounds: that the cycle paths are placed directly beside high speed traffic for considerable distances alongside the N59 despite the existence of obvious alternatives. With regard to similar cycle paths in Kerry, the Planning Appeals Board have instructed that they be dropped from the scheme. The grounds given include that the proximity to the carriageway might not offer an attractive recreational route. The Board recommends that alternatives possibly using quieter non-national roads would deliver a more desirable and successful cycleway. The Board have asked the applicants to resubmit a scaled back scheme that seeks to minimise interference with natural features such as hedgerows and tree lines. An Bord Pleanala to hold an oral hearing into the proposed Connemara Greenway on the 11th of December.

The proposal to develop a 50km section of the Connemara Greenway from Oughterard to Clifden is welcome. If sensitively carried out, the scheme could create a huge asset for the community of Connemara. They point out that the Western Greenway in Mayo has generated EU7million per year for the local community – indicating significant unmet demand for a particular cycling experience. However the cyclists say that the current scheme is incorrectly conceived, could fail to achieve its aims and could divert significant resources from more beneficial works. The planning appeals board has been asked to reject the scheme in its current format.

Over the entire 50km, long sections of the proposed scheme conform to the commonly accepted “greenway” concept (i.e. it is routed away from high-speed traffic). However, instead of being maintained as a traffic free greenway for the greatest possible distance, the route is to be incorporated into the existing N59 as a cycle path adjacent to fast moving motor traffic for between 11.7 and 14.6 kilometres or approximately 20% of its length. In the EIS carried out for the scheme, the alternatives to incorporating the cycle route into a high-speed road do not appear to have been given due consideration. Nor does any due consideration appear to have been given on the impacts of such traffic on cyclists – who will theoretically include family groups. Most regrettably, the worst affected section of the route could be considered the most scenic as it passes close to the Maamturks mountain range and the South Bens. It is imperative that an off-road solution be found here so that, rather than being 2meters from vehicles travelling up to 100km, users can fully enjoy and appreciate the spectacular scenery in piece and quiet.

The Cycling Campaign has identified various alternative options that fulfil the greenway model. These include sections where the old Galway to Clifden railway bed is still available and sections of parallel minor roads including the original Galway-Clifden road. The alternatives provide a route away from high-speed traffic where the full benefits of a world class cycling route could be provided. In addition to providing a much more attractive route the alternative proposals avoid the need to CPO lands along the N59 itself.

Cycling Campaign welcomes oral hearing into deeply flawed Clifden greenway proposals.

The Galway Cycling Campaign has welcomed the decision by An Bord Pleanala to hold an oral hearing into the proposed Oughterard to Clifden Greenway – describing the current proposals as “deeply flawed”. Their concerns centre on a design that puts a recreational cycle path directly beside high-speed traffic on the N59 for at least 11km. The Cycling Campaign has identified a series of alternatives that would provide a more attractive route and avoid any need to CPO lands along the N59. They are hoping to hold a public meeting so that affected parties can share their concerns.

According to the cyclists, the proposal to develop a 50km Greenway from Oughterard to Clifden is welcome. If sensitively carried out, the scheme could create a huge asset for the community of West Connemara. They point out that the Western Greenway in Mayo has generated EU7million per year for the local community – indicating significant unmet demand for a particular cycling experience. However the cyclists say that the current scheme is incorrectly conceived, could fail to achieve its aims and could divert significant resources from more beneficial works. The planning appeals board has been asked to reject the scheme in its current format.

Over the entire 50km, long sections of the proposed scheme conform to the commonly accepted “greenway” concept (i.e. it is routed away from high-speed traffic). However, instead of being maintained as a traffic free greenway for the greatest possible distance, the route is to be incorporated into the existing N59 as a cycle path adjacent to fast moving motor traffic for between 11.7 and 14.6 kilometres or approximately 20% of its length. In the EIS carried out for the scheme, the alternatives to incorporating the cycle route into a high-speed road do not appear to have been given due consideration. Nor does any due consideration appear to have been given on the impacts of such traffic on cyclists – who will theoretically include family groups. Most regrettably, the worst affected section of the route could be considered the most scenic as it passes close to the Maamturks mountain range and the South Bens. It is imperative that an off-road solution be found here so that, rather than being distracted by traffic, users can fully enjoy and appreciate the spectacular scenery.

The Cycling Campaign has identified various alternative options that fulfil the greenway model. These include sections where the old Galway to Clifden railway bed is still available and sections of parallel minor roads including the original Galway-Clifden road. The alternatives provide a route away from high-speed traffic where the full benefits of a world class cycling route could be provided. In addition to providing a much more attractive route the alternative proposals avoid the need to CPO lands along the N59 itself.

Open Street map extract showing problematic section an alternatives
Photo of section of old Clifden Galway road that will not be used in
the Greenway

Don’t cycle on the footpath: Obvious, right?

Adults cycling on footpaths is an issue that annoys, threatens, intimidates and upsets a lot of pedestrians. While some cycle in a restrained manner, others cycle on footpaths in wholly obnoxious and selfish manner that destroys public sympathy for cycling and cycling promotion. In the Galway Cycling Campaign we’re fully aware of this and we hold the firm position that the footway is no place for an adult cyclist (we don’t hold a hard view on children cycling on footpaths).

As it happens our national body, Cyclist.ie, favours the consideration of German type traffic laws that allow for children cycling on footpaths.  With adults, much footpath cycling is percieved to be a reaction to hostile road conditions rather than simply wilful lawbreaking. The solution for adults is to acknowledge the problems footpath cycling can create and work to ensure that cyclists have access to a roads network that recognises their needs as roads users.

We’re happy to see the law on footpath cycling enforced by An Garda Síochána as part of a range of enforcement measures needed to create a more people-friendly city.

We advocate our position to fellow cyclists and we raise the issue when talking to engineers and designers of infrastructure. One of our concerns on the Seamus Quirke Road fiasco is that the design of the off-road cycleways puts cyclists into conflict with pedestrians. It is an approach that the city council want to continue in future schemes. We believe that the law informs our position. Here’s the legislative background to this.
1. A bicycle is a vehicle under Irish Road Traffic legislation.

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT, 1961.

Refer to Section 3, Interpretation:
(I’ve re-ordered the definitions from alphabetical)
pedal bicycle” means a bicycle which is intended or adapted for propulsion solely by the physical exertions of a person or persons seated thereon;
pedal cycle” means a vehicle which is a pedal bicycle or pedal tricycle;
driving” includes managing and controlling and, in relation to a bicycle or tricycle, riding, and “driver” and other cognate words shall be construed accordingly;
footway” means that portion of any road which is provided primarily for the use of pedestrians;

These are important definitions, the first three relate to the cyclist and their bicycle and how they are viewed as a driver and a vehicle respectively i.e. the law applies to them in a similar manner to those applying to a motor driver and a motor vehicle except where stated otherwise. The last relates to what we typically refer to as a footpath; a footway.

2. The next important piece of legislation handles driving on a footway

S.I. No. 182/1997 — Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations, 1997

Refer to Section 13, Driving on Footway:
13. (1) Subject to sub-articles (2) and (3), a vehicle shall not be driven along or across a footway.
(2) Sub-article (1) does not apply to a vehicle being driven for the purpose of access to or egress from a place adjacent to the footway.
(3) A reference in sub-article (1) to driving along or across a footway, includes s reference to driving wholly or partly along or across a footway.

(N.B. The interpretation section of this S.I. references the 1961 Act)

 

You would think that this position wouldn’t be questioned by anyone other than those adult cyclists who insist on cycling on footways. Unfortunately you’d be wrong: Galway City Council’s officials oppose our position. They hold a stated and repeated position that it’s not accurate to say it’s illegal to cycle on the footpath. Incredible, isn’t it. Bear in mind that this is also the council who brought you the infamous Doughiska Road cycle lane abomination.

This is now a particularly important issue because of the Walking and Cycling Strategy for Galway City and Environs which is under review by Galway City Council officials and elected councillors. To avoid inappropriate cycling infrastructure being designed we want a clear an unequivocal recognition in the strategy document that cycling on the footpath is illegal:

Under Irish law a bicycle is a vehicle, a cyclist is a driver and cyclists are considered to be traffic. Recognising this, the strategy affirms that the default assumption will be to provide for cyclists on the same carriageway surface as other vehicles.  The council will work to ensure that cyclists have on-road solutions on all roads in the city. Equally the legal status of cycles means that it is illegal to cycle on footways.

Galway City Council’s officials don’t want this. They can defend their own position on this but they argue accepting this point may prevent future infrastructure schemes like the Dangan Greenway that are shared use for pedestrians and cyclists. It doesn’t, other local authorities have shown themselves capable of dealing with this issue and creating facilities like the proposed greenways. What it does stop is poorly conceived off-road cycle facilities that put cyclists and pedestrians in conflict and cyclists at risk. At a meeting with city council officials and the transport sub-commitee (which has Galway Cycling Campaign representation) the illegality of cycling on the footpath became a sticking point and a decision was made that councillors would vote on the issue. The vote was in favour of the position that cycling on the footpath is illegal. The strategy is up for review again by councillors and when sending it to them for review, Galway City Council officials included the following in the covering letter: Ciaran Hayes letter to councillors 20120704

This letter uses a bullying tactic which is now favoured by Galway City Council officals when dealing with stubborn councillors; if you don’t vote for this we’ll lose the funding. This tactic has been used frequently to push through poorly conceived infrastructure schemes. It’s an affront to the democractic structures of local government and is an obscene use of our taxes. Schemes which are a waste of money and serve no road user (motorist, cyclist or pedestrian) get built simply to serve the egoes and CV building exercises of city council officials.

The Road Traffic Acts are clear; it’s illegal to cycle on the footpath. We want that recognised by councillors in the face of bullying by city officials.

Smarter Travel Fund scrappage a victory for common sense say cyclists

The Galway Cycling Campaign has warmly welcomed the announcement that the Government is to scrap
the controversial “Smarter Travel Areas Fund” and the associated competition. The Cycle Campaign, who
represent transportation cyclists in Galway City and County have hailed the decision, as announced by
Derek Nolan TD (Labour) this week, as a “victory for common sense”. Since the €50 million fund had been
announced in 2009, there had been serious concern among the cycling community nationally that it was
poorly conceived and potentially a highly questionable use of public money.
The Galway Cycling Campaign had been making repeated efforts to raise their concerns with the new
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sports Mr. Leo Varadkar TD. The Cycling Campaign say that what is
needed to improve cycling conditions is an initial focus on targeted low-cost interventions designed to solve
real problems for cyclists and pedestrians. A focus on Celtic-tiger style “flagship” schemes as typified by
the Galway City and Environs bid is exactly the wrong approach. According to campaign chair Mr. Shane
Foran: “The department’s conduct of the Areas Fund Competition has highlighted systemic weaknesses
at national level. There is cause for particular concern that the “Smarter Travel Unit” does not have the
necessary understanding of the field to exercise proper oversight over the schemes and projects that it funds.
An independent review of the unit may now be necessary”
Initial concerns about the competition were confirmed when the details of the Galway bid, for a €20 million
portion of the funding, were revealed. According to the Cycling Campaign, within the their bid and the
associated draft strategy document, the council executive failed to address or tackle serious infrastructural
defects that are identified in Government policy as requiring remedial action. In the Galway bid, several
fundamental infrastructural issues were neglected to the point that it seemed that Galway City and County
Councils were actively trying to avoid national policy. Explained Campaign PRO Oisín Ó Nidh: “The original
bid included a welcome proposal for 30kph zones. It then turned out that the officials were planning to achieve
this by using road narrowings and pinch points that force cyclists into close proximity with moving cars. These
are specifically rejected by state policy as inappropriate and creating hostile conditions for cyclists. The
unacceptable side effect is to force less confident cyclists onto footpaths”
Instead the Galway bid has a focus on recreational routes following the coast and the River Corrib to the
demonstrable neglect of cycling conditions on key commuter routes into the city. Some of the proposals
such as those for the Tuam Road, Monivea Rd, the Coast road from Oranmore and the Western Distributor
Rd could in fact result in conditions for cyclists deteriorating due to the published proposals showing clearly
inappropriate road layouts.

Seamus Quirke Road: Loan was a chance to force a needed redesign

The Galway Cycling Campaign has expressed disappointment at the news that the elected city council have given permission city officials to take out a larger loan to allow the Seamus Quirke Road works to continue. The Cycling Campaign have previously expressed serious concerns about the current design for the Seamus Quirke road and view it as unworkable from the perspective of cycling as a form of transport and a highly questionable use of public money. According to the cyclists, when the road is finished, many cyclists will find it safer and more convenient to stay in the bus lanes and ignore the cycle facilities being built on the road. They also say that the design will encourage other cyclists to use the footpaths and to cycle on the wrong side of the road.

“We cannot see this being anything other than a mess when it is finished” said Campaign PRO Oisin O’Nidh. The cyclists say the city council should have used the loan request to impose design changes on the officials responsible. “Taking out the sections of raised cycle path and providing on-road cycle lanes the length of the road would solve many of the problems” stated Mr. O’Nidh. The cyclists say in all probability to would been cheaper and certainly easier to construct without the cycle paths. The cyclists have described some aspects of the design as “bizarre” such as the requirement that cyclists accessing Shantalla Rod must hop-up on the footpaths as part of the manoeuvre.

The Seamus Quirke Rd redesign has been controversial since it was announced in 2002. At that time the city council engineer responsible, Mr. Joe Tansey stated that cyclists would be required to “dismount and become pedestrians” at every junction. This design aspect was thrown out by An Bord Pleanala following an oral hearing into the scheme.

Comment: This shows the route the designers of the current scheme expect cyclists to take to access the Rahoon road/Shantalla Rd if coming from Knocknacarra – a normal right turn has been broken into four separate manoeuvres and potential points of delay – this includes a section where cyclists are supposed to take to a footpath to get around the corner.

The Cycle Campaigns Analysis is that many cyclists will just cross the road further up and cycle on the footpaths the wrong way. More confident cyclists will ignore the cycle paths and stay in the bus lanes since that provides a better “line” into the junction.

Seamus Quirke Road – Cyclists issue safety warning over cycle paths

The Galway Cycling Campaign is issuing a safety warning for users of the Seamus Quirke road where traffic was recently switched over from the existing road to a newly constructed section. The new section of road includes intermittent footpath structures on one side that are eventually intended to become cycle paths. The Cycling Campaign are concerned that some cyclists are using these to cycle on the wrong side of the road against the normal flow of traffic. They point out that using cycle facilities in this manner is associated with up to 12 fold increases in the risk of collision with cars at the side roads. Side roads and junctions already account for 75% of car/bicycle crashes. Researchers in Finland, Germany, the US and Sweden have all identified the issue.

The issue is that, when turning at side-roads motorists are not accustomed to looking for cyclists coming from the wrong side at speed. Calling for vigilance from city motorists campaign PRO Oisín Ó Nidh stated “we have to remember that Ireland is a country where there is little history of cycle training or of educating cyclists in the safe use of roads, also the same goes for motorists – as a result many Irish cyclist’s have no idea of the limitations of these cycle facilities and are putting themselves in danger in the incorrect belief that they are actually safer. This is also the case for cyclists using the cycle path going with the flow of traffic. They also have an increased risks of collisions compared with being on the road” Addressing cyclists using the road he added “it may feel more vulnerable to stay in the main traffic lane but the evidence suggests you may be safer on the road where drivers are looking rather than on the cycle paths.”

The Cycling Campaign have previously expressed serious concerns about the current design for the Seamus Quirke road and view it as unworkable from the perspective of cycling as a form of transport and a highly questionable use of public money. In their analysis, when the road is finished, many cyclists will find it safer and more convenient to stay in the bus lanes and ignore the cycle facilities. PRO Mr Ó Nidh states “if cyclists ignore the cycle facilities it will also make the paths safer for pedestrians. The cycle path chicanes at the Bus Stops will lead to the increased risk of collisions between pedestrians and cyclists”

Sources:

Sweden: Leif Linderholm: Signalreglerade korsningars funktion och olycksrisk för oskyddade trafikanter ─ Delrapport 1: Cyklister. Institutionen för trafikteknik, LTH: Bulletin 55, Lund 1984, In: »Russian Roulette« turns spotlight of criticism on cycleways, Proceedings of conference »Sicherheit rund ums Radfahren«, Vienna 1991.
USA: A. Wachtel and D. Lewiston: Risk factors for bicycle-motor vehicle collisions at intersections, Journal of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, pp 30-35, September, 1994.
Denmark: S.U. Jensen, K.V. Andersen and E.D. Nielsen: Junctions and Cyclists, Velo-city ‘97 Barcelona, Spain .
Finland: M Rasanen and H. Summala: The safety effect of sight obstacles and road markings at bicycle crossings, Traffic Engineering and Control, pp 98-101, February, 1998