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.

Galway_environmental_road_closures

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.

knocknacarradetour_with_lables

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)

2015_GCC_Submission_Galway_City_Integrated_Traffic_Management_Programme

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.
Yours,
Mairéad Ní Chaoimh,
Galway Cycling Campaign

WIN FREE BIKE GOODIE BAGS! – A NIGHT OF CYCLING SHORTS COMPETITIONS

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!

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#IWantToRideMyBicycle PICTURE COMPETITION

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
OR
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!

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#WhereIsTheBike? COMPETITION

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!

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

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

Bicycle Film Night Call for Submission 2015

CFE bike week 2015 banner

Galway Cycling Campaign is calling on all established or budding film directors to submit a short film for its upcoming Bicycle Film Night.

The Bicycle Film Night is a much loved and well established Bike Week event and for the first time ever it is making a call for submissions.

The submission should be a short film (we are looking for films under 20 minutes but we might consider a longer one if we really like it!), and for obvious reasons should include some kind of reference to the wonderful world of bicycles.

If selected, the films will be screened during the Galway Bike Festival 2015 (13th-21st June) and will be submitted to an audience vote.

The deadline is 5 June 2015 so don’t hang around, get filming!

Is your film ready to rock?

Submit your film in two steps:
1. Fill in the submission form:

2. Submit your film via FilmFreeway =>

For more information, contact Charlotte (melle.haffner@gmail.com) or Robert (rob@galwaycycling.org)

Jake’s Legacy – Update law or drop confusing and contradictory road sign.

The Galway Cycling Campaign is calling on Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe to either drop a recently announced road sign or bring Irish traffic law into line with how the same sign is used in international traffic law. The controversy has arisen out of the Minister’s response to a campaign by Jake’s Legacy and other groups seeking lower speed limits in housing estates and residential streets. Calls for a housing estate limit of 20km/h have grown since the death of Jake Brennan in Kilkenny.

The use of such limits where children are playing has been standard elsewhere in Northern Europe for decades. The laws of other countries go further and legally define particular streets as “living streets”, “residential areas” or “play streets”, where children and other pedestrians have legal priority over cars and are legally entitled to use the entire road – playing on the street is permitted and protected by law.

Screenshot_sign_E17a_from_veinna_conv_on_road_signsThe international sign for residential area with pedestrian priority and legal protection for playing children.

In 1993 the legal concept of a residential area with pedestrian priority and a maximum speed of 20km/h was incorporated into international traffic law – the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. Under this UN Convention a sign with pictures of a house, a car and two people playing on the road with a ball indicates a “residential area” (sign E17a). The following countries have the same law and similar or related signage: the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain, Belarus, France and Switzerland. The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Austria also specify a speed limit of walking speed in these zones.

Sign as anncounced by the MinisterProposed Irish sign for residential area without pedestrian priority and no specific legal protection for playing children

 

On 19 March 2015 Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe announced a proposal for “Slow Zones” with a speed limit of 30km/h in residential areas – effectively rejecting international standards. The Minister’s proposal includes a road sign identical to the standard E17a format, but has not announced any supporting legislation to give playing children legal priority or protection. Irish traffic law confines pedestrians to “footways” unless crossing the road. “By using this sign under existing laws the Minister has effectively given it a meaning opposite to common understanding” said Campaign PRO Oisin Ó Nidh.

In a submission to the Minister, the Galway Cycling Campaign points out that Ireland has free travel to and from other European countries. We have a duty to people from other cultures, including children, not to use commonly understood road signs in a way that is confusing and contradicts their original meaning. The Cycling Campaign has called on the Minister to either retract the new road sign or bring Irish traffic law into line with international law.
 

Galway Cycling Campaign warn Harbour HGV’s could result in increased cycling and pedestrian fatalities

Galway Cycling Campaign support proposal to build new road for HGV’s

There will be a massive increase in the number of HGV’s coming through the city during the construction of the proposed extension to Galway Harbour.

Galway Cycling Campaign is concerned about the impact this substantial upsurge in heavy vehicles will have on the citizens of Galway.
The Environmental Impact Statement estimates that during the first stage of construction there will be 305 HGV movements per day. This is on top of an average of 376 HGV’s that currently pass along Lough Atalia on an average weekday. In total- during operational hours for the harbour construction- it will result in an average of 52 HGV’s clogging up Lough Atalia Road every hour.
Galway Cycling Campaign PRO Oisin O’Nidh commented, “HGV’s are particularly dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. There is a significant body of solid evidence out there which clearly demonstrates the link between HGV’s and increased cyclist and pedestrian fatalities.”

Galway Cycling Campaign support Galway City Council’s proposal to build a special road that follows the route of the railway line which would provide an alternative route for construction traffic. When the harbour is built this road could continue to provide a means for heavy freight to avoid the city centre. Plans for this road are set out in the City Development Plan 2005-2011.
Galway Cycling Campaign members presented their concerns at the An Bord Pleanála oral hearing regarding the proposed extension to Galway Harbour on Thursday January 22nd.

“HGV’s cause a sense of intimidation and fear, and are an unsafe environment for young children. They make the city an unattractive place to walk and cycle, not to mention the noise,” added Mr O’Nidh.

The HGV’s with their heavy loads will be making their way to the harbour along a number of designated routes. Second and third level students will be affected in addition to young children attending primary schools. The following schools and colleges are on the proposed haulage routes: Moneenageisha Community College, Coláiste na Coiribe, GMIT, Holy Trinity Girls and St Michael’s Boys in Mervue, Shantalla NS, Galway Educate Together, St Joseph’s Special NS and St Francis NS.

According to Dublin City Council, between 2002 and 2006 11 cyclists died on the roads; 8 of these people were killed by HGV’s that were making a left turn.

In London, half of the 44 cyclist fatalities between 2011 and 2013 were as a result of a collision with a HGV. Of these 21, ten involved a collision with a left-turning HGV.

To read what we said at the oral hearing, please click here Harbour Oral Hearing (speaking note)

Campaign welcome Bike Share scheme but lament lack of vision

Galway Cycling Campaign has welcomed the launch of the city Bike Share scheme (Coca-Cola Zero Bikes) but has criticised City Hall for failing to maximise on the potential benefits of the milestone event.

As highlighted by the recent online petition by An Mheitheal Rothar, which has over 650 signatures to date, Galway Cycling Campaign has expressed its disappointment with the decision to remove current bike parking facilities in order to make way for the new Coca-Cola Zero docking stations. “Galway is significantly underserved in terms of bike parking facilities and the removal of already limited bike parking is a regretful decision by City Hall. Bike parking and docking stations for the Bike Share scheme can and should exist side by side”, explained Oisin O’ Nidh, Campaign PRO. The Campaign has estimated that 50 parking spaces have been removed in the city centre during the recent installation works.

Mainguard Street bike parking removed to make way for Docking Station

The Coca-Cola Zero Bikes launched on Monday with many unfinished docking stations and two fewer stations than originally planned. The station at Forster Street is to be installed in 2015 under the Fair Green Road Scheme but the planned station on University Road will no longer go ahead. City Hall, in a last minute U-turn, decided to remove one of the three largest docking stations from the entire scheme due to concerns over loss of car parking. “The decision to completely remove a station capable of holding up to 30 bicycles, one of only three of that size, seems to indicate the current priorities of City Hall. UHG and NUIG have lost their primary docking station link to the city centre even before roll out”, said Robert Mc Kenny, Campaign Chair.

The issue of one-way streets has also been highlighted by the local advocacy group. The Jacobs Report, which was the initial feasibility study for the Bike Share Scheme, described Galway as being ‘awkward to navigate by bike’ and recommended providing two-way cycling on one-way streets. The Campaign is quick to point out that this recommendation 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 the importance of this in its Executive Summary. One-way streets lead to long detours for cyclists and we need to do everything we can to make the new Coca-Cola Zero Bikes scheme successful. City Hall have the power to do this”, said Mr. Mc Kenny

Cycling in Galway

This article was written by Stan Carey for the Galway Cycling Campaign. A version of it was published by the Galway Independent for its ‘Inside Out’ column on 4 June 2014.

* * *

People sometimes ask why I cycle around Galway when I have a car, and I’m surprised the answer isn’t obvious. Then I remember there are lots of answers. Cyclists are commonly stereotyped – as lycra-wearing fanatics, cardboard-eating eco-warriors, etc. – but we’re as diverse as any random group of people, and we have countless reasons for cycling and styles of doing so.

One thing that puts people off is the perceived danger, but cycling is a lot safer than it’s made out to be if you have the right skills. And it becomes safer with numbers. All road users need to share the roads respectfully, and above all be patient. Overtaking a cyclist dangerously just to save a few seconds is a nasty thing to do, illegal too, yet it happens all the time. I don’t care how much of a rush you’re in, your time isn’t worth putting someone’s life and well-being at risk.

Not that cyclists are immune from bad behaviour. I see examples every day – like footpath cycling, which I don’t mind when it’s a child or learner taking their time, but when it’s an able-bodied young male zipping by makes me want to lecture and fine them on the spot. Still, it’s nothing to the danger posed by driving at speed, which is rife and inadequately enforced and has helped decimate the number of children and families cycling on city and rural roads in Ireland.

Galway’s size and layout are well-suited to getting around by bike or foot. The city has a proud tradition of cycling, and it wouldn’t take much to make bikes a strong part of its culture again – a bit of promotion, know-how, and political will. The upcoming Greenways and Coke Zero bike rental scheme should help normalise and boost cycling again, following the great successes in Mayo and Dublin.

Like learning to drive, it’s hardest when you’re starting. How can beginners and nervous cyclists develop the confidence and skills to manoeuvre roads that seem so hostile? Know your bike and your capabilities, for starters. Watch and learn from experienced cyclists. Get a copy of the Galway Cycling Campaign’s “Cycling Skills” leaflets, or read John Franklin’s book Cyclecraft in the city library. And practise. It takes time to learn how to read the roads, to anticipate threats, to know when it’s safer to use the centre of a lane and when to keep in. Just give those car doors a wide berth.

Galway’s infrastructure isn’t very cycling-friendly, with its roundabouts, slip roads, poor surfaces, one-way systems, meagre parking, inept cycle lanes, and aggressive emphasis on traffic “flow” rather than safe, accessible, permeable streets. But the benefits more than compensate. JFK was right: Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride. It’s great for mental and physical health. The financial savings are amazing. Parking is easy, even if it often requires lampposts and railings. Traffic jams are irrelevant. (I can’t be the only one bemused by all the empty roads in cars ads.)

Less obviously, cycling brings a real physical quality to a journey. Instead of being cut off from the world around you, you’re immersed in it. You can enjoy its sights and sounds and take in the scenery Galway is blessed with. Feel the sun on your face (if there is any), the wind in your hair (if you have any), the joy of freewheeling downhill. You can stop on a whim to look at something or chat to someone you know. And when you get home you have the satisfaction of having exercised and gotten a good dose of fresh air. Even the weather’s not as bad as you’d think.