The Galway Cycling Campaign is warmly welcoming the Governments interest in extending Dublin Bike type bike share schemes to Galway and other cities. But the cyclists caution that a hard-nosed and holistic approach is needed to maximise the benefits. The Dublin Bike scheme has been a resounding success with 2.5 million journeys taken as of September 2011. According to the cyclists, the regional schemes must be either integrated with, or compatible with, the Dublin scheme. “It has to operate as ‘national’ membership” said Oisin O’Nidh, campaign PRO “a Dublin bike user should be able to get off the train and use a Galway bike and vice versa – membership of one bikeshare scheme should entitle the user to use all schemes”.
The cyclists also stress that new design guidance will be needed to deliver the necessary infrastructural changes recommended by the consultants: Jacobs engineering of Dublin. To support the proposed schemes, the consultants have recommended access improvements for cyclists raising issues such as access to pedestrian areas and two-way cycling on one-way streets. According to the cyclists, latest Irish design guidance produced by the National Transport Authority (NTA) appears to neglect the issue of cyclist access to pedestrian zones and vehicle-restricted areas. In contrast they point out as long ago as 1983 it was established in German practice that forbidding cycling in pedestrian areas should be avoided, and measures were then identified to reduce potential conflicts. In the UK, it has long been stressed that there is a need to ensure that pedestrianisation schemes do not result in cyclists being forced to use unsuitable alternative routes, and official guidance has been available since 1986.
A similar problem applies with two-way cycling on one-way streets. The latest NTA guidance only appears to consider the matter in terms of segregated cycle facilities. “In a constricted mediaeval city, we cannot be limited to segregated cycle facilities as the only solution” pointed out Mr. O’Nidh “we don’t have the space”. The cyclists point out that best practice in other countries uses a range of solutions including so called “false one-way streets” using bicycle-only gateways. Another approach is to simply make such streets two-way for cyclists. The cyclists use the example of Belgium where in 2004 the then Minister simply imposed two-way use on all one-way streets where the available road width and traffic speeds matched defined conditions. Campaign chair Shane Foran continued “This is a bigger issue than bikeshare, in Ireland we also need guidance on suitable road widths in towns, advice on making traffic calming cyclist-friendly and safer layouts at traffic signals. These are all matters that are not well treated in current NTA guidance. Adopting outside design guidance in support of bikeshare will provide other vital tools to promote cycling.”
Examples of alternative guidance
* Local Transport Note 2/86 “Shared use by Cyclists and Pedestrians” UK DOT
* Local Transport Note 1/89 “Making Way for Cyclists” UK DOT
* Trevallian P., Morgan J. 1993 “Cycling in Pedestrian Areas” Transport Research Laboratory Report 15, Crowethorne
* Cycling England Design Checklist
* Cycle-Friendly Infrastructure: Guidelines for Planning and Design: Institution of Highways and Transportation, Cyclists Touring Club, 1996
* Lancashire the Cyclists County