Cycling Campaign Launches Smarter Travel Project with Calendar

The Galway Cycling Campaign has launched its Smarter Travel funded Image of Cycling in Galway project with a high-quality calendar celebrating cycling in Galway city and county. Launching the calendar, city mayor Michael Crowe said, “Anyone in business knows the necessity for good marketing; the business of promoting cycling is no different. With these calendars, Galway has again showcased the grassroots talent that makes Galway an icon for other Irish cities.”

Composed of stunning photographs by up-and-coming talents Chris Tierney and Peter Fedrizzi, the calendars cover all aspects of cycling in Galway and the cyclists who make up all facets of life in Galway city and county. There are cycling teachers, cycling college lecturers, and the smiling children at Galway’s annual Bike Week Treasure Hunt. The amazing success of the Green Schools Travel program is epitomised in a photo of the children of Eagles Nest national school in Renvyle tearing down a local beach on their bikes. There are stories of how cycling helped people overcome adversity, such as Liam Cullinane, who was able to regain his independence after a severe bout of meningitis, and local hurling star Dave Collins, who cycled back to fitness after a catastrophic injury on the pitch.

There is a cycling Garda and a bus driver who cycles to work every day. The arts are featured, with Páraic Breathnach relating the story of his first bike, and Natalia Surina, a harper whose bike is her first choice in transport. The sport of cycling is celebrated with local champion Sadhbh Baxter of the West Coast Wheelers. The grass roots of cycling activism in Galway is also captured in the monthly Critical Mass bike rides, with balloon-festooned cyclists flying the flag for fun (and politics with a small p)!

The calendars are just one aspect of a larger €28,000 Image of Cycling in Galway project co-ordinated by Justyna Kocjan on behalf of the Galway Cycling Campaign. As part of the project, a unified brand and logo for cycling in Galway has been developed by graphic designers Simon Fleming and Alexa Mottram under the catchphrase “Treibheanna ar Rothair” (“Tribes on Bikes”) and will be promoted via various promotional items across the city and county.

The calendars are freely available in bike shops, outdoors shops, Green Schools, Charlie Byrne’s bookshop, Galway City Council, Galway Transportation Unit, HSE Health Promotion, NUIG, and GMIT, and can also be requested by emailing info@galwaycycling.org.

For more information, visit our websites:
www.galwaycycling.org
www.tribesonbikes.ie

ENDS

Notes for journalists

Galway Cycling Campaign:
Formed after a large public meeting in 1998, the Galway Cycling Campaign works to promote cycling as a healthy, convenient and accessible form of transport in Galway city and county. The €28,000-funded “Image of Cycling in Galway” is just one of a number of projects the Cycling Campaign is involved with to promote Galway as Ireland’s Cycling City. Working with the Chamber of Commerce, the campaign has also obtained Smarter Travel projects funding of €400,000 for bike parking at city businesses and €8,000 to train and support Workplace Cycle Champions at offices and factories. Other activities include the annual Bicycle Treasure hunt for the city’s younger cyclists and the Faster by Bike in Galway project (co-funded by the City Council and the HSE), which puts signs up on traffic lights with safety messages, indicating typical cycling times to key destinations. The Cycling Campaign also produces cycle skills leaflets that are now being reproduced in Waterford and Dublin.

Photography:
© Christopher Tierney
www.chrisdidthis.com
christopher.tierney@gmail.com

© Peter Fedrizzi
www.peterfedrizzi.com
fedrizziphotography@gmail.com

Logo design:
Alexa Mottram
alexamottram@gmail.com

Simon Fleming
www.simonfleming.ca
contact@simonfleming.ca

Text editing:
Stan Carey
www.stancarey.com
stan@stancarey.com

Irish text translation and editing:
Gearóid Ó Casaide
Liam Ó hAisibéil

Website design:
James Gallagher

October Meeting

It’s been awhile since our last meeting so we would like to let you know what’s going on and hearing about how you would like to get involved. Thanks to the 091 Labs space we’re going to be having our next meeting at their place (see: http://091labs.com/contact/ for details). Entry is via the side of the building (where you turn towards the Radisson Hotel) and  you can bring your bike inside. The space has a small tuck shop: Tea/Coffee/soft drinks and sometimes chocolate on sale, just throw the money in the tin by the kettle.
On the agenda for this meeting, along with anything you would like to talk about, is:
  • Engagement with city officials and city councillors; catch up on the Seamus Quirke Road scheme and City Development Plan.
  • Traffic light signs – Signs are collected and the cable ties bought we need to get wood for the mountings and then get it dome
  • Cycling Champions in workplaces
  • Image of Cycling project.
  • Quick report on national events.
We’d love to see you all, so please come by.
(The image used in this post is by Richard Gillespie from his Flickr stream

Walking and Cycling Strategy: Query raised re consultants’ qualifications

The Galway Cycling Campaign have written to City Council Director of Services, Ciaran Hayes, seeking clarification on the qualifications of the consultants assigned to Galway City and Environs Walking and Cycling Strategy (AECOM). The Campaigners say that they have been unable to establish that the consultants have taken an approved cycling skills course or have formal training that would allow them to assess roads used by cyclists.

The Irish Government’s National Cycle Policy Framework states: “We will also stipulate that that all local authority roads engineers and any engineer wishing to tender for government road contracts should be required to have taken an approved cycling skills course”. The stated policy of the National Cycling Lobby Group, Cyclist.ie also specifies that the completion of an approved cycling skills course is a standard requirement for all consultants undertaking such work.

The Cycling Campaign have requested documentary evidence showing that the consultants (AECOM) have taken such a course.

Shane Foran speaking for the campaign added “In the UK and Ireland , the only accredited cycling skills course dealing with the full range of on-road traffic skills is the UK National Standard for Cycle Training. The Green Schools Travel staff currently working with 400 schools, including schools in Galway, have been trained as UK National Standard instructors” The Cycle Campaign states that current best practice for drafting viable cycling strategies requires consultants who are able to audit the existing roads, and any proposed new designs, with reference to “design cyclists” who come under the different ability levels defined under the National Standard curriculum. The cyclists say that it is totally unacceptable that the City Council should apparently be seeking to develop a cycling strategy in isolation from the advice that child and adult cyclists are being given with regard to using the roads.

The cyclists say the issue of consultants being able to show that they have necessary training is non-negotiable issue, because having untrained and unassessed consultants advising on cycling measures is viewed as equivalent to employing general traffic engineers who don’t possess driving licences or any independent verification of driving competence.

31/10/09 A Touch of Green amid the Galway Asphalt

Parking Day Justyna and Catherine

Parking Day Justyna and Catherine


On Saturday the 31st of October, a city centre car parking space was temporarily reclaimed for the people of Galway. What used to be a car parking space was transformed into a mini public park to celebrate Galway’s first ever Park(ing) Day.

The aim of Park(ing) Day is to convert a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in an area of Galway City that is underserved by public open space. The objective is to creatively explore how our urban public space is allocated and used. Inexpensive kerb-side parking results in increased traffic & less space in the city centre. This hinders the movement of pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles, adds to the level of CO2 emissions and prevents the creation of a healthy, vibrant urban human habitat. Park(ing) Day is about re-imagining the possibilities of the metropolitan landscape.

Galway’s newest green space was offered (and used) as a space to sit down to have a chat with friends, read the newspaper or simply to watch the world go by. The Galway Cycling Campaign also provided muffins and Justyna’s famous “bicycle shaped” cookies!

Bicycle cookies

Bicycle cookies


The parking meter was always running and contributions were taken from passers by to feed the meter and make sure the new “Park” was paying its way!

Meeting minutes 11 May 2009

Venue: Galway Social Space, 24 Middle St.

Present: Shane, Tiernan, Indy, Mairéad, Catherine, Robert, Stan.

Apologies: Oisín, Simon, Kristin.

Agenda:
1. National Cycle Policy Framework
2. National Bike Week

Note: The prominence and proximity of National Bike Week (14–21 June 2009) means that it has been given priority over other items, which are either discussed in the context of Bike Week or not discussed at this meeting, with one exception (see (1) below).

1. The Irish government launched its National Cycle Policy Framework some weeks ago. Those at the meeting who had read it or looked through it agreed that it was an impressive and aspirational document, but that it had obvious drawbacks: it contains no figures, no dates, and no deadlines. Whether good intentions can be turned into policy and practice is a big unknown, but the document’s publication is definitely a positive step by the government towards genuine promotion of cycling. Some of the aims described in the document were mentioned and discussed.

2. Ireland’s first ever Bike Week takes place from 14 to 21 June. The Galway Cycling Campaign does not have much time or resources to prepare for it, but is nonetheless determined to do as much as possible for it. Shane and other representatives have been in contact with the City Council and other bodies, but the Volvo Ocean Race has taken centre stage for a while. A comparison with Dublin is instructive, not just in terms of organisational power: Phoenix Park is to be closed to traffic, an event management company has been hired, and a cycling officer has been preparing for Bike Week for months. Our financial and personal resources are more modest.

Tiernan of Green Schools said that the Green Flag has moved on to Travel, so there is now more of an emphasis on cycling and other alternative forms of transport. Cycle parking is to be launched in several schools, and projects such as Cycling On Wednesday (COW) and Beauty and the Bike are also being pushed. He acknowledged that the fear factor – the perception of road danger – was a considerable obstacle for some parents (more on this below). Robert asked whether any teachers were championing cycling.

Wednesday of Bike Week is “Bike to Work” day. Shane pointed out that for many people this is not something that can be decided on or prepared for on a whim, or even a few days beforehand – there needs to be an information campaign, ideally to include the local media, with a few weeks’ lead-in to give potential participants time to get their bikes checked for safety and roadworthiness. Some cyclists might not have cycled for some weeks, months or even years, and will need time to practise basic skills off- and on-road.

The Galway Cycling Map project is coming along well. Stan and Shane gave a quick summary, mentioning the online version being plotted with Google Maps but focusing on the physical maps. Galway City and several county towns have had their streets colour coded as per Warrington’s scheme. Shane and Oisín have sourced map plans and have entered and organised as much data as possible. Some town maps, e.g. Tuam, need local input. Stan has written text for the maps, some of it adapted from the Galway Cycling Campaign’s popular “Share the Road” leaflets.

Sunday 21 June concludes Bike Week, and the Galway Cycling Campaign is hoping to have a family treasure hunt that afternoon. A mostly off-road route has been planned, from Dangan through the university, down the canal, out by the Claddagh and South Park as far as Mutton Island. This event was discussed in detail by all at the meeting, since there was a lot to consider and not a lot of time to prepare. Mairéad asked if this kind of event had been done before. Shane said it hadn’t – at least not in Galway; Tiernan said that something similar had been done in Cork. Apparently Patrick St. was closed off for it.

Catherine suggested having refreshments on offer, especially for the children taking part. This was an excellent idea that hadn’t yet come up. Tiernan spoke of a cyclist with a smoothie-making bike; he also suggested balloons and face painting. All such ideas were enthusiastically received, as they would contribute to the fun and festival feel of the event. Prizes were discussed – different prizes would be needed for different ages. Children under a certain age would need to be accompanied by a parent or adult. But what age?

A code of conduct was proposed, to be signed at registration, containing instructions such as “No racing”, “Yield to pedestrians”, etc. Catherine asked if we had permission from NUIG, liability insurance, etc. Shane said that we needed feedback from NUIG about this as soon as possible, and suggested that Catherine, Mairéad and Indy form a subcommittee to tick the NUIG boxes. Indy thought of someone she could ask about some of these matters. Indy also pointed out that there were tricky parts on the route, such as a narrow pass between rocks along Dangan. Catherine asked whether there was or would be a special map for the treasure hunt.

Catherine said that we should have bikes for people who don’t have bikes, or don’t have usable bikes, or would have difficulty bringing bikes to the event. This was immediately agreed on, and provoked some discussion. Bikes to be used on the day would need to be ordered in advance if possible. Catherine also asked about funding. Shane said that there was national funding, but that locally it was unclear. Financial support from the Council was unpredictable, as last year’s Mobility Week showed.

A list of potential volunteers needs to be drawn up, and an ad hoc media blitz should be done, to include Galway Bay FM, posters, emails, local press and so on. Catherine volunteered to approach GBFM, and there was some discussion about what a daily 2-minute slot could include. A different skill subject each day, for example, or local tips and routes. Robert suggested that a willing radio employee could cycle for a week and report on air each day, hopefully with positive progress regarding his/her skill level and experience on the road. Tiernan concurred, adding that when parents began walking their children to school their first reaction was of fear or apprehension, projected from their in-car perception of traffic danger, but that they soon came to love the walking experience. Tiernan added that the Green Schools could spread the word through participating schools.

It’s obvious that we need volunteers – as many as possible – to help out on the day, as well as official support. Robert said that a competitive approach could help, especially to get businesses involved. Shane agreed but said that time and resources might preclude this. Shane said that he would set up an email list for everyone involved in Bike Week.

Meeting ends.

Meeting minutes 09 February 2009

Venue: Galway Social Space, 24 Middle St.

Present: Shane, Indy, Eoin, Stan

Apologies: Oisín, Simon, Kristin, Urs.

Agenda:
1. Meeting on Seamus Quirke Road and Moneenageisha junctions
2. HSE travel survey
3. National issues (report): National Sustainable Travel Strategy; NRA meeting
4. Cycle training
5. Critical Mass
6. Swiss cycling policy (report)
7. Map project
8. Volvo Race / City Centre Action Plan
9. AOB

Shane read the minutes from the January meeting. Stan proposed them, Shane seconded them (since no-one else was at both the last meeting and the present one), and they were duly adopted.

1. Oisín and Simon had a meeting on 5 February with the City Council Transportation Unit and Tobin Engineers regarding the Seamus Quirke/Bishop O’Donnell Road redevelopment. Tobin Engineers were represented by Tom Cannon and Eddie McGuire, while the Transportation Unit was represented by Martin McElligot (Senior Engineer), Lisa Kealy, and Brian Burke (formerly of Tobin Engineers). Via email Oisín reported that the meeting went well, that he and Simon outlined their concerns and received some clarifications arising from their detailed analysis of the scheme. Their suggestions were listened to, and solutions or compromises were sought where possible, though some problems remain.

There was a detailed discussion of the proposed redevelopment schemes using large printouts that Shane had brought. Indy and Eoin analysed the Moneenageisha plans in some detail, since they both use the junction on a regular basis.

2. A HSE staff travel survey reports that 34% live within 5km of work. The breakdown of travel mode is as follows: 3% cycle to work, 8% walk, 3% take a bus, 6% drive with others, and 80% drive on their own. Shane phoned Laura McHugh and Jacky Jones of the HSE to explain his concerns about the survey type, its results and their implications. Stan said he had started work on a cycling survey for Galway, to be disseminated widely upon completion and used as an ongoing source of data and insight.

3. National issues. The Government’s recent Smarter Travel document was discussed. It aims to prioritise cycling and walking, but there’s a big difference between aspirational talk and progressive action. Galway has been mentioned as a possible site for pilot schemes. Discussion followed about whether and how the Galway Cycling Campaign should respond. Stan said he would compose a ‘cautiously optimistic’ press release.

Shane is to give a presentation to the NRA next Thursday, 12 February. A meeting with the NRA will then follow, in which Shane and other Cyclist.ie representatives will discuss staff training, infrastructure design, village gateway schemes, hard shoulders, speed limits, and so on.

Eoin showed the group his brother’s M.A. thesis, an economic evaluation of cycling policy. It looked very interesting but there was no time to study it in any detail.

4. Shane met representatives of the Green Schools initiative; they discussed insurance, training, etc. In a related matter, the West Coast Wheelers contacted Shane to enquire about training skills.

5. Shane and Oisín joined in the last Critical Mass cycle, and Shane gave a brief report. The weather was awful, but about 18 attended anyway. The group cycled around the town centre and avoided dual carriageways. There was some deliberate car-blocking, a tactic many cyclists consider counterproductive.

6. In Urs’ absence his report on cycling policy in Switzerland was postponed.

7. Shane described the prospective Galway cycling map, including its colour code and other salient features, which are to be based on Cheltenham’s cycling map. Partial funding has been confirmed, which Simon can report on at a later date. Stan reported on a meeting he and Shane held with Dr Valerie Ledwith and Dr Frances Fahy in the Geography department, NUI, Galway. It was a very helpful and constructive meeting, and gave us considerable insight into various aspects of the project by comparing it with the successful Galway Green Map. A meeting is planned with relevant members of the City Council.

8. The Volvo Race is looming, and is being pushed heavily by the local media, but from our point of view resources are limited and we might not be able to capitalise on the event.

9. Eoin attended a talk by Green Party TD John Gormley. He said that the apparent futility of public consultation was a big issue among the attendees. Stan passed round a copy of the Galway Advertiser with a GCC press release and photo of the canal path resurfacing – a positive piece for all concerned.

Meeting ends.

Meeting minutes 9 January 2009

Venue: Galway Social Space, 24 Middle St.

Present: Shane, Oisín, Conor, Urs, Stan.

Apologies: Simon, Indy, Kristin, James, Eoin, Martin, Alan.

Agenda:
1. Doughiska Road update
2. Volvo Race / City centre action plan
3. National issues (report), national cycling strategy, safety audits
4. Cycle training (report)
5. Chamber of Commerce transport initiative
6. Canal works
7. Dublin road
8. Website
9. Map project
10. AOB

Minutes were read from the GCC meetings in October and November 2008. Matters arising: Shane called the RSA re HGV stickers handed this task over to Adam in Cork. The minutes were proposed, seconded and adopted.

Brief introductions were made, there was some informal chat, then Shane asked the first-time attendees what they would like to see out of the GCC. Both Conor and Urs cited practical measures – something hands-on and effective to improve conditions for cyclists in Galway.

1. Oisín met Martin McElligot from the Transportation Unit, who offered to meet every few months. Shane mentioned the current work on the Ballybrit roundabout, where a hole in a wall by the bus stop would greatly convenience pedestrians and anyone getting off the bus at that stop – this would be a low-hassle, easy-win measure.

Urs asked about planning in Galway. Stan mentioned the City Development Plan, that its modest demands are there in writing more than in reality. Oisín and Shane elaborated on this and on the transportation studies. There seems to be little or no real enthusiasm in city management for public transport, still less for walking and cycling. Oisín referred to the bus lane earmarked for the Seamus Quirke Road since 2003. The plan is apparently being sat on.

2. There followed a discussion about the Volvo Race, the cycling map project and local politics. One idea that arose for discussion was the possible conversion of selected one-way streets to two-way for cyclists. Shane proposed to make a list and pick the one-way streets that could be converted with minimal cost and engineering requirements, and maximal benefits to cyclists. Conor suggested that this could be integrated with the map project. The suggestion was well received, though it was acknowledged that much would depend on resources, timing, circumstances and other unknown variables.

Urs asked about lobbying tactics, and how changes are best effected. Oisín explained how the Renmore Road redevelopment signalled a better process of communication between the GCC and the consulting engineers. The engineers approached the GCC and took its ideas on board before finishing the design plan, resulting in a creditable final design.

3. Shane gave a brief report on Cyclist.ie, the new national cycling lobby group. Urs compared Ireland’s cycling situation with that of his native Switzerland. After years of active lobbying there are now five cycling routes across the country, as well as training in schools. Registration and insurance were set through the Ministry of Transport. There followed some discussion about attitudes to cycling and cyclists, the importance of visibility and lights (and Ireland’s legal shortcomings in this matter) and the problem of planning.

The national cycling strategy is set for publication, and what its final version will contain and propose is anyone’s guess. We may need to prepare a comment for a national press release, outlining what we expect to see in the publication to best promote cycling in Ireland. Cyclist.ie should also seek another meeting with Ministers Noel Dempsey and John Gormley, to call for enforcement of speed limits, and (on-road?) cycle training for all schoolchildren.

4. Oisín and Shane received cycle instructor training in Manchester and London, respectively, which qualifies them to train cyclists to the UK national standard. There is to be a follow-up over the coming months, to complete the qualification. Getting insurance may be a sticking point and therefore needs to be assessed. It’s £60 a year in the UK. Their training standard depends heavily on safe mechanics – checking everything on the bike before entering traffic. Oisín said he was eager to start training: it would involve more cycling and positive activity – not the usual relentless politics and bureaucracy.

Shane explained that some non-national roads require a safety audit from the points of view of various road user types, but that assessors are generally ignorant of a cyclist’s perspective. Maybe we could call for engineers to receive cycle training.

5. Oisín will contact Chris Coughlan and Simon to follow up on the Chamber of Commerce transport initiative.

6. The canal path from Dominick Street to University Road has been resurfaced where necessary and looks very well. The new surface is smooth and light-coloured, which increases safety and visibility. Stan has taken photos and is preparing a press release to thank those concerned.

7. At Oisín’s meeting with Martin McElligot of the Transportation Unit, Mr McElligot said that the Moneenageisha roundabout on the Dublin Road was to be removed as part of the Volvo Race city centre action plan.

8. Alan told Shane that the website needed to change hosts, and that the email archive was liable to disappear. Since several of us archive these emails personally, this was considered acceptable.

9. See also 2., above. Simon received €500 from Galway County Council towards the map project. Licensing and copyright issues need to be investigated. We also need to examine our graphic design resources – can we do it ourselves, do we know someone who can help us, or will we need to budget for design?

10. Urs described the cycle training he carries out with children in Ballybane. He is insured by Foróige and has good relations with the local community guard. In Switzerland there are “traffic parks” where school children are trained to cycle. Oisín said there was one in Dublin. It was agreed that they should be fairly straightforward to assemble – a bit of paint and a few props – once the logistics and location were satisfactorily established. Urs offered to assemble relevant information on the Swiss training and legal environments.

Meeting ends.

Meeting minutes 8 December 2008

Venue: Galway Social Space, 24 Middle St.
Present: Marty, Simon, Stan
Agenda:
1. Volvo Race
2. Media
3. National group
4. Greens 30kph presentation
5. Meetings
6. AOB

Minutes of the previous meeting are to be read at the next meeting. Due to the absence of almost everyone, much of this meeting was comprised of informal discussion.

1. Cycling promotion measures for the Volvo Race can be divided into marketing/PR and infrastructural/traffic-management. Guides, maps and routes for cyclists fall under the former, with the maps idea particularly attractive. The latter includes such measures as access to and from the docks by bicycle, conversion of one-way streets to two-way for cyclists. Promote exploration of the city by bike: by removing obstacles, increasing bicycle parking facilities, and increasing safety and convenience of cycling by the usual means.

2. Two print publications were discussed and analysed: the press release in The Sentinel about Cyclist.ie, and John Cunningham’s opinion piece in the City Tribune. The Sentinel gave generous space to a very good and positive piece, while Mr Cunningham’s article was more of a mixed bag, with some fair points but also some mistaken assumptions and misleading conclusions. Simon said he would write a reply, time allowing.

3. Maynooth Cycling Campaign joined the collective. The most recent subject under discussion by Cyclist.ie was ‘operation freeflow’ in Dublin.

4. A representative of the local Green Party asked Simon if he would be interested in giving a presentation to the Party on 12 January on the subject of 30kph zones. There is widespread resistance to 30kph zones in urban areas. Very few drivers obey the 50kph zones in Galway city, for example, and would likely baulk at the idea of further restrictions on their speed. Nonetheless, 30kph restrictions have been successfully implemented in various towns in the UK. Simon reminded Niall O’Brolchain TD of the Green Party’s policy on 30kph zones. From the Galway Cycling Campaign’s point of view, association with any political party is to be handled with caution. Marty wondered if it would be possible to give such a presentation to all the political parties, and Simon added the possibility of giving the presentation to the City Council.

5. Oisín and Bart met Ministers Eamon O’Cuiv and Frank Fahey to discuss the parking levy; the meeting was more of a general discussion about cycling promotion and traffic conditions.

6. Simon contacted a local sergeant to enquire about repeating the bike lights initiative. There was no response. We received 100 armbands from the County Council. The Road Safety Authority, Anchor Safety (Ballybrit) and Super Valu shared a high-visibility vest promotion. Simon contacted Anchor Safety, who said they would be amenable to a joint project with the Galway Cycling Campaign.

Meeting ends.

Meeting minutes 10 November 2008

Venue: Galway Social Space, 24 Middle St.
Present: Shane, Kristin, Sean, Lindsey, Naringa, Marty, Simon, Stan
Agenda:
1. Mobility Week
2. Critical Mass
3. Transport Unit
4. National group
5. Renmore Road
6. Visibility
7. AOB

Minutes of the previous meeting will be read at the next meeting.

Since there were a few new faces, Stan suggested a very brief overview of the group’s activities, which Shane duly supplied.

1. Shane gave a quick recap of Mobility Week, and also delivered some good news: he received a letter confirming funding for John Franklin’s visit to Galway. For a while it had seemed that this would not be forthcoming, so it was gratifying to see that we had not been led astray. It is to be hoped that the City Council will put more planning and effort into Mobility Week next year, in keeping with the County Council and our European neighbours – it is a huge event in many countries, with people actively persuaded to use alternatives to private motor transport.

2. Critical Mass came up for discussion several times, partly because of the successful local event at Halloween. Shane gave a quick report of the event – its route, ambience, and reception from other road users. Kristin clarified where the GCC’s ethos differs from Critical Mass’s, and where they coincide. There was some discussion about the movement’s history, how it differs from place to place, and how its reputation varies among the public and authorities in different cities. This led to some chat about different cycling cultures in places like Denmark and Lithuania, how the law protects cyclists in Germany, and the difficulty of importing infrastructure into a country (like Ireland) that does not train motorists on how to deal with cyclists.

3. Shane met with Galway’s recently developed Transportation Unit, and delivered a presentation on cycling to some of its members (engineers and administration staff). The venue had no internet so Shane couldn’t access the national policy document. He stressed the need for proper bike parking, adding that all sorts of street furniture could be adapted as bike parking. He also spoke about safety issues, cycling lanes, 30kph zones, the Doughiska Road fiasco, and the basics of cycling safety. Regarding safe cycling for children, he advocated ‘nursery’ areas that connect back roads for school routes, and pointed out that closing alleys to cyclists was not a good idea. Marty asked about the Transportation Unit’s brief, its position in Galway’s political structure.

4. Cyclist.ie, the new national cycling lobby group, was officially launched. It was agreed that a press release should be sent to the local media.

5. Shane sent a news story to some of the local media on the Dublin Road development in Renmore. It was printed in the City Tribune.

6. Stan cited last year’s PR on the importance of using bike lights and reflective gear for visibility, and suggested sending another one, given the time of year. Shane told the new faces about our joint safety initiative with the Gardai. Simon said he’d like to redo the safety initiative; all were in favour but this will require more reflective gear to give away.

7. AOB. Kristin was approached by the Young Greens, who are looking for covered bicycle parking. This was generally considered a good idea and an overdue provision. Shane met Tiernan of An Taisce’s Green-Schools programme. They talked about lanes, various cycling promotion schemes, e.g. selecting a school, carrying out a survey, identifying cycling routes to school. Apparently there is funding for parking, and the present focus is on secondary schools. Kristin suggested a cycle-to-school event in the spring. There was some discussion about the benefits of receiving UK certified training. It would give cyclists (like ourselves) more authority when talking to engineers, e.g. when explaining a cyclist’s point of view on a proposed road design, since most engineers do not cycle their own designs. Simon wrote to several officials, in a personal capacity, to see what they thought about the traffic light problem – i.e. that Galway’s traffic lights do not respond to cyclists (he included a photo from Lough Atalia illustrating the problem). He read out their replies. Apparently the city now has 18 signalised junctions.

The meeting was declared over, and a donation was collected for Galway Social Space, who are a pleasure to deal with (and who were kind enough to bring us tea during the meeting).

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