Bike Week 2020

This year Bike Week looks a little different. We’ve organised online meetings, info sessions and working groups since March, and so we’re using this experience to bring you a series of webinars with guests from Ireland, Europe, and the USA.

Bike Parking and the Bottom Line

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on local businesses and retail in Galway city and county. We’re all living our lives more locally these days and government advice is to walk or cycle where possible.  International research and the experience of Dublin shows that quality and inclusive bike parking is an investment in local and loyal customers.

  • His Excellency, Adriaan Palm,  Ambassador at The Netherlands Embassy to Ireland
  • Chris Bruntlett, Dutch Cycling Embassy and co-author of Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality
  • Richard Guiney, CEO of Dublin Town
  • Clodagh Colleran, Development Studies Association of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin

>Register for webinar<

Safer Roads, Safer Cities, Better Lives: The view from Europe and the UN

Decisions made by the European Commission and the UN have an impact on the road design and safety of our urban roads, residential streets, and bóithirín.

Insights into the impact of the lockdown on road safety from across Europe will be discussed as well as ideas for how we deal with a transition out of it.

Our guests from Europe will share how and why safe walking and cycling infrastructure and reducing speeds must be at the heart of our transport and mobility evolution.

  • Matthew Baldwin, the first European Coordinator for Road Safety and Sustainable Mobility
  • Ellen Townsend, Policy Director at the European Transport Safety Council
  • Rod King MBE, Founder and Campaign Director of 20’s Plenty for Us

>Register for webinar<

MOTHERLOAD, the movie

MOTHERLOAD, virtual community screening in Galway and Q&A with director Liz Canning

Date: Sunday, 27 September 2020, 7.30pm – 10pm

Our grand finale to Bike Week 2020 is hosting MOTHERLOAD as a virtual community screening and covideo party. We’re delighted that director Liz Canning will join us for a Q&A on Zoom immediately afterward for a panel discussion with urban liveability and health experts.

This 86 minute documentary from the USA captures a new mother’s quest to understand the increasing isolation and disconnection of modern life, its planetary impact, and how cargo bikes could be an antidote. It won a Sundance Special Jury Prize in 2019.

 Join the covideo party on Twitter using the hashtags #MOTHERLOAD #MOTHERLOADgalway

Post-screening Q&A with

  • Liz Canning, director of MOTHERLOAD
  • Neasa Bheilbigh, Galway Cycle Bus
  • Síle Ginnane, co-founder of Better Ennis
  • Jo Sachs-Elderidge, organiser of the Leitrim Cycling Festival and co-author of A Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland by the Rural Cycling Collective

>Register for screening and Q&A webinar<

Bike Week 2020 webinars hosted by Galway Cycling Campaign are funded through a grant awarded by Galway City Council through the Active Travel initiative by the Government of Ireland

Bike Week gets creative and goes online with Dutch Ambassador & friends

Galway Cycling Campaign was awarded funds this week from Galway city and county councils for an ambitious, diverse and inclusive range of events for Bike Week 2020 which begins this Saturday 19 September and runs until Sunday 27 September. 

Webinars, live streaming events, social media events, social media engagement, online video, and podcasting are some of the ways Galway Cycling Campaign will engage people in everyday cycling.

** Indicate your interest in online events here – Registration links will follow **

“We’re disappointed that with covid restrictions, it’s not possible to offer people as many changes to engage with us face to face,” said Martina Callanan, deputy chairperson.

“Since March we’ve hosted many online events and we’re pleased to offer a terrific programme with high profile guest speakers on a range of everyday cycling topics, as well as creative ways for people to share their everyday cycle journeys.”

Are bikes good for business?

His Excellency Mr Adriaan Palm, Ambassador at The Netherlands Embassy to Ireland

Dutch Ambassador to Ireland, HE Adriaan Palm will be the special guest at a lunchtime webinar on Thursday 24 September on  “Bike Parking Means Business: investing in bicycle parking is investing in local and loyal customers”. 

Ambassador Palm will be joined by a Dutch expert and CEO of Dublin Town, Richard Guiney. 

This event will be of particular interest to local businesses and retailers in the city centre, suburbs, and county.

** Indicate your interest in online events here – Registration links will follow **

Road safety: European and international policy perspective

Matthew Baldwin, European Coordinator for Road Safety

On Friday lunchtime, Matthew Baldwin, the first European Coordinator for Road Safety and DG MOVE Deputy Director General, will be the key speaker at a webinar on road safety.

He will outline why cities across Europe are embracing 30kmph speed limits in retail, recreational and residential areas.

The Deputy DG will also discuss the challenges and opportunity for active travel during coronavirus.

** Indicate your interest in online events here – Registration links will follow **

MOTHERLOAD, the movie: a covideo party and Q&A

MOTHERLOAD, the movie – trailer (2019) Winner of Sundance Special Jury Prize

The finale for Bike Week will be a special covideo party of MOTHERLOAD on Sunday 27 September at 7.30pm. This 86 minute documentary from the USA captures a new mother’s quest to understand the increasing isolation and disconnection of modern life, its planetary impact, and how cargo bikes could be an antidote. It won a Sundance Special Jury Prize in 2019.

Filmmaker Liz Canning cycled everywhere until her twins were born in 2008. Motherhood was challenging and hauling babies via car felt stifling. She googled ‘family bike’ and discovered people using cargo bikes: long-frame bicycles designed for carrying heavy loads. Liz set out to learn more, and documented her journey. 

MOTHERLOAD will be streamed online and people are invited to join in the covideo party and Twitter conversation using the hashtag #MOTHERLOADGalway. Free tickets are available.

Director Liz Canning will join a panel of health and urban liveability experts for a post-screening discussion and Q&A on Zoom. 

** Indicate your interest in online events here – Registration links will follow **

Online virtual events

The Fancy Women Bike Ride is an annual global event celebrating women on wheels. We will have a virtual parade in2020.

There will be two virtual events on social media with prizes for creative participation. Galway will join the annual international “Fancy Women Bike Ride’ of women reclaiming streets by celebrating cycling on Tuesday 22 September. Teenage girls, mums and older women are especially invited to post videos and photos on social media of cycling with family and friends and tag @GalwayCycling plus #FancyWomenGalway

On Saturday 26 September, Galway Cycling Campaign will host a virtual Pedal Parade. This is a call to people of all ages and abilities who cycle a wide range of bicycles to be visible on our streets, city, towns and in society. Post videos on social media of videos and photos and tag @GalwayCycling plus #PedalParadeGalway.

There will be prizes for creative participation of bike racks, baskets, panniers and high quality bike lights and bells.

** Indicate your interest in online events here – Registration links will follow **

The Art of the Possible: Galwegian leads technical design of dlr’s Coastal Mobility Route

Galwegian and road engineer Conor Geraghty will be a guest speaker at a special online webinar tonight, Thursday 17 September, to discuss ‘The Art of the Possible: The Coastal Mobility Route’ with two of his colleagues from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, lead architect Bob Hannan and Robert Burns, Director of Services.

Conor Geraghty, Technical Lead for the dlr Coastal Mobility Route

The Coastal Mobility Route in dlr connects the five south Dublin villages of Blackrock, Monkstown, Dún Laoghaire, Glasthule and Dalkey and has become an inspiration for many with the quality of its design and build. 

The dlr council radically reimagined the five urban villages as havens for people walking, wheeling and cycling as they lacked space for people to queue while social distancing. 

Now with wider footpaths and more on-street tables and chairs, people are coming to these places, lingering, and spending money in local businesses, cafés and restaurants in the town centres. 

Last weekend, there was a 230% increase in people on bikes cycling along the coast at Dún Laoghaire compared to a similar weekend last year. 

The Coastal Mobility Route has witnessed an increased diversity in the type of people using the two-way mobility route including motorised wheelchairs, families with cargo bikes, and other bicycles adapted for people with disabilities. 

Conor Geraghty of Crestwood, Coolough Road, is the Technical Design Lead. A graduate of NUI Galway in mechanical engineering, he switched to civil engineering after a year in Australia. He has worked with dlr since January 2008.

Conor cycled to school everyday down the Dyke Road to St Patricks’ primary school in the city centre. As a student in the Bish, he made the journey four times daily, returning home each day for lunch.

As well as supporting business, a local primary school is also benefiting from the protected two-way mobility route. “Scoil Lorcáin is the school closest to the coastal route,” says Conor. “The school has more people cycling now than they can accommodate in their bike parking, which is a direct result of the route. Parents and grandparents collect their kids and grandchildren by bike. Lots of children aged 8, 9 and 10 years cycle independently along the route.”

Lead architect Bob Hannan will be familiar to Galway audiences as he was a special guest speaker at Architecture at the Edge in 2019, Galways’ annual  weekend celebration of exceptional architecture in the West of Ireland. 

Roscommon man Robert Burns is Director of Services in dlr. Previously, he was a senior engineer within that council, and prior to that was an engineer in Clare County Council. He is familiar with the challenges faced by urban and rural communities to provide better walking and active travel facilities.

Event organiser Síle Ginnane of Better Ennis is delighted that there’s interest from people in Galway in the event. “Everyone is welcome. Covid-19 has brought its many difficulties, yet webinars and the dlr Coastal Mobility Team show what’s possible in challenging times. We’re delighted that Conor’s fellow Tribes people are interested in attending. We hope that dlr can inspire communities along the west coast to develop attractive mobility routes and open up access to our towns and villages so they can thrive again.”

The webinar takes place at 8pm on Thursday 17 September at 8pm. This event will be of interest to people curious about healthy cities, urban design, active travel and creating liveable places. 

Free tickets are available on EventBrite for the event ‘The Art of the Possible: The Coastal Mobility Route’ which is organised by Better Ennis.

Cycling Officers should be appointed before new city development plan begins

Cycling Officers need to be quickly appointed to Galway City and County Councils according to the Galway Cycling Campaign, who has written to both councils seeking a timeline for the hiring process. 

The Programme for Government emphasises expertise and quality in the €360 million annual cycling infrastructure spend. It promises to appoint a Cycling Officer to every local authority, a role which has yet undefined “real powers”. 

The Cycling Officer in each council executive is to ensure that each local authority “adopts a high-quality cycling policy, carries out an assessment of their roads network and develops cycle network plans.”

Cécile Robin, deputy chairperson of the Galway Cycling Campaign, says that the Cycling Officer should be appointed at a senior level with the ability to oversee budgets and have authority to ensure local authorities implement national cycling policy and design guidance to the highest standard.

“Our Roads departments are filled with talented engineers. The Cycling Officers should have a complementary skillset, such as in urban geography, sociology or psychology. The council’s ambition should be to create liveable neighbourhoods that prioritise people who walk, use wheelchairs, cycle or scoot,” said Ms Robin.

The appointment is particularly urgent because the process for the new Galway City Development Plan begins in January. 

“We need an expert in sustainable safety to be at the heart of developing our city,” said Ms Robin. “The 15-minute city is the ambition of Paris, where everything you need should be within a 15 minute walk or cycle of your front door such as local shops, cafés, schools, and even work. To paraphrase a great Irish sports commentator, neither France nor Paris are known as cycling strongholds.”

“Paris is adding another 650km of ‘corona cycleways’ to it’s 700km network to enable people to keep cycling after lockdown. Our city needs a senior decision maker within the council executive to champion active travel like walking, cycling and scooting from people’s front doors to wherever they need to go on a regular basis, like school, work, the GP, shops, and restaurants. We are already a cycling city, second only to Dublin in terms of people cycling to school and work.”

Cycling Officers are to work closely with new Regional Cycle Design Offices, as promised in the Programme for Government. 

“The 2009 National Cycle Policy Framework, introduced when Fianna Fáil and the Greens were last in government, continues to have good guidelines for people-centred planning and sustainable development. It has ambitious national guidelines to enable cycling within urban and rural areas. This needs to be embedded within the new city development plan, and a Cycling Officer should have the power to do so,” concluded Ms Robin.

‘Crazy’ 80kmph speed limit outside Boleybeg primary school

Locals have expressed concerns over proposals by Galway City Council to set a “crazy” 80kmph speed limit outside the gate of a Galway City primary school.

St Joseph’s primary school and Naíonra Cháit

In the draft speed limit bye-laws, the council has designated all of Rahoon Road west of Clybaun Road as 80kmph, including the section outside the site of Scoil Naomh Sheosaimh primary school and naíonra in Boleybeg. This would make it the only school in Galway City with an 80kmph speed limit outside the school gate. 

Neil O’Leary, parent of a child at the naíonra, said, “It’s crazy that Galway City Council would even consider making this section of road 80kmph. There are hundreds of children arriving at the school gates here every day. Yet the bicycle rack remains empty as parents choose to drive to school because it feels safer, and who could blame them? If a child is hit by a vehicle whizzing by at 80kmph, a socially distant funeral is all but guaranteed. At 30kmph, that same child has a 90% chance of surviving and returning to the playground.”

“I cycle my son to and from here most days and I know other parents would like to do the same, or walk with their kids, but don’t feel safe enough to do so. A lower speed limit would make for a much less hostile road environment, help attract more parents out of their cars and fill up the bike-rack at the school” said Mr O’Leary. 

Public consultation on the proposed speed limit bye-laws is open until 16th September. Any concerns or proposals to Galway City Council can be made at http://bit.ly/galwaycityspeedlimits

Cycle Bus recognised as international changemakers

The Galway Cycle Bus is delighted to announce it has been invited to join the ChangeX community. The Knocknacarra-based initiative promotes active travel for school children by experienced volunteers, parents and teachers escorting children to school by bike at various ‘pick up’ points in housing estates en route from Cappagh Road to Knocknacarra NS and Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh near Millers Lane.

ChangeX provides turnkey solutions for companies investing in communities worldwide. It is a platform that gets proven ideas and funding directly to anyone ready to lead impactful projects in their communities. The Galway Cycle Bus joins Irish Men’s Sheds and Playworks Ireland in the ChangeX community. 

The Galway Cycle Bus’s step-by-step 51-page guide to creating a cycle bus has been used by families and schools across Ireland from Dublin to Leitrim and Limerick. It is now available online to an international community. 

‘We’re thrilled to have been asked to join the ChangeX platform and we hope that other communities all over Ireland and abroad will use our Cycle Bus experience and  to create similar initiatives facilitating more active travel for primary school children,” said Alan Curran, parent, teacher, and co-organiser. “We also welcome financial and in-kind support from local businesses.”

“Cycling to school with your classmates and neighbours is an ordinary thing yet absolutely fun. We start off every day brimming with joy. It’s just great,” said Neasa Bheilbigh, also a local parent, teacher, and co-organiser. “Our Galway Cycle Bus continues to grow and it’s wonderful that from now it will bring even more communities across the world together.”