The Galway Cycling Campaign has welcomed the launch of a new National organisation and vision for cycling promotion. Seven cycling groups from Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Maynooth, Skerries and Waterford have formed a new representative group: “Cyclist.ie”. At the centre of the new group is an agreed vision statement on cycling promotion policies for Ireland.
Now released for public consumption, this document details numerous policy issues and has already been presented to the Minister for Transport, Mr. Noel Dempsey TD. Among measures advocated are comprehensive cycle skills training starting at school level and driver training that takes vulnerable road users into account. The cyclists are also pushing for legally compliant lights to be made compulsory on all new bicycles at the point of sale, and for stricter enforcement of the traffic laws for cyclists and motorists alike. On infrastructural measures, Cyclist.ie is calling for the removal of multi-lane roundabouts and one-way street systems in urban areas and for two-way cycling on any one-way streets that remain. A key issue on the general roads network is a need for a strict clampdown on speeding and close and dangerous overtaking by some motorists. International experience shows that without such measures, expensive cycle lanes and paths will
remain unused and cycling on urban roads will remain a dangerous activity in many people’s minds.
“Galway is already Ireland’s ‘Cycling City’” said campaign chair Shane Foran “between 2002 and 2006 national census figures show that cycling by Galway commuters grew by 51% while cycling by Galway third level students grew by 38%. Galway already has the highest commuter cycling rate in the country at 4.4% and is the last city in Ireland where more secondary schoolgirls use bicycles than use cars.” The cycle campaigners point out that in Galway, 44% of workers, 70% of college students and 56% of secondary students live within a 25 minute cycle of their place of employment or education. “With this policy document as the guiding principle, there is no reason why Galway cannot achieve Oxford or Cambridge levels of cycle commuting where 20% of commuters use bicycles.”