Seamus Quirke Road – Cyclists issue safety warning over cycle paths

The Galway Cycling Campaign is issuing a safety warning for users of the Seamus Quirke road where traffic was recently switched over from the existing road to a newly constructed section. The new section of road includes intermittent footpath structures on one side that are eventually intended to become cycle paths. The Cycling Campaign are concerned that some cyclists are using these to cycle on the wrong side of the road against the normal flow of traffic. They point out that using cycle facilities in this manner is associated with up to 12 fold increases in the risk of collision with cars at the side roads. Side roads and junctions already account for 75% of car/bicycle crashes. Researchers in Finland, Germany, the US and Sweden have all identified the issue.

The issue is that, when turning at side-roads motorists are not accustomed to looking for cyclists coming from the wrong side at speed. Calling for vigilance from city motorists campaign PRO Oisín Ó Nidh stated “we have to remember that Ireland is a country where there is little history of cycle training or of educating cyclists in the safe use of roads, also the same goes for motorists – as a result many Irish cyclist’s have no idea of the limitations of these cycle facilities and are putting themselves in danger in the incorrect belief that they are actually safer. This is also the case for cyclists using the cycle path going with the flow of traffic. They also have an increased risks of collisions compared with being on the road” Addressing cyclists using the road he added “it may feel more vulnerable to stay in the main traffic lane but the evidence suggests you may be safer on the road where drivers are looking rather than on the cycle paths.”

The Cycling Campaign have previously expressed serious concerns about the current design for the Seamus Quirke road and view it as unworkable from the perspective of cycling as a form of transport and a highly questionable use of public money. In their analysis, when the road is finished, many cyclists will find it safer and more convenient to stay in the bus lanes and ignore the cycle facilities. PRO Mr Ó Nidh states “if cyclists ignore the cycle facilities it will also make the paths safer for pedestrians. The cycle path chicanes at the Bus Stops will lead to the increased risk of collisions between pedestrians and cyclists”

Sources:

Sweden: Leif Linderholm: Signalreglerade korsningars funktion och olycksrisk för oskyddade trafikanter ─ Delrapport 1: Cyklister. Institutionen för trafikteknik, LTH: Bulletin 55, Lund 1984, In: »Russian Roulette« turns spotlight of criticism on cycleways, Proceedings of conference »Sicherheit rund ums Radfahren«, Vienna 1991.
USA: A. Wachtel and D. Lewiston: Risk factors for bicycle-motor vehicle collisions at intersections, Journal of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, pp 30-35, September, 1994.
Denmark: S.U. Jensen, K.V. Andersen and E.D. Nielsen: Junctions and Cyclists, Velo-city ‘97 Barcelona, Spain .
Finland: M Rasanen and H. Summala: The safety effect of sight obstacles and road markings at bicycle crossings, Traffic Engineering and Control, pp 98-101, February, 1998

Galway City Bikeshare welcome but new design guidance needed

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

Cyclists propose roundabout as a way around impasse over Morris Junction changes

The Galway Cycling Campaign is proposing a roundabout on the R339 (Old Monivea Rd) at Ballybane as a way of dealing with local concerns over access. The concerns have arisen as a result of proposals to replace the Morris Roundabout on the N6 with so-called intelligent traffic lights. The new junction layouts will result in banned turns that make it difficult for traffic on the old Monivea Rd to access the Ballybane Rd. The cycle campaign shares these concerns. “The old Monivea Rd is a natural cycling route in and out of the city,” said Campaign PRO Oisín Ó Nidh. When making their submission on the scheme, the cyclists say they “actively considered” recommending a roundabout at this location but left it out in the end due to concerns about rat running. Now that the views of the local community are clear, they say the roundabout is back on the table.
“We should be very clear that we are not talking about a typical Irish roundabout that favours movement by car over people who wish to walk or cycle,” continued Mr. Ó Nidh. Instead the cyclists say what is needed is a “continental” type roundabout as used in the Netherlands that is designed to encourage slower traffic speeds, takes account of the presence of cyclists in the traffic stream and allows pedestrians to cross the road. These roundabouts can also have raised pedestrian crossings or zebra crossings to further improve safety. Zebra crossings are already in use on roundabouts in Portlaoise and Limerick, and the cycle campaign says it would be great to see Galway get on board with modern thinking on traffic management.
In their proposal on the Morris and Font schemes, the cyclists recommended the removal of some cycle lanes and the widening of others, especially where cyclists are directed between lanes of traffic. “If cyclists are travelling between two streams of cars, they need more space — up to 3m,” said Mr. O’Nidh. The cyclists have also questioned the absence of bike boxes at the traffic lights, as found at Moneennageesha, raising concerns of a lack of inter-visibility with HGV drivers. For similar reasons of safety, they have also called for stop lines to be amended so that crossing pedestrians are clearly visible to waiting HGV drivers.

Family Treasure Hunt

Family Treasure Hunt

Family Cycling Treasure Hunt

The annual Family Cycling Treasure Hunt is a chance for children and adults to explore Galway by bike and learn more about cycling safety, skills and culture.

Date & Time: Sunday 26th of June, 2011 from 2:00pm to 6:00pm

Venue: Starting at Renmore AFC Clubhouse

Family Treasure Hunt 2010

Event details::

On Sunday the 26th of June 2011 the annual Galway Cycling Campaign Bicycle Treasure Hunt closes this years bike week in Galway. A family oriented event with a focus on junior cyclists, it will start from the Soccer Club on Renmore Avenue. Participants can arrive by car if they choose, and stay within a relatively traffic-free environment following quiet residential roads for a couple of hours of two-wheeled fun. (Helmets optional – entry is free!)

The Treasure hunters will need to collect cycling related facts from volunteers and from information provided on temporary signs. The cycle campaign would provide the personnel to guide the participants in answering questions at various points and provide the facts about the potential for cycling in Galway.

• How long to cycle to Eyre Square from XXXXX?
• How many people live within a 25-minute cycle of school or work?
• Whats your favourite kind of bike?

There will also be cycling skills lessons and “tests”, e.g. “Show me how to give a hand signal”; “Show me how to use your brakes”. Registration runs from 2-3pm and families can take the course in their own time. Everyone gathers back at the soccer club for bike maintenance checks, refreshments and a prize draw at five pm.

Cycling Short Films

Cycling Short Films

Book now!

Enjoy a free night of short films about, featuring and inspired by bicycles, at the Eye Cinema in Galway. Find out more about the event and register for admittance on http://bikemovie.eventbrite.com

About the event

A celebration of bicycles through films.

A bike-inspired cinema night is one of the novelties planned to add a fresh spark to this summer’s National Bike Week festival.

The series of eight short films explores the depiction of bicycles on film and the work of Irish and international filmmakers interested in this topic.

Highlights of the evening’s celluloid celebration include excerpts from Belfast native Andy Yoong’s new film Break the Cycle, starring Maeve Baxter along with Daniel and Gerard Wolfe, whose exploits on bikes are truly inspirational. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Mourne mountains and Dublin mountain biking trails, this film features the best Irish downhill riders  who narrate their passion for the sport and how important this activity is to ‘break the cycle’ of everyday life.

The evening will also see Niamh Kennedy’s directorial outing documenting the exploits of Dublin cycle couriers – a unique subculture of the Dublin cycling scene. Film buffs will be on the edge of their seats for the Irish cinema premiere of Danny MacAskill’s exploits across the Scottish highlands, and the works of international filmmakers including Coline Maldec on Parisian bike culture, and Canadian Mike McKinley’s examination of BMXers in Vancouver locating urban spots to ride.

Chris Tierney, one of the event organisers, says, “It has been a privilege to work with inspiring filmmakers and collaborators throughout, and we hope you enjoy the resulting programme that is on offer this year, which we are sure will be a spectacular movie night to remember.”

The evening will be of interest to cyclists and non-cyclists alike.

The Galway Bike Festival movie night is being held in the Eye Cinema, and is organised by the Galway Cycling Campaign and supported by the Galway City Council and the Eye Cinema.

The festival, which runs from 18–26 June, will also feature public events with live music, and live cycling performances in Eyre Square.

 

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Galway Bike Fest Announced (18th -26th of June)!

The complete calendar of events for Galway Bike Festival has just been released. The festival runs from the 18th to the 26th of June, and this year promises to be a spectacular event, with a huge launch in Eyre Square on the 18th of June, with music, fun games and lots and lots of bicycles. The national bike week event launch is being celebrated in Galway- the first time any city outside of Dublin has hosted this opening event.

The Galway Bike Fest calendar outlines a full programme of activities to celebrate bicycles for all ages and interests, taking place all over the city during the week.

Feel free to check out the full calendar of events in English or Irish, and the Facebook and Twitter details relating to the week’s activities.

We also have a handy draft Google calendar of events on our site- this is still being updated.

The Galway Cycling Campaign will be running two events during the festival. These include the hugely popular annual family treasure hunt, and also a movie night of bicycle inspired films:

Family Cycling Treasure Hunt
The annual Family Cycling Treasure Hunt is a chance for children and adults to explore Galway by bike and learn more about cycling safety, skills and culture.

Date & Time: Sunday 26th of June, 2011 from 2:00pm to 6:00pm

Venue: Starting at Renmore AFC Clubhouse

Find out more…

Cycling Short Films Cycling Film Shorts
Enjoy a night of short films about, featuring and inspired by bicycles.

Date & Time: Monday 20th of June from 7:00 to 9:00pm

Venue: Eye Cinema, Galway

Book online

 

 

Making everyday a COW Day

Mick, Elaine, Aine, and Aengus!
Photo: Mick, Elaine, Áine and Aengus from NUI Galway who volunteered to share some great bike accessories around the campus for COW day

Cycle on Wednesday/Cycle to Work day on the 9th of March 2011 was launched with warm praise from students and staff around the NUI Galway campus, who returned to find their bike saddles kept dry with the help of four volunteers, Mick, Elaine, Áine and Aengus. Over 230 saddle covers, 200 reflective leg bands, and 200 wheel spoke reflectors were distributed all around the bike stands, before the goods ran out. We counted, at a conservative estimate, that at least over 400 people made the choice to commute by bike to the main campus on a drizzly Wednesday, indicating the popularity cycling by a very healthy group of road users.

Here are some comments overhead by commuters around campus today:

“Cycling to campus is much faster than walking, and my lectures start at twelve on Tuesday, so there’s no way I’d get parking if I drove. Anyway, I prefer to be on the bike. It saves me petrol money, and I’m not stressed out waiting in traffic”, noted one student.

“I started cycling this year when I moved into an apartment in Salthill. Before, I used to walk to the campus from Hazel Park, but now that I’m a bit further away I like being on my bike and can make it in to college in less than ten minutes”, said a second year Arts student.

“When I’m on the main NUI Galway campus, I park in the Dangan park and ride, and throw the bike in the boot. This means I can spin down to the campus quickly, and get back to the car when I need to”, commented a staff member normally based in Carraroe.

“You’d be mad to drive to college in Galway- it’s so easy to get around on a bike with everything so close”, said an IT student originating from Dublin.

Several others in the city and county got in touch to let us know they were taking part in COW day too, including Marco, from GMIT, and Vernise in Loughrea (thanks to both of you!). Other special thanks goes to Dr. Aoife Collins and Paul O’Donnell from the NUI Galway Green Campus, and to Mary Rose Bogan who helped publicise the event.

Áine took some beautiful photos of bikes around the grounds today (see below): COWday @ NUIGalway
Check out some more of her pictures online.

Later on, James held a bike workshop in 091 labs, which hopes to soon become a regular event.
Teaching some tricks...
Some early bike repair projects have been identified, including the revamp of a decathalon bike with loose brakes, and a chain that keeps skipping out of it’s chainset. Watch out for more from James on future workshop events.

COW day – Wednesday 9th March 2011

What is COW? = Cycle on Wednesday
On Wednesday the 9th of March 2011, everyone in Galway is encouraged to cycle to work, school, college, or to get to wherever you need to go. That includes you!

Photo by Wreford Miller on Flickr (cc)

Why take part?
Bike Week 2011 is coming to Galway this year, with the National Event being launched in the city in June. As part of a lead up series of events, the An Taisce & Green Schools Secondary School are encouraging a city-wide Cycle on Wednesday (COW day) (see their website). This simple idea is also being promoted, by individuals and organisations across the city. The more people who cycle, the safer our roads will be. So why not take part?

What’s happening on COW day?
Some lucky staff and students who cycle on COW day at NUI Galway on the 9th of March will be getting goodies from the Galway Cycling Campaign to acknowledge their contribution to a healthier and less congested Galway. A team of student volunteers via the Community Knowledge Engagement Initiative (CKI) on campus have offered their time to share these out, with passer-bys around the campus on this date.

If your school or workplace, or organisation, or even yourself as an individual is taking part in COW day on the 9th of March, let us know, and we’ll do our best to get a bike saddle cover, or bike accessory out to you too. Email us as soon as you can on: fiona@galwaycycling.org

Galway Schools Encourage Commuting by Bike

Pupils at Drumshanbo Voc Sch heading home on their bikes with high vis gear

It is interesting to note some major cycling initiatives happening in Galway city and county schools, developed by local Green Schools committees and supported by the An Taisce Green Schools Team. The Green Schools website section on cycling contains some useful resources to make cycling a viable alternative to being driven to school. It includes ideas for schools hoping to encourage more students to explore whether cycling is a safe and viable alternative means of travel, by organising bike training and bike maintenance sessions, and intriguingly to hold COW days – not travel of the bovine kind, but Cycle on Wednesday (COW day)  promotions. Tiarnan McClusker, from An Taisce, cited in the Galway City Tribune on the 18th of February, noted there has been a national increase of 25% of children cycling to school since 2008, since such initiatives began.

One new scheme launched this week – again by the An Taisce Green Schools Team, along with Galway Healthy Cities and West of Ireland Cycling – has offered five free bikes to teachers on a hire basis for a month, within the Galway city, Claregalway, Barna and Oranmore areas. More information about the scheme is available from tmccusker@eeu.antaisce.org

Another upcoming event includes a week long cycling challenge for secondary school students, parents and staff, from the 7th to the 11th of March 2011 (see their website for more information). This is open to anyone who wants to take part, and is willing to get on their bikes in the city or county, in preparation for the run up to National Bike Week 2011, to be held in June. If you are a regular cyclist, be sure to wave hello at the increased number of cyclists Galway will see out on the roads on this week.

Watch out for information on events in your locality, or perhaps consider organising similar challenge where you work. Oil up your chain, pump up your tyres, and keep an eye out for some of our Galway Cycling Campaign bike accessories, which we’ll be distributing to cyclists out and about.

NUI Galway Green Fair

We always keen to talk to cyclists, and find out what concerns and issues are important to them. Towards this end, we took part in the annual Green Fair at NUI Galway on the 25th of January 2011. The fair aimed to help create awareness of how students and staff can all reduce their impact on the environment.

GCC at the NUI Galway Green Fair

Here, we had the opportunity to speak to a wide range of people who use bikes for transport, recreation or for sport, from occasional cyclists, leisure cyclists, commuters, competitive road bikers, mountain bikers and bike hobbyists alike. All day long, we repeatedly heard people call for increased consideration for cyclists by other road users; safer infrastructure – better surfaced and improved design of roads; slower traveling speeds by other road users within urban areas; and more secure and available bike parking. Many thanks for those who engaged in discussions and took the time to express and share their great ideas on making Galway more cycling-friendly.

A focus on cycling issues was a strong theme at the event, with Critical Mass encouraging folk to come along to their monthly Saturday cycles, and the student’s Eco Soc lobbying with a petition for a bike workshop on campus. Cycling is an extremely efficient and enjoyable way of negotiating the city, and the representation of so many groups and attendees with an interest in getting around Galway city and county by bike was impressive. It points to Galway’s regrowing and thriving bike scene.

Green Fair

Promoting positive images of cycling

The Green Fair also gave us a great opportunity to further promote a positive image of cycling, by handing out free high visibility vests, clever spoke reflectors, t-shirts, and the hugely popular waterproof seat covers (which help to keep your saddle dry when parked – ingenious!).

Special thanks to Dr. Aoife Collins, NUI Galway’s Environmental Manager for her invitation and organisation of the event.