Letter to the Galway Independent: August 02 2006


Cyclists should put their energy into lobbying for cycle routes

Dear Editor,


I am writing this letter as a response to the letter in your column on the 26 July titled �Fear for life as cyclist�.

I am a motorist who lives in Roscommon and commutes to Galway City every weekday. I am by no means anti-cyclist, but it does annoy me the way that cyclists constantly complain about motorists and their apparent disregard for the safety of cyclists.

If this is how they feel then they should hang up their bicycle clips for the last time and walk, jog or God forbid drive from A to B. Complaining and moaning about motorist�s habits and behaviour will make absolutely no difference to the vast majority of motorists, sad but true.

In my opinion cyclists should put all their energy into something they can possibly change, by lobbying councils and town planners to provide safe cycle routes and cyclist friendly junctions so they too can enjoy the relative safety that pedestrians get from footpaths and pavements.


David Conboy,

Main Street,



Here goes nothing..

To be honest, I don’t really have an awful lot of time for blogs.

Most of them consist of people whining about topics they no little about, and are incredibly boring.

This one will be no different.

Its just a place for me to bitch and complain, safe in the knowledge that few people will read and even less will care.

I’ll probably get bored of it as well, but in the meantime I’ll post about anything I find on the net of interest to Cyclists, especially in Galway.

Draft Agenda, AGM 10th July 2006

Draft Agenda

Galway Cycling Campaign AGM.

minutes of last AGM

1) Review of recent activities.

2) PRO’s Report

3) Treasurers Report

4) Reports on specific Campaign issues

5) Resignation of Officers

6) Election of Officers

7) Discussion of proposed actions for next year.

Facts About Cycling in Galway

Vulnerable Road Users in Galway*

Age Class
% Equiv. of 1996 population
Total population of the city
Children Age 0-14
Children in Secondary School

Third Level Students

  • GMIT 3,839
  • NUI, Galway 8,450
Persons over 65

*Data from 1996 Census and Atlas of
Galway, secondary school figures are for 1998, third level for 1999/2000

Travel by vulnerable modes in Galway

The 1996 census lists following proportions
for trips to school, college and work by the vulnerable modes in
Galway city (foot, cycle and motor cycle)

    • Travel by vulnerable modes: Trips to School

      • Children Aged 5-12:                         37.4

      • Students Aged 13-18:                      47.7

    • Travel by vulnerable modes: Trips to College

      • Students Aged 19 and over:      
             81.5 %

    • Travel by vulnerable modes: Trips to Work

      • Persons at work aged 15 and over: 30.0 %

Parking in Galway

  • There are at least 10 “no bicycles” signs in Eyre Square, there
    is one municipal bike rack.   It has eleven spaces
    and is of a “wheel gripper” design that can damage bicycles
    and leaves them vulnerable to theft or vandalism.  In a
    1998 submission the GCC requested it’s removal, in 2001 it’s
    still there.

  • Recently the Corporation installed a different, but still unapproved, rack design in
    the Maingurd St, Spanish Arch areas, these allow the frame to
    be locked but do not properly support upright bicycles which fall
    over. The design has also been identified as a trip hazard to

  • There are 1,000 “on street” and 3,000 “off street” car parking
    spaces in Galway city.

Galway’s Roads Network 

  • Galway Corporation has imposed road and junction types with
    a design speed of 60 mph or higher at locations where the stated
    speed limit is 30 mph and where there is mixed traffic of all

  • There are currently 13 multilane roundabouts in the City, the
    accident rate for cyclists on these roundabouts is 14 to 16
    times that of motorists. The accident rate for motorcyclists
    is only slightly lower than that of cyclists.  A national
    study on Irish roundabouts from 1987 raises serious reservations
    about using them where high numbers of two wheelers are expected.
     A Foras Forbatha report in 1979 raised the issue of the
    safety of cyclists in Galway and the roundabouts that were then
    proposed for the city.  Galway corporation was fully aware
    of these issues when they built a further five roundabouts on
    the new Western Distributor road.  More roundabouts are
    planned for the Seamus Quirke rd.

  • Even within predominantly residential areas Galway Corporation
    has a policy of actually specifying the use of road junction designs
    that unnecessarily endanger and inconvenience pedestrians and

  • It is corporation policy to impose “cycleways” of a design
    that results in a baseline 50% increase in the rate of car/bicycle
    collisions. (Rising to a tenfold (x10) increase in some circumstances).

  • There are only 14 signal controlled junctions Galway City, not
    all of these signalised junctions include pedestrian phases. There
    are only 10 signalised pedestrian crossings

  • At some specific locations in the city any cyclist who attempts
    to use the “cycleways” in the manner directed by the accompanying
    signs can expect to incur a tenfold (x10) increase in the risk
    of car/bicycle collision.

  • There are no fixed speed cameras anywhere in Galway City or
    County.  In fact to our knowledge there are no fixed speed
    cameras anywhere in the west of Ireland.

  • Galway Corporation has an established practice of refusing
    to implement road safety measures such as traffic calming even
    when specifically requested by local residents.

  • There are 130 miles of roads in Galway City, up until 2000 there
    was only one road (Murrough Avenue) that had any (2) municipally
    provided speed ramps.

  • At least one major cycling tour operator refuses to bring groups
    to Galway City by bicycle on grounds of road danger.

Cyclists call for Bikes on Buses

The Galway Cycling Campaign has called for bikes to be carried on bus services as one of a range of suggestions made on the city’s Bus study. The study is being carried out by Booz Allen Hamilton consultants to identify a future path for the Galway’s public transport services and the deadline for submissions closed on Tuesday.

The cyclists highlight the common practice elsewhere of facilitating the carriage of cycles on buses. They claim this has the potential to benefit both cyclists and the public transport service by opening up access to locations that are both too far to cycle but not within walking distance of bus routes. The cyclists provide an overview of a range of cities and bus services across the globe where bicycle carriage is permitted on buses both internally and via externally mounted racks. The examples include:

* Kassel: Germany
* Geneva, Basel, Zurich: Switzerland
* Copenhagen: Denmark
* San Francisco and Santa Cruz: California
* Seattle: Washington
* Portland, Eugene: Oregon
* Vancouver: Canada

The provision of appropriately designed bus/cycle lanes is welcomed by the cyclists who view bus/cycle lanes as being the best type of “cycle lanes”, the use of shared bus/cycle lanes is widespread elsewhere. In Galway, they anticipate that on many routes, bus/cycle lanes will be possible in one direction only. However, they say that it is essential that this doesn’t occur by using excessively narrow lane widths on the other side of the road. As this will adversely effect safety and access for cyclists travelling in the opposite direction.

Finally, the cyclists point out that in Galway, roundabouts represent a major infrastructural deficit facing bus operators, pedestrians as potential bus passengers and cyclists. They point out that uncontrolled roundabouts are deemed to be incompatible with modern bus priority systems, which use detectors and traffic signals to give priority to buses. They are calling for the bus study to be used as an opportunity for identifying remedial works for Galway’s roundabouts and restoring access to the city for all travel modes.

Cyclists welcome Minister’s moves on privatisation of road safety cameras.

Cyclists welcome Minister’s moves on privatisation of
road safety cameras.

The Galway Cycling Campaign has issued a warm welcome
for Minister Martin Cullen’s new road safety bill,
which allows for the privatisation of road safety
cameras. They are now calling for the new speed
cameras to be rolled out as quickly as possible with a
particular emphasis on urban areas. The privatisation
of speed limit enforcement services was a key
recommendation of Galway Cycling Campaign’s submission
on the national speed limit review in 2003. At that
time, the GCC noted that a top safety measure in an EU
report on promoting walking and cycling had been
comprehensive automatic camera speed control using
mainly movable equipment at unexpected spots.

In 2002 a report estimated that an Irish motorist
stood less than a 1:1400 chance of getting caught
speeding. In 2000, an NRA Study found that on
uncongested urban arterial roads, the average free
speed of cars within the 30 mph zone was 45 mph with
over 94% of motorists speeding, on urban residential
roads 68% of cars were found to be speeding.

The absence of an adequate speed enforcement service
has long been viewed as one of the key obstacles to
promoting cycling as a form of transport in Ireland.
Privatising speed detection services is seen as a way
around this situation. The cyclists say that the aim
must be to provide a safe roads network for all road
users and not merely to reduce deaths among motorists
on arterial and interurban roads. Similalry, the
cyclists say that there must be an end to the
perception that in Ireland, speed enforcement is about
“shooting fish in barrels” at selected locations on
arterial routes.

The cyclists also wish to endorse Minister Cullen’s
recent statements in favour of a move away from a
VRT/Motor Tax based revenue stream towards a more
consumption based or “carbon tax” model, where payment
is made according to use. “We welcome Minister
Cullen’s recent initiatives as opening a new era in
road safety and transport management in Ireland”.


For confirmation

Alan Burke 087 2452130
Phone Shane Foran 087 9935993 Work 091 8420

Galway Cycling Campaign -Feachtas Rothaiochta na
c/o Galway One World Centre, the Halls, Quay St.,

Additional information

Submission on National Speed Limit/Enforcement Policy

References for PR.

* RS 453 Free Speeds on Urban Roads, National Roads
Authority, 2000.
* How to enhance WALking and CYcliNG instead of
shorter car trips and to make these modes safer,
Deliverable D6 WALCYNG Contract No: UR-96-SC.099,
Department of Traffic Planning and Engineering,
University of Lund, Sweden 1999.
* Review of Ireland’s Road Safety Strategy, R-2002-27,
Fred Wegman, SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research,
Leidschendam, The Netherlands, 2002

Galway Cycling Campaign -Feachtas Rothaiochta na
c/o Galway One World Centre, the Halls, Quay St.,

Seminar on Safe Cycling Techiques at NUI, Galway

5/10/04 Seminar on Safe Cycling Techiques at NUI, Galway

A contact made at the National Obesity Task Force event in September came to frutition on Tuesday 5th October when the GCC held a seminar on the “ABCs of Cycling in Galway” in Darcy-Thompson Theatre, NUI, Galway. The event was arranged in co-operation with Ms Cindy Dring of the Health Promotion office of NUI, Galway and was open to the public. The object which was to provide tips and tricks for bicycle users in city traffic with topics such as.

  • Legal environment: Rights and obligations
  • The benefits of cycling.
  • How to recognise and avoid dangerous situations – what accident analysis tells us about the risks and what tactics are suggested.
  • Choosing your routes – the route there is not always the best route back. (Also sneaky Galway shortcuts!)

Unfortunately, the unexpected intervention of the City Development Plan issue meant that it was impossible to properly advertise or promote the event beforehand either within the University or on a more public basis. There were also clashes with several other events. This resulted in a low attendance most of whom were already cycling activists. The event was therefore co-opted into a discussion of the city plan issues. However, it is hoped to try a similar event again in the very near future. Hopefully in conjunction with better resourced promotional effort and in co-operation with other agencies such as the Health Board..