Western Health Board express interest in backing signs project

October 2004 Western Health Board express interest in backing signs project

Another contact made at the National Obesity Task Force event in September also came to frutition in October. Following from contacts made with Jacky Jones, the Western Health Board Health-Promotion chief, an approach was made with regards to seeking additional financial backing for the Faster by bike in Galway signs project. Paul Gillen of the WHB health promotion services has indicated that suppport might be available and discussions are taking place

Galway cyclists welcome amendments to city development plan

10/10/04 Galway cyclists welcome amendments to city development plan

Cross party support crucial to essential changes

The Galway Cycling Campaign have expressed delight with the amendments made to the City Development Plan during the debates at city hall over the past two weeks. On Sunday night, last minute amendments, such as replacing cycle lanes with hard-shoulder markings more suitable for Galway’s roads, were carried. Other key improvements made included an acknowledgement that roundabouts pose difficulties for pedestrians and cyclists and provision for two-way access for cyclists on one-way streets. In future, where planners propose to omit cycle parking from new developments this will have to be referred back to the planning SPC of Galway City Council for approval. The city council also adopted wording acknowledging that providing off-road cycle paths is not an alternative to adapting the existing road network for cyclists’ use.

“Cross party support was vital in getting these changes made. We appreciate the fact that councillors were working together for the benefit of city cyclists. It is heartening to see that councillors can put aside differences for the benefit of ordinary city residents.” noted campaign PRO Alan Burke. “These amendments should see a marked improvement in cycling conditions and a corresponding increase in the numbers of cyclists” he continued.

During the course of the Development Plan discussions, councillors from Labour, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, the Progressive Democrats and Sinn Fein all successfully proposed pro-cycling amendments to the city plan. -.

Highly Recomended: Full report on how the the councillors voted and the obstructive tactics of the city officials.

Western Health Board confirms financial backing for signs project

November 2004: Western Health Board confirms financial backing for signs project

Mr. Paul Gillen of WHB health promotion services has confirmed that the WHB is to provide a grant of EU 5,000 in suppport of the Faster by Bike in Galway project. The GCC committee wish to record their sincere thanks for the Western Health Board’s generous support. Initially, part of the funds will be use to expand the project in Galway city. However, subject to final approval by Galway County Council, the remainder of the funds are to be held aside for use in the county towns of Galway. Initial negiotiations have been started with the council’s Loughrea regional office. It is hoped that this is merely the first of many co-operative projects between the Galway Cycling Campaign and the regional health agencies. Mr Gillen has indicated a desire on the part of the WHB to take a regional approach to cycling promotion. Cyclists from the Roscommon and Mayo areas who would like to expand the scheme to their areas should get in touch with the GCC and can expect every assistance from ourselves and the Western Health Board

Galway’s “Cycle Paths”

The Real Function of Galway’s "Cycle Paths" ?

"Cycle lane" blocked by road signs, near Glenburren Park

Galway’s "cycle paths" are apparently ideal when it comes to finding somewhere to put any inconvenient road signs.  (This includes signs of the permanent variety as well as well as bus stops.)

The "cycle paths" don’t just save motorist convenience as a
place to store signs.

They are also used for routing pipes and services. This ensures that
the actual disruption due to road works is also predominantly targeted
at people on bicycles rather than at motorists.



"Cycle lane" at Terryland RoundaboutCycle
path at Terryland roundabout

This shows how the cycle path is merely continued
straight into or out of the roundabout without any deviation from the
"footpath" layout.   Cycling on footpaths or footpath
type structures is known to be associated with significantly increased
risk of car/cycle collision at junctions.   Junction collisions already account for the majority (70%) of collisions.  
When this corridor was designed and built the advice of the standard Irish text was “the provision of separate
bicycle lanes alongside the main traffic flow is self defeating if no
additional provision is made at intersections -because the very real risk
of collisions in the merging phase adds to the overloading effect”
.  This
report cites English data that showed that cycle tracks increase accidents
at junctions by 135%. [1]



"Cycle lane" on/off ramp Ballybane/BallybritBallybane

This is a typical example of the layout of
one of Galway Corporation’s cycle paths, this is within a roundabout exit.  Note
the way that the cycle path kerb is only dropped opposite the "pedestrian
crossing" (blue arrow).  Those cyclists who wish to use
the cycle path must first stop or slow in the middle of the accelerating
traffic stream in the roundabout exit and then execute a left turn to
mount the raised kerb.  If there are pedestrians waiting to
cross the cyclist must simply stop and wait within the traffic stream
until the ramp clears.  On roundabout junctions of the design seen
here, cyclists were already known to have an injury accident rate that
is 14-16 times that of motorists, yet in Galway these have been used in
conjunction with cycle path designs that themselves double the risk of
junction collisions.



On/off ramp and pedestrians, Tuam Road.Tuam

This illustrates the situation faced by cycle
path cyclists when there are pedestrians waiting.  Cyclists
who wish, or who feel forced through motorist aggression, to use the cycle
paths are faced with a split second decision in what is already a high
stress situation (multi-lane roundabout).


Disclaimer: Nothing in this document is offered as a legal opinion
if you are unsure as to the operation of the Road Traffic Regulations
contact your legal advisor.

[1] RS.189
"The Bicycle: A Study of Efficiency Usage and Safety"
Dr. D.F.
Moore, An Foras Forbatha, 1975

Next "Rules of the Road" a la Galway corporation

Galway’s Roundabouts

Galway’s Roundabouts

Life outside a car in the "City of the Tribes"


Galway’s Roundabouts

On multilane
of the design favoured by Galway corporation cyclists
have an injury accident rate that is 14-16 times that of motorists. Motorcycle/Scooter
users are only marginally better off at 10-13 times the injury rate. They
are also a nightmare for pedestrians. Many of them were built at a time
when over 39% of permanent private households in the City didn’t have
a car. While for short urban journeys within the city, foot and cycle
use outweighed motorcar milage by a factor of almost two.


"Pedestrian crossing" at Ballybrit


A view of a "pedestrian crossing"
on a roundabout showing the nature, position, and type, of signage used
by Galway Corporation at some such locations. The implications for pedestrian
safety should require no further explanation. A Foras Forbartha report
from 1987 specifically concluded that “signs should not be sighted where
they might reduce drivers vision”. (R.286 1987).[2]


Children Crossing Road at Headford Road roundaboutHeadford
Road Roundabout

This shows children crossing the road with
bicycles at an unprotected crossing on the Headford road roundabout in
Galway city. Points to note are the lanes of entering vehicles in the
background and the car accelerating off the roundabout into the exit which
these children are in the process of crossing. Also of note is the position
and height of the signs on the deflection island, these obscure pedestrians
crossing in the other direction from the view of the exiting motorists.
This "crossing" is on the main route between a large area of
residential housing and the city’s main cinema, largest toyshop, largest
computer store. two large electronic outlets and the nearest McDonalds
outlet. In 1997 and 1998 Ireland had the highest child
death rate in Europe.


Parents with buggies BallybritBallybrit.

Parents with baby buggies running from behind
obscuring signage to cross a roundabout exit as quickly as possible. The
need to be able to break into a run at such locations is a function of
the high-speed geometry of the roundabout. A routine failure to indicate
by circulating motorists puts pedestrians in the position of having to
guess when to cross.



Parents with buggies: DetailDetail
of the above picture


Sign obscured crossing BallybritHeadford

This picture is another view of the above
crossing, the path in the background leads to a large area of residential
housing and this path is the main pedestrian route between these houses
and the local industrial estate.

Terryland Roundabout

Mother with children at an unprotected "crossing"
on the Tirellan (Terryland) roundabout.  Again this roundabout is
adjacent to a large area of residential housing estates and is the main
route between these and both the nearest shopping centre and the city
proper.  In the second picture we see that the woman with the buggy
can’t even use the dropped area of the kerb to get up onto the path (it’s
blocked by the truck).

We have heard several independent reports
from this area of elderly pedestrians simply standing in tears at the
side of the road crying with fear and frustration at their inability to
get across.


Mother and Child Terryland
Mother and Child Terryland


Mother and Child Terryland

Safely across (this time).

On the recently constructed Western Distributor
Rd. Galway corporation has chosen to make roundabouts of a similar design
the only means of access to urban housing estates.

Pedesrians Tuam Road.Tuam

Pedestrians at a "crossing" on the
Tuam road.  If you can’t run you might be in for a long wait.

This picture also show one of the large “ghost
islands” that have been marked adjacent to the deflection islands. As
originally intended in the UK these were smaller and supposed to push
circulating cyclists/motorcyclists out into a more prominent position
so as to reduce the risk of collision.[3] (At roundabouts 50% of car/cycle collisions involve entering
motorists crashing into circulating cyclists, who have right of way.)
As used in Galway they merely provide a third lane which motorists
use to overtake circulating cyclists on the left. These nearside overtaking
manoeuvres are frequently carried out at speed while the cyclist is in
the process of turning left off the roundabout. This is a refinement,
which is believed to be peculiar to Irish roundabouts, and which gives
good reason to believe that Irish roundabouts are both substantially more
dangerous and more intimidating than their UK equivalents.

The Officially Available Guidance on Roundabouts

A Foras Forbartha study on cycling in Galway
in 1979 specifically raised the issue of the safety of cyclists and the
roundabouts that were then being proposed for the city. At that time,
in afternoon traffic in Galway, there was 19km travelled by bicycle for
every 100km by car. [5] The national
design manual RT 181 Intersections at Grade itself queries the
suitablity of using roundabouts at locations where there might be cyclists
turning right. [6] (It doesn’t specify
whether a University town with 12,000 third level students might fit this

A study on roundabouts in Swords in county
Dublin in 1987 (R.286) found that two-wheeler casualties were five times
higher than expected.  "The high incidence of two wheeler
accidents on the Swords bypass allied with similar findings in the major
accident study carried out by the TRRL on roundabouts shows that roundabouts
on high speed roads do not provide a safe environment for two wheelers
and consequently give serious reservation as to their use where high numbers
of this road user class is expected
In terms of pedestrians R.286 states that for the Swords by pass
The low level of pedestrians involved in personal injury accidents
on the by-pass primarily relates to the provision of overbridges and signalised
control facilities away from the roundabout and should not be taken as
indicative of pedestrian safety at roundabouts in general
There are no overbridges in Galway and only one signalised crossing, the
situation for pedestrians on Galway’s roundabouts is best demonstrated
by examining the attached photographs.   It is arguable that using
any high capacity roundabouts in a town like Galway shows at best incompetence
and at worst a considered contempt for the most vulnerable residents. 
  It is clear that there are serious questions to be asked regarding
how it is that any roundabouts were ever constructed either in, or near,
Galway city.

If you have other photographs showing typical
road design practices used in Galway. Pass them on and we’ll include them
in the site.

Galway Cycling Campaign July

[1] Census
of Population, 1991

[2] R.286
Design and Use of Roundabouts in Ireland, An Foras Forbartha, 1987

[3] Cyclists
and Roundabouts: A review of literature, Allot and Lomax, 1991.

[4] Pedal
Cyclists at Roundabouts R.E. Layfield and G. Maycock, Traffic Engineering
and Control, June 1986

[5] RS.242,
Bicycle Travel in Galway City, Brennan M.J., An Foras Forbartha, October

[6] RT 181
Geometric Design Guidelines, Intersections at Grade, National Roads
Authority, April 1997

Irish Junction Design Practice: An Information Sheet

Galway Cycling Campaign -Feachtas
Rothaiochta na Gaillimhe

Junction Design Practice

An Information Sheet


What’s the issue?

Up to 75% of car/cycle collisions happen at
junctions.  In Ireland RT181 Geometric Design Guidelines:
Intersections at Grade
has been the standard design guidance for 17
years.  There is evidence suggesting that for priority junctions
RT181 is based on both a philosophy of design and the use of actual designs
that are associated with increased risk of collisions href="#_ftn1" name="_ftnref1"> [1] .  
In particular there is evidence suggesting that junctions constructed
to this standard are likely to be associated with increased risk of the
most common types of car/cycle collision
.  Concerns have arisen regarding both the visibility parameters
specified by RT181 and on the issue of the recommendations regarding kerb
radii.  Our model system is the T-junction, which accounts for the
majority (40%) of junction collisions.  However the issue may
apply to other priority intersection types and particularly to roundabouts.  The
national authorities were first made aware of this issue in 1998 but so
far have failed to provide any response.


Junction collisions

Cyclists who fail to yield, overtake on the
left or who use cycle lanes are at increased risk of collision. 
However, the majority of car/cycle collisions at junctions involve motorists
who fail to yield to lawfully proceeding cycle traffic.  These collisions
have been associated with excessive visibility envelopes and also with
large entry dimensions, (kerb radius + lane width).  This is not
just an issue for cyclists, research has identified length of stopping
sight distance on all arms as a multiplying factor for several types of
accidents.   1) On major left arm, increased accident risk for
right turn from the major with major left to right accidents 2) On major
right arm, increased risk for right turn from the minor with major right
to left accidents 3)  On the minor arm, increased risk for two types
of accidents: right turn from the minor with major left to right accidents
and for left turn from the minor with major right to left accidents
[1] .

Visibility parameters

Current UK guidance is to specify minimum
and maximum visibility parameters for priority intersections
.  In addition a separate visibility envelope is specified
for the immediate area of the junction.  Maximum (not to be exceeded)
visibility parameters are set out because long sight distances are associated
with excessive entry speeds and consequently with increased risk of collisions. 
Sight triangles exceeding 9 x 25m have been associated with increased
risk of car/cycle collision.  In the UK a "Desirable Minimum
Stopping Sight Distance" to the junction is provided to allow "drivers
time to slow down safely at the junction, or stop, if this is necessary". 
However, UK guidance expressly cautions that "increased visibility
shall not be provided to increase the capacities of various turning movements". 
Irish design guidance an apparently opposing philosophy is seen where
visibility is provided which permits a minor road driver "to turn
into or cross the major road without stopping".  Irish guidance
only allows for minimum sight distances and by implication encourages
the use of large visibility envelopes.  


Kerb/corner radii

The Galway Cycling Campaign is still seeking
satisfactory guidance on the general issue of kerb radii (curvature). 
There is guidance recommending radii of less than 6m on intersections
with cycle routes name="_ftnref4"> [4] .  Large entry half widths (lane +kerb radius >10m)
are reported as being associated with increased risk of car/cycle collision. 
It should be taken as a general principle that the indiscriminate use
of large kerb radii (>4m) in urban areas can only add to the general
hostility of the traffic environment for vulnerable road users, including
pedestrians.  Despite these concerns Galway corporation has chosen
to specify minimum radii of 6-10m regardless of the mix of traffic.

Defensive action for cyclists

The best defensive action for cyclists is
to adopt a prominent road position when passing side roads/roundabout
entries, always try to stay well clear of any yield/give way markings
.  Even if you wear high visibility clothing, assume
that you will not be seen unless you’re also positioned where other drivers
are looking.   However, be prudent, particularly on faster
roads and at night.  In congested conditions resist the temptation
to overtake on the left.  If you choose to use cycle paths/lanes
then be aware that they increase your risk of being hit by a car.

© Galway Cycling Campaign, February

The Galway Cycling Campaign can be contacted c/o the One
World Centre, The Halls, Quay St, Galway

[1] Accidents
at Three Arm Priority Junctions on Urban Single Carriageway Roads Summersgill
I., Kennedy J.V. and Baynes D. TRL Report 184, Transport Research Laboratory,

[2] Layout
and Design Factors Affecting Cycle Safety at T-Junctions, Henson R.
and Whelan N., Traffic Engineering and Control, October 1992

[3] TD
42/95, Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, Part 6, Geometric Design
of Major Minor Priority Junctions

[4] Cycle
Friendly Infrastructure, Guidelines for Planning and Design, Inst. of
Highways and Transportation, 1996

[5] Cyclecraft:
Skilled Cycling Techniques for Adults, John Franklin, UK Stationery
Office, 1998.



Bicycle Research Service: ForschungsDienst Fahrrad
FDF 218 – 28.05.1994

Original Text



Cycle tracks for the expansion of motorised traffic

Key points: At the start of the twentieth century the first cycle tracks were constructed for the comfort of cyclists. Since the end of the 1920s, cycle tracks have been required and promoted as a prerequisite for the expansion of motorised traffic. It was only in the 1930s that cyclists were forced to use cycle tracks, allegedly for their own safety.

Main content: Volker Briese has reviewed the industry newspaper “Radmarkt” (Bicycle Market), that has been published since 1886, and has compiled the history of cycle tracks in Germany up until 1940. In the nineteenth century people began to demand cycle tracks because the unpaved roads and roadways paved with large stones were clearly unsuitable for cycling.

The first special tracks that were constructed for cyclists did not follow standardised guidelines or state specifications.

In Bremen, Hamburg and Luneburg these tracks were initially sections of the roadway that had been improved for cyclists. In the environs of Hanover and Magdeburg the tracks were for the purpose of recreational cycling and for making excursions. These were constructed thanks to the self -help initiatives of cycling clubs or as municipally provided facilities.

Between 1926 and 1928 firm demands were made to remove cyclists from the roadways through the construction of cycle tracks. The first bible of cycle track construction, “The economic significance of cycle traffic and the construction of cycle tracks,” was published by Dr. Henneking in 1926. This brought about the development of the “Guidelines for creation of cycle tracks” by the Study Group for the Construction of Roads for Automobiles in 1927. In contrast to the example of England, from this time the construction of cycle tracks intensified in Germany, so that cyclists finally come “off the streets”

In the National Socialist era cycle-track construction became integrated into state and party propaganda as an important pre-requisite for the furtherance of motorised traffic. The construction of cycle tracks was supported by the National Socialist Motorist Corps (NSKK) and the German Automobile Club (DDAC).

In the “Road Traffic Regulation of the Reich” (RStVO) introduced on October 1, 1934, the rights of cyclists, equestrians and pedestrians to use streets were considerably restricted. “Where a road is assigned to a particular type of traffic (Footpaths, Cycle Track, Bridle paths), then this traffic is restricted to that part of the road assigned to it.”

Compulsory cycle track use was the main disciplinary instrument faced by cyclists, although in the 1930s, with a ratio of 20:3, they still had a clear majority over motorised traffic. We can conclude from the intense propaganda surrounding the compulsory use of cycle-tracks from 1934 onwards that the cyclists were not happy with the new narrow, inexpensive and poorly surfaced cycle tracks and preferred to use the main roadways instead. While the Reich’s Autobahns were being celebrated as “Adolf Hitler’s roads” the cycle tracks were being termed “the roads of the little man”. “Let us show the marvelling foreigners (during the forthcoming Olympic Games 1936) proof of an up-and-coming Germany; a Germany where the motorist has bicycle-free and safe access not only to the autobahns but to all roads”.

V. Briese: “Cycle track construction before the second world war – back to the future””, in: Radmarkt 5/1993. “Cycle tracks, Opium for the cyclist”, in Radfahren 1/1994. “Cycle tracks. Automobile associations determine bicycle policy”, in: Radfahren 2/1994.

Address: Prof. Dr. Volker Briese, Elser Kirchstr. 39, 33106 Paderborn; Tel. 0521-69450.


(Translated by Shane Foran Jan 2004 with some help from friends in Germany)

Until 1999, the ADFC’s Bicycle Research Service published reports on traffic issues and cycle politics on a fortnightly basis Many thanks to Tilman Bracher, Mattias Doffing and to Elmar Steinbach, who have published these reports on the Internet

The Bicycle Research Service was discontinued mid-1999 It was superseded by the Bicycle Research Reports which can be subscribed from the ECF (www.ecf.com) European Cyclists’ Federation ECF – Rue de Londres 15 (b 3) – B-1050 Brussels – Phone: +32-2-512 98 27 – Fax: +32-2-511 52 24, e-mail: mailto:office@ecf.com

About the Galway Cycling Campaign

Formed after a large public meeting in 1998, the Galway Cycling Campaign is in essence a group that exists to forward the interests of ordinary everyday adult bicycle users, we have the following core aims.

* Safer conditions for cycling
* Planning that gives equal priority to all road users
* Improvement of existing facilities
* Secure parking for bikes
* Recognition of the rights and responsibilities of all road users by all road users

When people think of cycling safety such things as cycle lanes and cycle tracks automatically spring to mind, the thinking behind such segregated facilities is often based on the premise that the roads cannot be made to work for all road users.

Unfortunately cycling safety is a complex issue governed by many different factors. Total segregation is often impossible to achieve and partial segregation can make matters worse, unless you also try to make the roads work for all road users, clearly a circular argument. For this reason many cycling activists now prefer to focus primarily on other issues such as speed limits and speeding by motorists, road designs (especially junction layouts,), traffic calming and so on. Increasingly there is the issue of whether motorists should have a more clearly defined duty of care towards more vulnerable road users.

Another issue which is becoming more prominent concerns the fact that it continues to be legally permissable to import, to purchase, and to use, cars that are designed to break Irish law. Since our formation the GCC has made it our business to gather as much information as possible on what currently constitutes best practice in transportation planning and in “Road Safety”. This information is then used to draw up position documents on a range of issues, which are then submitted to relevant local and national authorities. We are constantly monitoring the situation for cyclists in Galway City and reviewing the implications for cyclists of all new developments.

In order to do this work effectively we need to have “eyes and ears” everywhere. Thus, we are always on the look out for new members and volunteers.

If you are interested in getting involved then contact us via the GCC, c/o The Galway One World Centre, Bridge Mills, Galway.