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..

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