Smarter Travel Fund scrappage a victory for common sense say cyclists

The Galway Cycling Campaign has warmly welcomed the announcement that the Government is to scrap
the controversial “Smarter Travel Areas Fund” and the associated competition. The Cycle Campaign, who
represent transportation cyclists in Galway City and County have hailed the decision, as announced by
Derek Nolan TD (Labour) this week, as a “victory for common sense”. Since the €50 million fund had been
announced in 2009, there had been serious concern among the cycling community nationally that it was
poorly conceived and potentially a highly questionable use of public money.
The Galway Cycling Campaign had been making repeated efforts to raise their concerns with the new
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sports Mr. Leo Varadkar TD. The Cycling Campaign say that what is
needed to improve cycling conditions is an initial focus on targeted low-cost interventions designed to solve
real problems for cyclists and pedestrians. A focus on Celtic-tiger style “flagship” schemes as typified by
the Galway City and Environs bid is exactly the wrong approach. According to campaign chair Mr. Shane
Foran: “The department’s conduct of the Areas Fund Competition has highlighted systemic weaknesses
at national level. There is cause for particular concern that the “Smarter Travel Unit” does not have the
necessary understanding of the field to exercise proper oversight over the schemes and projects that it funds.
An independent review of the unit may now be necessary”
Initial concerns about the competition were confirmed when the details of the Galway bid, for a €20 million
portion of the funding, were revealed. According to the Cycling Campaign, within the their bid and the
associated draft strategy document, the council executive failed to address or tackle serious infrastructural
defects that are identified in Government policy as requiring remedial action. In the Galway bid, several
fundamental infrastructural issues were neglected to the point that it seemed that Galway City and County
Councils were actively trying to avoid national policy. Explained Campaign PRO Oisín Ó Nidh: “The original
bid included a welcome proposal for 30kph zones. It then turned out that the officials were planning to achieve
this by using road narrowings and pinch points that force cyclists into close proximity with moving cars. These
are specifically rejected by state policy as inappropriate and creating hostile conditions for cyclists. The
unacceptable side effect is to force less confident cyclists onto footpaths”
Instead the Galway bid has a focus on recreational routes following the coast and the River Corrib to the
demonstrable neglect of cycling conditions on key commuter routes into the city. Some of the proposals
such as those for the Tuam Road, Monivea Rd, the Coast road from Oranmore and the Western Distributor
Rd could in fact result in conditions for cyclists deteriorating due to the published proposals showing clearly
inappropriate road layouts.

Seamus Quirke Road: Loan was a chance to force a needed redesign

The Galway Cycling Campaign has expressed disappointment at the news that the elected city council have given permission city officials to take out a larger loan to allow the Seamus Quirke Road works to continue. 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. According to the cyclists, 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 being built on the road. They also say that the design will encourage other cyclists to use the footpaths and to cycle on the wrong side of the road.

“We cannot see this being anything other than a mess when it is finished” said Campaign PRO Oisin O’Nidh. The cyclists say the city council should have used the loan request to impose design changes on the officials responsible. “Taking out the sections of raised cycle path and providing on-road cycle lanes the length of the road would solve many of the problems” stated Mr. O’Nidh. The cyclists say in all probability to would been cheaper and certainly easier to construct without the cycle paths. The cyclists have described some aspects of the design as “bizarre” such as the requirement that cyclists accessing Shantalla Rod must hop-up on the footpaths as part of the manoeuvre.

The Seamus Quirke Rd redesign has been controversial since it was announced in 2002. At that time the city council engineer responsible, Mr. Joe Tansey stated that cyclists would be required to “dismount and become pedestrians” at every junction. This design aspect was thrown out by An Bord Pleanala following an oral hearing into the scheme.

Comment: This shows the route the designers of the current scheme expect cyclists to take to access the Rahoon road/Shantalla Rd if coming from Knocknacarra – a normal right turn has been broken into four separate manoeuvres and potential points of delay – this includes a section where cyclists are supposed to take to a footpath to get around the corner.

The Cycle Campaigns Analysis is that many cyclists will just cross the road further up and cycle on the footpaths the wrong way. More confident cyclists will ignore the cycle paths and stay in the bus lanes since that provides a better “line” into the junction.

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”


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

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: