World Bicycle Day saw cross-party support for 30 km/h speed limits for Dublin’s city centre and suburbs. We expect Galway to follow suit. Join us for a special guest speaker event this Wednesday, 17 June 2020, from 8 pm to 9 pm about how lower speed limits will make a happier and healthier Galway with investigative journalist Maria Delaney from Newsworthy, Mairéad Forsythe of Love 30 – Ireland’s campaign for lower speed limits, and Prof Kevin Leyden of NUI Galway. Event open to all.
This one change to our streets will have an immediate impact on improving road safety. It will also make cycling and walking easier and more pleasant for people of all ages and abilities.
Lower speed limits will enable road redesign and so with narrower road carriageways there will be more space for cycle paths and wider footpaths. Lower speeds reduce the risk of road traffic collisions, reduce the risk of fatalities, and reduce the risk of life-limiting and life-changing injuries.
More Space and Less Speed are the two principles of our Change Our Streets campaign.
We are delighted to invite you to a special guest speaker event this Wednesday event at 8 pm on Zoom.
This Wednesday, 17 June 2020 8 pm to 9 pm ‘Doors’ at 7.45 pm ‘Drinks’ afterwards until 9.30 pm
Join Zoom meeting at this link Meeting ID: 826 4005 1920 Password: 320894 All welcome
Change Our Streets
Less Speed is the second principle of #ChangeOurStreets campaign. We need our Council and Government to lower speed limits and redesign roads to enable adherence to lower speeds.
Less Speed supports the More Space principle of re-allocating road space to people walking and cycling.
Join Galway Cycling Campaign
Our public events are free events and open to all. If you’d like to get involved, please join us and our everyday cycling community. Our membership contribution is €10 or €5. If you would like to donate more, you’d be most welcome!
Galway Cycling Campaign warmly welcomes the report in the Irish Times that the deal for the Programme for Government will include €360m for cycling and walking. This will be allocated each year before the proposed future investment split of 2:1 in favour of public transport over roads. This is a smart deal for transport, public health, and supporting the local economy.
The volunteer group for everyday cycling has campaigned for years for 10% of the land transport budget to be allocated to cycling.
Chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign Kevin Jennings emphasised the significance of the increase of funding from 2% to 10% for cycling.
A commitment of 10% for cycling in the land transport budget could help change transport in Ireland. The new government radio ads asking us to cycle and walk where possible are a first that I can recall. My kids are asked to cycle to camógaí training.
Investment in cycling is investment in public health. Better infrastructure will encourage more people to cycle during coronavirus, and enable the years of social distancing we must do until a Covid-19 vaccine is available.
The chairperson also added that cycling is good for local business.
Cycling is good for business. Customers by bike are local and loyal. Research in London and Europe shows that bike parking outside your business brings five times the retail spend as the same space allocated to a car.
The first CycleCoffeeCake event organised by Galway Cycling Campaign ended at Ground & Co in Salthill. The local business was delighted to sponsor this event to support new people cycling as they’ve seen a massive jump in customers arriving by bike.
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for the Galway Cycling Campaign, pointed out that EU research clearly shows that the economic and social benefits of cycling and walking.
According to EU research, each 1 km drive costs the public purse €0.11 in terms of travel time, collisions, and pollution, while at the same time each 1 km cycle or walk brings health, environmental and quality of life benefits of €0.18 & €0.37 / km respectively.
She added that the the group are keen to confirm the annual percentage budget for cycling and walking.
It looks like the Programme for Government will commit 20% of the land transport budget to cycling and walking, as 20% of 2020 land transport budget is €360m.
We expect 10% to be clearly allocated to cycling as this 10% allocation is endorsed by the UN, Citizens’ Assembly, the Dáil, Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action and the government’s Climate Plan.
Kevin Jennings added that the expectation is that cycling funding will be spent on quality infrastructure for all ages and abilities in Galway city and county so that we can grow cycling to levels common in places like Ghent, Seville and Leeds.
We also need to support more women to cycle. The boom in bike sales is due to more women buying bicycles. Before coronavirus, only 27% of cycling commuters are female, according to 2016 Census data.
Women typically have complex cycle routes involving trips to school, childcare, GP, local shops, public services like libraries, as well as to work. Safe and segregated cycle paths in networks that start from your residential area are necessary to support more women – and families – on bikes.”
Galway Cycling Campaign looks forward to examining the full published Programme for Government. More detailed comments will follow.
The first CycleCoffeeCake held today was a pedal-away success. The event, which filled registration within 24 hours of its announcement, shows the latent desire for people of all ages and abilities to gain confidence for cycling on roads, learning safe cycling skills, and enjoy being part of an everyday cycling community. Participants included a man using a recumbent trike, a proudly self-identifying ‘oldie’, and Snoopy the dog in a bike basket. The sound of bell chimes and happy chats as people cycled side-by-side was pure joy.
Thank you to all who joined us for the first ever #CycleCoffeeCake this morning. It was thrilling to have people of all ages and abilities with a mix of regulars and newbies on bikes join us for a gentle and including Saturday morning spin for coffee and cake.
New bikes and golden oldies
Eimear Ní Fhlatharta, who bought her bike only a fortnight ago, said the experience helped her feel empowered and more confident about taking space while cycling on-road.
Martina Callanan, spokesman for the Galway Cycling Campaign and creator of CycleCoffeeCake, said that this tweet was the reason for doing what we do.
Eimear’s experience is why we set up this social cycling event. We want to enable confidence in people who are new to cycling, or hopping back on the saddle after years or maybe decades. We want to share skills and tips while connecting people with a caring and fun everyday cycling community.
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign and creator of CycleCoffeeCake
Before the group departed the start point, a participant asked, “When is the next event?” Gesturing at her red bike with a wicker bike basket, she said, “I’m as old as this bike. I want to cycle!”
The group asked for CycleCoffeeCake to be a fortnightly event during the summer. We are delighted to respond to this request, and so the next event will take place on Saturday 27 June at 10.30am.
Registration details along with the start point and route details will be announced the week beginning Sunday 20 June.
The route today went from Nimmo’s Pier to Blackrock before ending in Salthill village with coffee and cake at Ground & Co.
Instead of the off-road cycle path on the shoreline of the Swamp, the group cycled entirely on-road. This is because a kissing gate from Nimmo’s Pier to the Swamp is a Covid-19 contact concern as well as being a mobility obstacle for people with bikes, and in particular, our participant who uses a recumbrent trike.
Special thanks to Martyna Cwiertnia from An Mheitheal Rothar for giving a terrific bike maintenance talk, which focused on the safety M Check.
Check out Martyna’s bike mechanic YouTube channel, Rainbow Bikes, which has helpful easy-to-do bike maintenance tips as well as videos on vintage bicycle restorations.
It was easy to chooseGround & Co Salthill as our first event partner. The Aquarium Building is a great location in Salthill with lots of space and seats outside to enjoy our complimentary coffee and cake.
Since coronavirus and lifting of lockdown, more people are arriving by bicycle and the bike stands outside Ground & Co Salthilll have never been so busy. We’re delighted to support CycleCoffeeCake and sponsor this first-ever event.
Kevin Nugent, owner of Ground & Co Salthill
As well as the event group, many more people on bikes were curious about the event and tagged along behind and joined us for coffee and chats.
Importantly for us, this local café has an abundance of secure bike racks, which we filled.
CycleCoffeeCake will be a regular fortnightly event by the Galway Cycling Campaign during the summer.
We want to help people feel more confident cycling about town and to and from residential and recreational areas. Each event will take a different route and will offer a theme, a guest guide, or a guest speaker.
Kevin Jennings, chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign
Cake bike trails will be explored across the city, especially those that end in green and blue areas where we can enjoy coffee, cake and chats in safe and pleasant surroundings, like Terryland Forest Park, the Seven Galway Castles’ Heritage Cycle Trail / Slí na gCaisleán, Cappagh Park, and Ballyloughnane Beach.
As we reopen society after the coronavirus lockdown, we want to support local businesses, especially those that have safe and secure bicycle parking outside.
Martina Callanan, creator of CycleCoffeeCake
We welcome suggestions of routes and local businesses in the comments below, via email [email protected] or through DM on Twitter.
Save the date!
The next event will take place on Saturday 27 June at 10.30am. A registration link will be live in the week before the event.
CycleCoffeeCake is a new initiative of the Galway Cycling Campaign which aims to encourage women and novice cyclists to hop on their saddles and join together in a gentle, inclusive cycle around Galway city. We hope to encourage those who are comfortable cycling and those who would enjoy some support as they gain confidence in cycling around the city.
The inaugural CoffeeCakeCycle event takes place this Saturday, 13 June 2020, from 10.30am to 12 noon, meeting outside the Claddagh Hall at Nimmo’s Pier. From there, the group will make their way to Salthill on off-road cycle tracks along The Swamp and then go on-road at Grattan Road and out along the Prom before returning and ending at Ground & Co Salthill at the Aquarium Building.
Over the summer months, we hope to host regular CycleCoffeeCake spins and help people feel more confident cycling about town. Each event will take a different route and will offer a theme, a guest guide, or a guest speaker.
Kevin Jennings, chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign
For this inaugural event, the theme is ‘On Your Bike!’ and a local bike mechanic from An Mheitheal Rothar will give a short talk about basic bicycle maintenance.
Cycling is an easy, fun activity for people of all ages and all abilities. We want to take people on bike trail across the city that ends in green and blue areas where we can enjoy coffee, cake and chats in safe and pleasant surroundings, like Terryland Forest Park, the Seven Galway Castles’ Heritage Cycle Trail / Slí na gCaisleán, Cappagh Park, and Ballyloughnane Beach. We want to support local businesses, especially those that have safe and secure bicycle parking outside.
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign
“These are social events, with the added bonuses of exploring our city, sharing experiences, exchanging tips, and, very importantly, enjoying coffee, cake, and chats,” she added.
The bike boom of 2020 is well reported here in Galway, and indeed across the country and the world. Bike shops can barely keep up with demand as bikes – and even parts – sell out.
It has felt safe, even for families, without the traffic. It is not just bike sales that have gone through the roof; it’s entry-level bike sales for day-to-day journeys or with the kids.
Many shops are reporting for the first time that more bikes are being sold to women than men. Stepthrough frames are the most popular type of bike.
Cathy Coote of An Mheitheal Rothar points out that stepthrough bikes are useful and inclusive.
People with mobility and hip issues can get on them without pain. You can put a child seat at the back without running the risk of kicking your kid in the face. Emergency stops are easier if you feel nervous as a beginner – you can simply hop off the saddle and be on your two feet.
Cathy Coote, An Mheitheal Rothar, Galway Shopping Centre
Research shows that women tend to benefit more from higher cycling levels. Since women tend to take more care of childrens’ and older adults’ mobility in families, they gain more time if the children and older family members can take independent journeys by bike. Reducing the Mammy taxi service means women gain more time.
Kevin Nugent, owner of Ground & Co, is sponsoring the event and providing all participants with a complimentary coffee and cake or pastry.
Due to limited parking, more people are arriving by bicycle and the bike stands outside Ground & Co Salthilll have never been so busy. We’re delighted to support CycleCoffeeCake and sponsor this first-ever event.
Kevin Nugent, Ground & Co Salthill
CycleCoffeeCake follows similar inclusive cycle projects in Dublin and Wexford.
Dublin Monthly Cycles and Wexford’s Bikes & Brunch Huns say that combining cycling, coffee and cake is a wonderful way to spend a weekend morning – and help people feel more comfortable cycling around their hometowns.v
Best of luck to Galway this weekend. It’s such a laugh and I can’t even explain the pure joy of seeing people who were once scared of cycling on the roads head off with their new gang of gals around them – it’s just brilliant. Cycling, coffee, cakes, chats – what’s not to love?
Ruth O’Connor of Bikes & Brunch Huns, a project of Wexford Bike User Group (WEX-Bug)
For future events, Galway Cycling Campaign is keen to hear from people for ideas for routes and suggestions for local cafés with bike parking.
Due to government restrictions, the group will be limited to a maximum of 15 people. Register here.
You don’t need to be a member to join us for CycleCoffeeCake – join us to get involved with our projects and activities and be part of a community working together for a safer, happier and healthier Galway.
As part of the Change Our Streets initiative, we are hoping to gather as many suggestions as possible from people looking to make changes to Galway City to make 2m social distancing easier, safer and nicer in Residential, Recreational, and Retail areas.
Please fill out the following form if you would like to see some specific changes…
Cycling advocates have written an Open Letter to Galway City Council offering ideas to begin a creative conversation to ‘Change Our Streets’ to quickly and cheaply make public spaces safer for all ages and abilities for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
Nearly 200 organisations and individuals have co-signed the Open Letter, including Galway Chamber, Westend Traders, hospital consultants, Engineers Ireland west region, Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland west region, and residents associations. All five Galway West TDs have co-signed the Open Letter, as well as councillors and Senators.
This broad city-wide alliance, led by Galway Cycling Campaign, suggests many ways Galway City can be inspired by Milan’s Open Street scheme, where 35 km of road space will be reallocated to people walking and cycling. In addition, the city at the heart of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak will cut the speed limit to 30 km/h to reduce risk of road traffic collisions and make public spaces more pleasant for people walking.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the most significant public health threat many of us will experience. The advocates for cycling point out that many local authorities have already taken action, such as the installation of a new contra-flow cycling lane in Dublin’s Nassau Street, car-free zones by Fingal County Council, and the pedestrianisation of Cork’s Marina.
Kevin Jennings, chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign outlined,
“In the absence of a vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19, city life will only begin to thrive again if people feel safe to keep social distance. This is important for cocooners going for a stroll, parents with buggies, walking to the pharmacy, and anyone queuing for a coffee or outside a local shop. There is a narrow window of opportunity to ‘Change Our Streets’ while motorised traffic is at a lifetime low. We have high hopes for the ambition and action of Galway City.”
Molly Byrne, Professor of Psychology at NUI Galway, and member of the COVID-19 National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) Behavioural Change Subgroup said,
“People’s environments need to enable them to change their behaviours to adhere to social distancing in the months ahead. Urban design is critical to this. Choices that the City Council makes can encourage these new behaviours we need to adapt in order to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Reallocating road space to people walking and cycling and reducing speed limits during the coronavirus pandemic are quick and cheap ways that Galway city can help keep people in good physical and mental health.”
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign added,
“We have a unique opportunity to pilot new street arrangements, widen footpaths, and install temporary cycle lanes. These can be quick and cheap to do by using cones and planters. About 5,000 people use public transport in Galway. With the capacity less than 25% due to social distancing requirements, nearly 4,000 people will need an alternative way to move about the city. With almost 600,000 people on COVID-19 unemployment benefit, the humble bicycle offers an affordable transport option to many who may never have considered it since childhood. Together, we can trial low-cost car-free ideas that have worked elsewhere and ‘Change Our Streets’ in the city centre and residential areas for the duration of the pandemic.”
Galway’s streets and roads are witnessing more small children learning to cycle and families cycling together for exercise and fun. Looking to the future and returning to school in September, Eric Heneghan, age 7, a pupil of St Patrick’s Primary School, said, “I’d like to have a safe cycle path from the Coolough Road, Menlo, so my sisters and I can cycle to school in the city.”
Commenting on reduced road congestion, Dr Brian McNicholl, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Galway University Hospital (GUH), said,
“We have seen a significant drop in car crash attendances at the Emergency Department at GUH as there are less cars on the road. Cycling reduces the risk of interpersonal transmission of COVID-19 in cars and public transport. In the long term it reduces risk of heart attack, cancer and stroke.”
Racing cyclist Paralympian, World Champion medallist, and civil engineer Eoghan Clifford added that ‘Change Our Streets’ will have significant benefits for people with disabilities, mobility issues, and older people.
“Poor transport and urban planning limits people with disabilities significantly. While still fit and able to walk with aids, I make decisions on moving around the city based on trying to avoid poor or narrow footpaths which can cause – have caused – me to fall or lose balance. I know of someone who needs to use an electric wheelchair and is frequently pushed onto the roads by cars parked on footpaths”.
Restaurants, cafés, and bars have already called for more car-free areas. Jp Mcmahon of ANIAR Restaurant and Tartare Café and Wine Bar, said,
“Restaurants, cafés and bars need more street space so people can ‘eat-on-the street’ and enjoy outdoor dining this summer while social distancing. Making more space to help restaurants and cafes to survive is paramount if we are to get through this pandemic together.”
Galway Cycling Campaign is a voluntary group which represents cyclists in Galway. We promote cycling as a common and accessible form of transport with the goal of creating a more liveable Galway for everyone.