Our grand finale to Bike Week 2020 is hosting MOTHERLOAD as a virtual community screening and covideo party. We’re delighted that director Liz Canning will join us for a Q&A on Zoom immediately afterward for a panel discussion with urban liveability and health experts.
This 86 minute documentary from the USA captures a new mother’s quest to understand the increasing isolation and disconnection of modern life, its planetary impact, and how cargo bikes could be an antidote. It won a Sundance Special Jury Prize in 2019.
Film maker Liz Canning cycled everywhere until her twins were born in 2008. Motherhood was challenging and hauling babies via car felt stifling. She googled ‘family bike’ and discovered people using cargo bikes: long-frame bicycles designed for carrying heavy loads. Liz set out to learn more, and MOTHERLOAD was born.
Decisions made by the European Commission and the UN have an impact on the road design and safety of our urban roads, residential streets, and bóithirín. Insights into the impact of the lockdown on road safety from across Europe will be discussed as well as ideas for how we deal with a transition out of it.
Lower speed limits and 30kmph zones are hot topics right now after recent public consultations in Galway and Dublin – and the UN.
Our guests from Europe will share how and why safe walking and cycling infrastructure and reducing speeds must be at the heart of our transport and mobility evolution.
Matthew Baldwin, the first European Coordinator for Road Safety and Sustainable Mobility. Deputy DG MOVE at European Commission
Ellen Townsend, Policy Director at the European Transport Safety Council
Rod King MBE, Founder and Campaign Director of 20’s Plenty for Us / Love30
“I’m delighted to be joining this webinar in Galway to chat about road safety, sustainable mobility and the importance of good infrastructure and speed management from the EU perspective.” – Matthew Baldwin, Deputy DG MOVE
“On behalf of ETSC, I hope I can share some of our insights into the impact of the lockdown on road safety from across Europe as well as our ideas for how we deal with a transition out of it. Investing in safe cycling and walking infrastructure and reducing speeds must be at the heart of this mobility evolution.” – Ellen Townsend, ETSC
“It’ll be great to talk. The General Assembly of the UN has just endorsed the concept of 30kmph being the default urban/ village speed limit. I am pleased to share how countries are setting 30kmph as a national default.” – Rod King MBE
The webinar will be recorded and shared on the Galway Cycling Campaign’s website and YouTube channel.
Please join us from 12.50 for a prompt 1pm start.
This webinar is aimed at local and national policymakers, place makers, political representatives, academics, people interested in liveable neighbourhoods, representatives from the business community, community groups, and representatives of the cycling community.
The conversation will identify local challenges and opportunities as well as demonstrating some practical examples from across Europe.
Guests can join in the conversation using the Chat and ask questions through the Q&A functions throughout the presentations.
There will be an opportunity for audience Q&A at the end of the session.
Galwegian and road engineer Conor Geraghty will be a guest speaker at a special online webinar tonight, Thursday 17 September, to discuss ‘The Art of the Possible: The Coastal Mobility Route’ with two of his colleagues from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, lead architect Bob Hannan and Robert Burns, Director of Services.
The Coastal Mobility Route in dlr connects the five south Dublin villages of Blackrock, Monkstown, Dún Laoghaire, Glasthule and Dalkey and has become an inspiration for many with the quality of its design and build.
The dlr council radically reimagined the five urban villages as havens for people walking, wheeling and cycling as they lacked space for people to queue while social distancing.
Now with wider footpaths and more on-street tables and chairs, people are coming to these places, lingering, and spending money in local businesses, cafés and restaurants in the town centres.
Last weekend, there was a 230% increase in people on bikes cycling along the coast at Dún Laoghaire compared to a similar weekend last year.
The Coastal Mobility Route has witnessed an increased diversity in the type of people using the two-way mobility route including motorised wheelchairs, families with cargo bikes, and other bicycles adapted for people with disabilities.
Conor Geraghty of Crestwood, Coolough Road, is the Technical Design Lead. A graduate of NUI Galway in mechanical engineering, he switched to civil engineering after a year in Australia. He has worked with dlr since January 2008.
Conor cycled to school everyday down the Dyke Road to St Patricks’ primary school in the city centre. As a student in the Bish, he made the journey four times daily, returning home each day for lunch.
As well as supporting business, a local primary school is also benefiting from the protected two-way mobility route. “Scoil Lorcáin is the school closest to the coastal route,” says Conor. “The school has more people cycling now than they can accommodate in their bike parking, which is a direct result of the route. Parents and grandparents collect their kids and grandchildren by bike. Lots of children aged 8, 9 and 10 years cycle independently along the route.”
Lead architect Bob Hannan will be familiar to Galway audiences as he was a special guest speaker at Architecture at the Edge in 2019, Galways’ annual weekend celebration of exceptional architecture in the West of Ireland.
Roscommon man Robert Burns is Director of Services in dlr. Previously, he was a senior engineer within that council, and prior to that was an engineer in Clare County Council. He is familiar with the challenges faced by urban and rural communities to provide better walking and active travel facilities.
Event organiser Síle Ginnane of Better Ennis is delighted that there’s interest from people in Galway in the event. “Everyone is welcome. Covid-19 has brought its many difficulties, yet webinars and the dlr Coastal Mobility Team show what’s possible in challenging times. We’re delighted that Conor’s fellow Tribes people are interested in attending. We hope that dlr can inspire communities along the west coast to develop attractive mobility routes and open up access to our towns and villages so they can thrive again.”
The webinar takes place at 8pm on Thursday 17 September at 8pm. This event will be of interest to people curious about healthy cities, urban design, active travel and creating liveable places.
Free tickets are available on EventBrite for the event ‘The Art of the Possible: The Coastal Mobility Route’ which is organised by Better Ennis.
Cycling Officers need to be quickly appointed to Galway City and County Councils according to the Galway Cycling Campaign, who has written to both councils seeking a timeline for the hiring process.
The Programme for Government emphasises expertise and quality in the €360 million annual cycling infrastructure spend. It promises to appoint a Cycling Officer to every local authority, a role which has yet undefined “real powers”.
The Cycling Officer in each council executive is to ensure that each local authority “adopts a high-quality cycling policy, carries out an assessment of their roads network and develops cycle network plans.”
Cécile Robin, deputy chairperson of the Galway Cycling Campaign, says that the Cycling Officer should be appointed at a senior level with the ability to oversee budgets and have authority to ensure local authorities implement national cycling policy and design guidance to the highest standard.
“Our Roads departments are filled with talented engineers. The Cycling Officers should have a complementary skillset, such as in urban geography, sociology or psychology. The council’s ambition should be to create liveable neighbourhoods that prioritise people who walk, use wheelchairs, cycle or scoot,” said Ms Robin.
The appointment is particularly urgent because the process for the new Galway City Development Plan begins in January.
“We need an expert in sustainable safety to be at the heart of developing our city,” said Ms Robin. “The 15-minute city is the ambition of Paris, where everything you need should be within a 15 minute walk or cycle of your front door such as local shops, cafés, schools, and even work. To paraphrase a great Irish sports commentator, neither France nor Paris are known as cycling strongholds.”
“Paris is adding another 650km of ‘corona cycleways’ to it’s 700km network to enable people to keep cycling after lockdown. Our city needs a senior decision maker within the council executive to champion active travel like walking, cycling and scooting from people’s front doors to wherever they need to go on a regular basis, like school, work, the GP, shops, and restaurants. We are already a cycling city, second only to Dublin in terms of people cycling to school and work.”
Cycling Officers are to work closely with new Regional Cycle Design Offices, as promised in the Programme for Government.
“The 2009 National Cycle Policy Framework, introduced when Fianna Fáil and the Greens were last in government, continues to have good guidelines for people-centred planning and sustainable development. It has ambitious national guidelines to enable cycling within urban and rural areas. This needs to be embedded within the new city development plan, and a Cycling Officer should have the power to do so,” concluded Ms Robin.
Locals have expressed concerns over proposals by Galway City Council to set a “crazy” 80kmph speed limit outside the gate of a Galway City primary school.
In the draft speed limit bye-laws, the council has designated all of Rahoon Road west of Clybaun Road as 80kmph, including the section outside the site of Scoil Naomh Sheosaimh primary school and naíonra in Boleybeg. This would make it the only school in Galway City with an 80kmph speed limit outside the school gate.
Neil O’Leary, parent of a child at the naíonra, said, “It’s crazy that Galway City Council would even consider making this section of road 80kmph. There are hundreds of children arriving at the school gates here every day. Yet the bicycle rack remains empty as parents choose to drive to school because it feels safer, and who could blame them? If a child is hit by a vehicle whizzing by at 80kmph, a socially distant funeral is all but guaranteed. At 30kmph, that same child has a 90% chance of surviving and returning to the playground.”
“I cycle my son to and from here most days and I know other parents would like to do the same, or walk with their kids, but don’t feel safe enough to do so. A lower speed limit would make for a much less hostile road environment, help attract more parents out of their cars and fill up the bike-rack at the school” said Mr O’Leary.
Public consultation on the proposed speed limit bye-laws is open until 16th September. Any concerns or proposals to Galway City Council can be made at http://bit.ly/galwaycityspeedlimits
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.