Cyclists set out their political demands ahead of General Election 2016

27th January 2016
Press Release

Press Release from Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, Dublin Cycling Campaign and An Taisce

Bicycle users from all around Ireland have called on all political parties to prioritise everyday cycling in both transport and public health policies as they finalise their political manifestos.

Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network (www.cyclist.ie) maintains that the normalisation of everyday cycling will address several key high level aims in achieving a fairer society, a better functioning economy and dealing meaningfully with the ever increasing CO₂ emissions from Ireland’s transport sector.

We note that:

  • 26% of 9 year olds in Ireland are overweight or obese. Note [1].
  • Transport accounted for 19.5% of Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in 2014. Note [2]
  • #COP21 is a game changer – we need radical reductions in CO₂ emissions from the Irish transport sector!

Our vision is for everyday cycling to be normal part of life for all ages and abilities (the ‘8 to 80’ cohort as it is sometimes put) – very similar to the ways it is in many northern European countries. We want all political parties to commit to these two overarching aims:

  • Allocate at least 10% of transport funding to cycling. Note [3].
  • Implement in full the National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF, 2009). Note [4].

Additionally and more specifically, we must:

  • Achieve at least 10% of all journeys by bike by 2020. It is currently only approx. 2% at national level and 8% within Dublin City (CSO, 2012).
  • Appoint a National Cycling Officer in the Dept of Transport. This is a crucial step in being able to implement the NCPF effectively.
  • Make 30km/h the default urban speed limit. Graz in Austria was the first city in Europe that introduced a city wide 30 kph zone. Around 800 km’s of a total 1000 km’s of city streets have been calmed. After the first 6 months there was a 24% reduction in serious accidents. Note [5].
  • Introduce a legally enforced 1.5-metre gap for overtaking cyclists. Note [6]
  • Provide for contra-flow cycling on one-way streets. This improves the ‘permeability’ of cities for cyclists. Note [7].
  • Retrofit the top 50 most dangerous junctions in Ireland. Note [8].
  • Fund high quality cycle infrastructure and cycle-friendly schemes. For example, schemes with design quality that enables people of all ages and abilities to make their journeys by bikes. The new National Cycle Manual (Note [9]) is a step in the right direction here.
  • Upskill An Garda Síochána to understand cycling so as to address (1) dangerous overtaking (2) illegal parking in cycle tracks. Note[10].
  • Introduce compulsory certificate of professional competence (CPC) for all taxi/hackney drivers by end of 2017. This is currently mandatory for bus drivers who share their buses with bicycles in bus lanes.
  • Provide mandatory cycle training in all primary and secondary schools.

In Summary

Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, the National Cycling Coordinator for Cyclist.ie, stated:

" while Ireland has had a sophisticated National Cycle Policy since 2009, the implementation of it over the last 7 years has been piece-meal at best. We need to recognise that many northern European countries with high standards of living have put the bicycle at the centre of the public health and mobility policies, and now they are benefitting from far lower levels of congestion, lower C02 emissions and a far healthier population which saves their taxpayers countless billions of Euro in health care costs."

Dr. Ó Tuama has asked that

“over the coming weeks, when election candidates will be knocking on doors, please explain why everyday cycling makes so much sense and why we need a national cycling officer in the Department of Transport to oversee the implementation of the NCPF”.

ENDS

For further information, please call:
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 241 1995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

Image: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxEVOTzgFnKEb044Qlk1al9GaEE/view?usp=sharing

Notes:

  1. http://www.growingup.ie/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/Second_Child_Cohort_Reports/Growing_Up_in_Ireland_-_Overweight_and_Obesity_Among_9-Year-Olds_Executive_Summary.pdf
  2. http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/air/airemissions/GHG_1990-2014_Provisional_11122015.pdf
  3. It is currently below 1% and the Capital Programme for 2016-2021 commits to just €100M for Active Travel out of €10,000M for transport projects – see page 21-25 of http://www.per.gov.ie/en/building-on-recovery-infrastructure-and-capital-investment-2016-2021-statement-of-the-minister-for-public-expenditure-and-reform-mr-brendan-howlin-t-d-on-29-september-2015/
  4. http://www.smartertravel.ie/content/national-cycle-policy
  5. http://en.30kmh.eu/2013/04/22/the-power-of-30k-speed-limit/
  6. http://www.safecyclingireland.org/stayin-alive-at-1-5/
  7. https://ec.europa.eu/energy/intelligent/projects/sites/iee-projects/files/projects/documents/presto_fact_sheet_contra_flow_cycling_en.pdf
  8. For a list of such junctions in Dublin, see our submission to Dublin City Council: http://www.dublincycling.ie/cycling/10worst
  9. http://www.cyclemanual.ie
  10. http://www.dublincycling.ie/cycling/illegal-parking-cycle-lanes-freethecyclelanes-campaign