10% of Land Transport Budget – #Allocate4Cycling

budget submission_Twitter Photo

Cyclist.ie members, including Maynooth Cycling Campaign, have put together a strong budget submission addressed to Minister for Finance & Public Expenditure Paschal Donohue, outlining the deficiency in government funding supports to enable cycling to grow. Essentially we are calling for an immediate 10% of Land Transport Funding to be allocated to Cycling, to enable the government to meet its own target of 10% of modal share by cycling by 2020. Currently the modal share stands at only approximately 3% of trips by bike, and funding levels are at approximately 2% of Land Transport Funding!

The Cyclist.ie submission points out that the appropriate funding for cycling aligns with numerous government policies and initiatives across a variety of sectors such as Transport, Environment, Climate Change, Health, Business, and Education. Cycling, as a mode of transport, offers numerous well documented benefits to society, including:

  • Improved public health
  • Reduced congestion
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduced air and noise pollution
  • More liveable and sociable streets and communities, and
  • High rates of economic return

Unlocking these benefits requires targeted and sustained investment, and international evidence demonstrates that investing in cycling provides excellent value for money.

From available data we estimate that spending on cycling currently only amounts to approximately 2% of Transport capital spending. This compares to recommended targets of 10% for cycling, and present European levels of between 5% and 8%. This very low proportion is not commensurate with the benefits offered by cycling, or with the significant economic costs which car dependence imposes on Irish society. To encourage people to make more journeys by bicycle;

We call for 10% of the capital budget for land transport to be invested in cycling.

At the same time, an increase in current spending on a range of different objectives which can support a transition to a cycling friendly society is also required.

The full budget submission is available here and a short summary document here. We need YOU to contact your local representatives and make the case to increase funding for cycling. See https://www.whoismytd.com/ for the names and contact details of your local TDs.

IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN NOW!

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MAYNOOTH CYCLING CAMPAIGN NOTES – SEPTEMBER 2018

Amendment No. 1 to Maynooth LAP

Maynooth Cycling Campaign supports Amendment No. 1 to Local Area Plan as it will allow for development of the ring road between the Celbridge and the Dublin Roads and facilitate the development of housing which is badly needed by many families. However, we made a number of points in a submission, two of which  may not be universally supported.

One was in relation to ‘decoupling’ of the modes which in plain English means increasing the safety of vulnerable road users  on the Straffan Road by diverting motorised traffic onto the Ring Road. It would also have the effect of improving Main Street by reducing motorised traffic and creating a more pleasant environment there for pedestrians and cyclists. Such traffic management has been part of the road safety strategy in the Netherlands since the 1970s.

The second point was that Maynooth Cycling Campaign strongly supported the  proposed permeable walking and cycling links between the Railpark area and the existing Rockfield and Parklands residential estates. Streets were historically developed which would allow direct routes for pedestrians. The proposed permeable  links complement the existing links of estates in Maynooth such as Parklands/Rockfield and Kingsbry/Beaufield. Maynooth is fortunate as many estates elsewhere in Kildare are completely segregated from one another as a result of pro-car layouts ie cul-de-sacs.

Dublin CyclingWorks

Last year, there was protests by some small business owners about the reallocation of road space from car parking  to the provision of cycling facilities in Naas town centre. Co-incidentally, the Dublin CyclingWorks website (https://dublin.cyclingworks.org/) was recently set up so that so that business leaders could show their support for the provision of high quality cycling infrastructure by calling for greater government investment in the Greater Dublin Cycle Network which includes Kildare. To date more than fifty businesses have come out in support including Trinity College Dublin, Dublin Institute of Technology, Goodbody, Workday, Siemens, CRBE, CPE and Dublin Chamber.  This was to reinforce the message that cycling is good for business and that most businesses, large and small, support increased cycling.

Velo-City 2019

Velo-City 2018 which took place in Rio de Janeiro is over. Next year the international bike conference is coming back to Ireland . Planning has already started and the organisers of Velo-City 2019, the European Cycling Federation and Dublin City Council, has issued a call for submissions on the theme of Cycling for the Ages by October 22nd. So if anyone has ideas about promoting cycling, more information is available at https://www.velo-city2019.com/abstract .

Climate Change

The Climate Change Advisory Council’s (CCAC) Annual Report 2018 was published at the end of July. The CCAC’s role is to advise the government rather than to specify detailed policy decisions but there was explicit mention of the contribution of increased cycling to reduce the effects of climate change. Chairperson John Fitzgerald speaking at the launch of the report said -“Emissions are rising…we need major policy changes…government has not laid out pathways to decarbonise.”

Maynooth Cycling Campaign is a non-party political cycling advocacy group. Further information on meetings and activities is available on our website.

We are affiliated to Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cyclist Advocacy Network and through it to the European Cycling Federation.

 

MAYNOOTH CYCLING CAMPAIGN NOTES – AUGUST 2018

ANOTHER KILDARE CYCLIST FATALITY

Another cycling fatality has occurred in Kildare with the recent death of 16 year old  Shane Duggan near Straffan. Our thoughts are with his family at this tragic time.

It is a matter of anger to cyclists that even before a fatal accident investigation has been completed, sloppy journalists continue to report such events as a bike/cyclist colliding with a car.  To give them their due, the Leinster Leader correctly reported it as the cyclist being involved in a collision with a car. It is only a minor point but the former subtly suggests that the cyclist is at fault whereas several studies in various countries have found that driver error is to blame in most cases. The report of a collision also refer to a car  as if the car driver is not a party to the collision. Even more insensitive, reports also regularly state that the driver of the car was unhurt which is hardly news in the case of a collision between a car and a cyclist.

MINISTER OPENS MAYNOOTH “CYCLE’ LINK

On Monday 2nd July, Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport came to Kildare to open the “Maynooth Harbour Cycle Link”. After the opening ceremony, some of us had the opportunity for a short discussion with the Minister. We raised the issues of increased funding, MPDL and compulsory use of cycle lanes. The Minister felt that cyclists didn’t appreciate the efforts he has been making on our behalf and that the 10% funding for cycling was   so at least he is aware of our goal. He also informed us that the legislation on the compulsory use of cycle lanes had not yet been prepared.

The part between Maynooth and Athlone is now largely complete except for two short stretches in Kildare which will be completed before the end of 2018 and the final stretch in County Meath which will be completed in the spring of 2019. This will form part of the Euro-Velo Capitals Route (EV2) which runs all the way from Moscow to Dublin, a distance of some 5,500km.

There were few bicycles at the opening  – most belonged to Cyclist.ie members. A bicycle did appear for the ribbon cutting ceremony but quickly disappeared afterwards. Despite the lovely weather, the official party did not see fit to actually walk or cycle the greenway. Once again a case of “Do As I Say And Not As I Do”.

REMOVAL OF CYCLE FACILITIES MAIN STREET

Work on removing off-road cycle facilities on Main Street is due to begin in August with the Council dismissing concerns of councillors. At the time of the Part 8 Public Consultation, a number of the councillors expressed concerned at the impact on children cycling to Presentation Girls School and on cyclists accessing premises on Main Street. Instead all cyclists are expected to “share the road”. Unfortunately, most people refuse to cycle on roads with traffic levels in excess of 2000 vehicles per day. As Main Street has about 10 times this volume of traffic and there is less space for cycling on the road with so much motorised vehicles, many cyclists will continue to cycle off road. The view of Maynooth Cycling is that the existing facilities are substandard and not continuous. instead of removing cycle facilities, Kildare County Council should upgrade them.

Maynooth Cycling Campaign is a non-party political cycling advocacy group. Further information on meetings and activities is available on our website.

We are affiliated to Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cyclist Advocacy Network and through it to the European Cycling Federation.

MAYNOOTH CYCLING CAMPAIGN NOTES JULY 2018

Bikeweek 2018

The Tour of the Dead to historic graveyards around Maynooth took place on a day with almost perfect weather and we had a lovely cycle to Laraghbryan, Ladychapel and Taghadoe. We were delighted to have the opportunity to show the film Why We Cycle about the Dutch cycling culture and appreciated the attendance of Maynooth MD councillors Padraig McEvoy (Ind), Teresa Murray (Ind) and Tim Durkan (FG) but the general attendance was disappointing. On Bike to Work Day, we gave out chocolates to cyclists on their way to work. We were also involved in organising prizes for a number of the Maynooth primary schools. Some had taken part in a Biodiversity Visit to the Royal Canal with Karen Moore. Presentation Girls school deserves special mention for the way that the school was decorated with fantastic paintings and drawings for Bikeweek. The second weekend saw the Family Cycle to Kilcock with nearly 40 cyclists, young and old, cycling along the Royal Canal Greenway. At Kilcock the children, some young and some not so young, were rewarded with an ice cream. So that was Bikeweek 2018. Roll on next year!

Statement on Cycling from Garda Assistant Commissioner

A less enjoyable aspect of Bikeweek was the disappointing comments on cyclists and cycling from Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan of the Garda National Roads Policing Division. In a statement, he described cycling as a ‘pastime’ and went on to state that cyclists should have brakes, tyres and chain. For everyday cyclists, cycling is not a pastime – it is a mode of transport and it is doubtful that many cyclists take a bike out without tyres or a chain! The Assistant Commissioner also stated that cyclists should never cycle more than two abreast which demonstrates an ignorance of the Road Traffic legislation as it is not illegal to cycle three abreast. If a senior Garda officer has such a distorted view of cycling, it is hardly surprising that the Gardaí fail to prosecute drivers who park on cycle lanes and who endanger cyclists.

Royal Canal Greenway/EuroVelo Route 2

On 2nd July, Shane Ross, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport will be coming to Maynooth to open a section of the Royal Canal/Eurovelo Route 2 between Maynooth and the Westmeath border – another piece of the jig-saw puzzle between Moscow and Galway. Cyclists will then be able to cycle all the way from Maynooth to Athlone. You can find out progress on the rest of the route at http://www.eurovelo.com/en/eurovelos/eurovelo-2 .

On the same day, the Glenroyal Hotel will host a Capacity Building Workshop to explore the opportunities in developing trails on and along the Royal Canal. It promises to be a bright future for north Kildare.

Climate Change

Another report pointed out the failure of government to live up to Irish commitments on reduction of greenhouse gases. In a ranking of EU countries’ ambition and progress in fighting climate change by Climate Action Network (CAN), Ireland was ranked 27th out of 28.

Niamh Garvey, head of policy and advocacy with Trócaire (which is a member of CAN), commented “This report reaffirms what we know, that political leadership is urgently needed to turn Ireland’s record around on climate change”.

Vulnerable Road Users and Anti-Cyclist Bias

The vulnerability of pedestrians and cyclists on Irish roads and the ‘normality’ of road fatalities was once again demonstrated. In a recent week, nine people were killed including three pedestrians, two of which were hit and run collisions. On The Journal twitter account, eight news reports about the fatal crashes generated 65 comments. However, one article on cyclists generated 272 comments.

Kildare Gardai on Two Wheels

Hopefully, it wasn’t just the good weather, but a member of the Gardaí has been recently seen cycling around Maynooth which is welcomed by Maynooth Cycling Campaign. It is proposed that more Gardai will be taking to the streets across Kildare on bike patrol.

Finally Good News on Infrastructure

Finally some good news on cycling infrastructure but not in Kildare. Due to increasing congestion in Dublin City, the National Transport Authority has announced major plans to improve bus services and at the same time to introduce the next generation network of cycling facilities in the capital. In time, this will lead to higher quality cycle infrastructure in Kildare – hopefully sooner rather than later.

And more good news – after their original design met with scathing criticism, consultants for Dublin City have redesigned the Clontarf-Amiens cycle corridor and the revised scheme has been warmly welcomed by cyclist representatives.

Maynooth Cycling Campaign is a non-party political cycling advocacy group. Further information on meetings and activities is available on our website.
We are affiliated to Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cyclist Advocacy Network and through it to the European Cycling Federation.

MAYNOOTH CYCLING CAMPAIGN NOTES JUNE 2018

BIKEWEEK 2018

This year Bikeweek runs from 9th to 17th June and once again Maynooth  Cycling Campaign has organised a number of events to mark the occasion. On June 10th our historic cycle is the Tour of the Dead – visiting a number of the historic graveyards surrounding Maynooth. On Sunday 17th, the Family Cycle will be to Kilcock on the new Royal Canal Greenway. Both events start at 2:30pm from Maynooth Harbour. Wednesday 13th June is Bike to Work/Bike to School Day and we urge everyone to get on two wheels or even three.  Tuesday 12th June is a special occasion as we will be showing the Kildare film premiere of WHY WE CYCLE in the Glenroyal Hotel at 8:00pm (see below).

 

WHY WE CYCLE – KILDARE FILM PREMIERE

To the Dutch, cycling is as normal as breathing. They don’t think about it, they just do it. The documentary ‘Why we cycle’ features professionals from a variety of disciplines and ordinary cyclists. The film reveals some obvious as well as hidden effects of cycling on people, society and communities and shows the potential transformation of prioritising people over cars. It presents a vision for a healthy and active town which Maynooth could emulate and complements the ongoing Maynooth Health Checks.

KILDARE CYCLING OFFICER

Kildare County Council is in the process of employing  a new road safety/cycling officer. The post requires the successful candidate  to be able to drive – but not to be able to cycle which says a lot about the position of cycling in the Council.

I BIKE DUBLIN

Cyclists are angry in Ireland and in other countries – not just with increasing fatalities but also with poor quality infrastructure and lack of enforcement of parking legislation. I BIKE DUBLIN was set up to take direct action to protect cyclists. They do this simply by standing along the white line at the edge of the cycle lane to stop encroachment by cars. Prominent locations where they have taken this action in Dublin include St. Andrews Street in Dublin city centre and Ranelagh and follows similar protests in the UK, the USA and France.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change hasn’t gone away you know! We were reminded of this recently when the former head of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy warned that failure to achieve targets in the period up to 2020 are “a ticking exchequer time bomb”.

Furthermore, at a recent Irish wind energy conference, it was pointed out that if Ireland fails to meet climate change targets, the choice will be between multimillion euro fines or sending taxpayers’ money abroad to purchase emissions and/or renewables rights from 2020.

WORLD BICYCLE DAY 3rd JUNE

Finally, don’t forget that the 3rd June has been nominated by the UN as World Bicycle Day. So celebrate the occasion by getting out for a spin.

This is against a backdrop of even more authorities realising that additional cars in urban areas is bad. Last month, Los Angeles decided against adding lanes to a freeway, an unexpected move in a city that has mistakenly thought for years that more lanes mean fewer traffic jams. Despite expenditure of $1.6 billion on the expansion of Interstate 405 in Los Angeles and $2.8 billion on expansion of Interstate 10 in Houston to 26 lanes, the difference in travel times has been marginal.  In Germany, the highest court ruled that diesel cars could be banned from city centres to clean up the air. Meanwhile in Ireland, a decision by councillors in South East Dublin against a quietway show that Ireland is once again  lagging behind.

Maynooth Cycling Campaign is a non-party political cycling advocacy group. Further information on meetings and activities is available on our website.

We are affiliated to Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cyclist Advocacy Network and through it to the European Cycling Federation.

Bikeweek 2018

This year Bikeweek runs from 9th to 17th June and once again Maynooth  Cycling Campaign has organised a number of events to mark the occasion. On June 10th our historic cycle is the Tour of the Dead – visiting a number of the historic graveyards surrounding Maynooth. On Sunday 17th, the Family Cycle will be to Kilcock on the new Royal Canal Greenway. Both events start at 2:30pm from Maynooth Harbour. Wednesday 13th June is Bike to Work/Bike to School Day and we urge everyone to get on two wheels or even three.  Tuesday 12th June is a special occasion as we will be showing the Kildare film premiere of WHY WE CYCLE in the Glenroyal Hotel at 8:00pm (see below).

 

WHY WE CYCLE – KILDARE FILM PREMIERE

To the Dutch, cycling is as normal as breathing. They don’t think about it, they just do it. The documentary ‘Why we cycle’ features professionals from a variety of disciplines and ordinary cyclists. The film reveals some obvious as well as hidden effects of cycling on people, society and communities and shows the potential transformation of prioritising people over cars. It presents a vision for a healthy and active town which Maynooth could emulate and complements the ongoing Maynooth Health Checks.

 

Programme of Events

The full programme is available Programme 2018

How to Create Conflict between Walkers and Cyclists

In a recent episode of Tracks and Trails on RTE, Aobhinn Garrihy and John Burke walked part of the Wicklow Way which was established by JB Malone in the late 1970s.

At one point they were looking at a map and realised that the way for walkers was segregated from the way for mountain bikers. John Burke remarked that keeping them apart was “great’ as he was sure “the bikers and walkers do not want to meet”.

The commentator then remarked that in that area, bikers and walkers were kept apart “for safety reasons”.  Further on Robin Seymour, the Irish international mountain biker, stated that there “probably was a lot of conflict before designated spaces”.

I do not know when it was decided to segregate the two but it is amazing that three ‘ordinary’ people recognise that mixing walkers and cyclists together give rise to conflict. In contrast organisations such as local authorities and Waterways Ireland which are responsible for the provision of cycle infrastructure see nothing wrong with force high levels of walkers and cyclists together on narrow footways and towpaths. This use of shared paths follows UK practice dating from the 1980s at a time when cycling was viewed as a child’s pastime – one that they would grow out of in adulthood when they would buy a car.  In Ireland we have chosen to follow the practice of the major European country with the worst modal share for cycling and where the modal share for cycling nationally is unchanged since 2000 rather than countries which enable high levels of cycling. It is hardly surprising then that levels of cycling nationally in Ireland remain low. In the Netherland and Denmark, the authorities recognise that walking and cycling are different modes and require their own space. We should emulate them.

MAYNOOTH CYCLING CAMPAIGN NOTES – May 2018

Get Ireland Cycling Strategy Meeting

On March 6th, Sport Ireland held a strategy meeting on Get Ireland Cycling. Although, organised by Sport Ireland, the meeting was about everyday cycling rather than cycling as a sport. It was attended by senior officials from Healthy Ireland and the Departments of Health and Transport along with Road Authorities, Local Sports Partnerships and members of An Garda Siochana which shows that cycling/bicycling is moving up the Irish political agenda.

The keynote speaker was Angela van der Kloof, a Dutch consultant who is familiar with Ireland and is a Cycling Expert with the Dutch Cycling Embassy. She said “ ….unless you have a coherent network of segregated cycle tracks/path criss-crossing urban areas you will not get more people cycling” and in relation to the lack of children cycling in Ireland, she emphasised that  “Children are precious and must be protected from fast traffic”.  We would concur with these views. Maynooth needs a network of cycle facilities not a corridor.

World Bicycle Day  – June 3rd

Bicycles continue to move up the political agenda worldwide also. The United Nations has declared June 3rd as International World Bicycle Day, by adopting a resolution to that effect on April 12th 2018, during the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly, in New York.

The resolution was adopted by a consensus of 193 member states. The declaration invites all Member States and relevant stakeholders to celebrate and promote awareness of the World Bicycle Day. The declaration encourages Member States to devote particular attention to the bicycle in cross-cutting development strategies and to include the bicycle in international, regional, national and local development policies and programmes. The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) welcomed this resolution with the  Secretary General Dr. Bernhard Ensink stating “Cycling is a source for social, economic and environmental benefits – and it is bringing people together. This UN declaration is an acknowledgment of the contribution of cycling to 12 of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs)”.

Climate Change

On  the subject of sustainability, air pollution in Ireland is deteriorating at an alarming rate, according to the latest ‘Air Pollutant Emissions’ 2016 published by the EPA.

Nitrogen oxides,  is one of a number of extremely dangerous classes of air pollutants, which exceeded EU safe limits in 2016. Transport (41%) and agriculture (29.6%) were the largest Irish sources. Health impacts of nitrogen oxides include diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

Meeting of Maynooth Planning Alliance

There was discussion about planning issues at the public meeting  of the Maynooth Planning Alliance in April. Most of the discussions centred on traffic congestion with several drivers complaining about delays due to other people in cars. The elephant in the room (which was not mentioned) is that there are too many cars used too often and that new roads generate more traffic. All political parties, all governments since the 1990s and county councils are in favour of sustainable and active modes of travel.

Maynooth Cycling Campaign is a non-party political cycling advocacy group. Further information on meetings and activities is available on our website.

We are affiliated to Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cyclist Advocacy Network and through it to the European Cycling Federation.

Government & RSA Blind to 73% Increase in Cyclist Fatalities


There has been outrage among cyclists at the number of cyclist fatalities  in 2017 – fifteen according to the Gardaí and sixteen according to others. While the Gardaí may debate whether one was a pedestrian or a cyclist, the facts are that last year 16 cyclists left home never to return alive.

Analysis of cyclist fatalities is usually based on a 12 month period. However, this gives rise to a number of ‘spikes’  because of the relative low level of fatalities. A more useful  analysis – one that reduces the effect of spikes and reveals trends more clearly – comes from using a three year average calculated from the year before, the year in question and the year after. Figure 1, which was calculated in January 2017, shows the 1 Year Average and 3 Year Average Cyclist Fatalities for the period 1996 to 2016.  The 3 Year Analysis  shows that since 2010 there has been an increase in cyclist fatalities with the increase appearing to have eased slightly at the end of 2016. Note that the figure for 2016 was averaged over two years (2015 and 2016) as it was estimated in January 2017.

Fig1

Figure 1:              1 Year and 3 Year Average Cyclist Fatalities 1996-2016 (Jan 2017)

In December 2017, the figure for 2016 was recalculated to include the 2017 cyclist deaths and an additional year 2017 was included by again averaging the fatalities over the last two years (2016 and 2017).

Fat3

Table 1:              1 Year and 3 Year Average Cyclist Fatalities 2007 (Dec 2017)

Figure 2 below shows the revised graph which was derived in part from the table above.  As stated above, the 3 Year Average for the final entry (2017) was calculated over two years 2016 and 2017.

Fig2

Figure 2:           1 Year and 3 Year Average Cyclist Fatalities 1996-2017 (Dec 2017)

The real scandal of increasing cyclist deaths is not the spike in the first half of 2017 but the  upward annual trend from 7.0 fatalities in 2010 to 12.5 fatalities in 2017 – an increase of more than 78% –  which has gone unnoticed by both the government and the RSA. This equates to an annual increase of some 8% each year for 7 straight years.

In 2017 some of the fatalities were recreational cyclists – others were utility cyclists. Some accidents occurred in urban areas while others occurred in rural areas. Many commentators have remarked that there is no pattern to the deaths but this is not the case.  Table 2 below lists the 2017 fatalities and the type of road on which the fatal collision occurred.

Table 2:                List of Cyclist Fatalities 2017 and Road Type

All the fatal accidents involved at least one other vehicle. Excluding Paul Hannon who was technically a pedestrian as he had dismounted from his bike at the time of the accident, eleven of the remaining 15 cyclists were either on national, regional  or city arterial roads. Thus, over 73% of fatalities happened on roads with high levels of traffic and/or high speeds – roads on which segregated cycle facilities would be provided in other countries as a matter of course but not in Ireland.

There are three main areas through which cyclist safety can be improved:

  • High quality infrastructure
  • Enforcement
  • Promotion/advertising

Infrastructure is the most capital intensive area and can take a significant period of time to show change at a national level. With government expenditure on cycling at €2.5 per head per annum, little high quality infrastructure and with no commitment to radical change, it is apparent that the government is prepared to settle for an “acceptable” level of cyclist deaths. The number of fatalities may spike somewhat from year to year (as in 2017) but with the levels of utility cycling virtually stagnant[1], the number of fatalities is unlikely to increase significantly enough to force change.

Enforcement of legislation is a matter for the Garda Siochana. The inadequacy of the Gardaí response to drink driving has received a lot of publicity and has still to be satisfactorily  resolved. Looking at international practice, the work of the West Midland police and their Close Pass Operation which led to a 20% decrease in the number of cyclist killed and seriously injured has been widely praised by cyclists advocacy groups. It is a good example of police enforcement and should be a model for the Gardaí to follow.

Infrastructure and enforcement are the two most effective areas and the areas on which the Irish government should focus. The third area – promotion (advertising) – is the least effective but involves little funding so, needless to say, it is the area where the Irish government concentrates its efforts. Everyone is aware of road safety and no motorists (or very few) go out with the deliberate intention of killing another road user. However, people are human and make mistakes.  To address fatalities, cyclists don’t need  empty gestures from the Gardaí/RSA such as Go Slow Days, pledges to go slow or EDWARD (European Day without a Road Fatality).  There is approximately one road fatality every second day in Ireland so there is a 50:50 chance of no fatality on 21st September. In 2016, EDWARD coincided with two fatalities in Donegal yet the Gardaí/RSA choose to repeat the exercise in 2017 and disappointingly the Dublin Cycling Campaign actually wanted to be associated with it. What is most depressing is that even in countries with high levels of cycling, it took a large number of dead cyclists – more than 100 of them children in a single year in the 1970s – to motivate Dutch politicians to take the matter seriously. The question is what is the threshold of dead cyclists for Irish politicians to take action? We know that in 2016 two child cyclists were killed including one going to school. This has had no impact on   politicians so obviously two is not enough.  For those who think that this is unfair on politicians, we are still awaiting a response from the body politic to the news from the EPA that air pollution in Ireland, principally caused by car traffic, causes 1200 premature deaths every year.

[1] Based on Census results, the level of commuter cycling in 2016 is at the level which previously occurred around the year 2000.

This article was amended to include the death of Pat Beakey whose fatality was omitted in the original. His inclusion increases the rise in fatalities since 2010 from 71% to 78% (ie from 7 to 12.5 instead of to 12).