Ever since my first visit to the Netherlands in the summer of 2015, I have been obsessed with the use of red asphalt for cycle tracks (OK, the Dutch do design quite well generally).The main reasons are that using a coloured surface helps to provide visual priority in situations such as cycle tracks crossing side…
Since the results of the 2016 census were published, cyclist advocates and opposition politicians have often referred to the 43% increase in commuting to work by bike in order to highlight the potential of cycling. However, the same percentage has also been highlighted by Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin in order to ‘prove’ that their policies are working and that, as a result, no fundamental changes such as #Allocate4Cycling are required.
There are two problems with the ‘43% increase’. First, there are a further three categories of cyclists who broadly correspond to primary school pupils, secondary school pupils and students attending third level colleges. The increases in percentages for these are considerably less ranging from 10.5% to 25.2%.
|Category of Road User||No. of Cyclists
|No. of Cyclists 2016||% Increase In Numbers||Cyclists as % of Commuters|
|Children 5-12 years old||6,252||7,326||17.2%||1.5%|
|Children 13-18 year old||6,592||7,282||10.5%||2.3%|
|19 years or over at college||8,530||10,678||25.2%||5.8%|
|15 years or over at work||39,803||56,837||42.8%||3.3%|
While the number of cyclists commuting to work (as opposed to education) has increased, they still only make up 3.3% of overall commuters and even this figure is exaggerated due to the increase in population between 2011 and 2016.
The second problem with the figure of 43% is that it gives no indication that the percentages are coming off a very low base. If we had Danish levels of cycling, a 34% increase is significant– ie 34% of 19% is an increase in cyclist numbers of 6.3%. In Ireland’s case, however, a 34% increase is only 1% of the commuting population. As the target set out in the National Cycling Policy Framework is 10% , this is the benchmark we should use. Nationally, cycling is at a level of 3.0% which is the level it was at around the year 2000 so basically we have made no progress since then. Yes, the number of cyclists in Dublin and other cities has increased over that period but this is balanced by a decrease in cycling elsewhere. (This is the same as in the UK where London is an outlier compared to the rest of the country although Manchester and a number of other cities are beginning to get their act together.)
There is a similar weakness in the analysis of cyclist fatalities on a year to year basis. With a 50% increase in 2017, it was virtually certain that the number of cyclist deaths would be less in 2018. Sure enough, when the final figures came out, the RSA reported that there was a reduction in cyclist fatalities. No news there! What this overlooks is that taking a 3 year average, the low point for the number of cyclist fatalities was in 2011. Since then it has either increased or remained the same for each of the last 7 years.
We are at a critical time when cycling is moving up the political spectrum. #Allocate4Cycling – significantly more funding, reallocation of road space and higher standards are essential components of this campaign. We shouldn’t undermine it by accepting the spin by government of the Census results or of focusing on fatalities on an annual basis. Instead we should reference progress towards the NCPF target and the trend of cyclist fatalities.
The Department of Transport Tourism and Sport (DTTaS) and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) can rightly claim responsibility for the large decrease in road fatalities over the last thirty years. However, in claiming a reduction in road fatalities in 2018, they are blind to the trend of increasing cyclist fatalities since 2011 and by failing to properly allocate for safer cycling, the DTTaS perpetuates a road and traffic environment where cyclist safety is secondary.
The DTTaS and the RSA are very concerned about the number of fatalities on Irish roads. At the end of each year, they respond to the annual number of fatalities and welcome the results if the number goes down and lament if the number goes up. Their benchmark for success or failure of road safety policy is annual number of fatalities relative to the previous year. This is a good yardstick when the numbers involved are relatively large. When the number is relatively small, as in cyclist fatalities, the total for consecutive years can vary widely.
If, however, the number of fatalities is averaged over three years the effect of large swings is reduced and longer term trends are discernible. Analysis using a three year average shows that cyclist fatalities were at a low point in 2011 but have since risen significantly – more than 50%, albeit over seven years. Other countries which have significantly increased the level of cycling, have done so while simultaneously reducing the number of fatalities.
Colm Ryder, Chair of Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, states “The increasing level of cyclist fatalities in Ireland is unacceptable. To address this as a matter of urgency, the DTTaS must begin to properly allocate for cycling”.
The DTTaS currently spends less than 2% of its transport capital budget on cycling. To maximise the contribution of cycling to reducing carbon emissions and increase health and environmental outcomes, the Minister must increase expenditure to 10% of the Land Transport capital budget, and not to 10% of the Public Transport budget as recently announced. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reported that the next twelve years are critical to prevent global warming beyond 1.5o. The clock is ticking ……..
For Attached Graph and Table, see below
Reference: RSA/Garda Siochana, Provisional Review of Fatal Collisions January to 31 December 2018 pdf
The following press release appeared in the Examiner on 21st December.
The Government’s recently published Annual Transition Statement 2018 has ignored the potential for cycling to reduce transport emissions. The legislation is designed to enable Ireland’s transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050. However, the section of the Statement dealing with the decarbonising of the transport sector demonstrates a complete failure by Minister Ross and his Department to grasp the potential contribution that cycling can make to a reduction in carbon emissions.
Transport accounts for over 52% of energy used in Ireland and is increasing. It is one of the four key areas where a reduction in carbon emissions is required to meet our international obligations. Section 4.4 of the Annual Sectoral Mitigation Statement deals with decarbonising transport and states that this involves providing meaningful alternatives to the private car, continuing investment in sustainable transport and promotion of modal shift.
However, in the accompanying National Mitigation Plan Actions, a different narrative unfolds – one where rhetoric is divorced from anything remotely approaching meaningful action.
The Update Report on Actions contains a section entitled “Actions not delivered as planned”. It includes words like “publish”, “review”, and “strategy” rather than “fund” and “enable”. Six of the actions were due to be completed by the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport in 2017. These include “Publish a review of the National Cycle Policy Framework” which originally commenced in 2013 and which 5 years on has still not been completed.
Under Actions Complete, the Decarbonising Transport section lists five items. The DTTAS were responsible for two – setting up a behavioural change working group and publication of a Greenway Strategy. Greenway funding is welcome but it is disingenuous to claim that publication of a strategy or the setting up of a working group will reduce emissions and it is noted that no estimate of emission reduction is included.
The recent IPCC report clearly spells out the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C. To minimise environmental damage and fines arising from the failure to meet Ireland’s climate change targets, Minister Ross must adopt much more ambitious actions than currently outlined. Cycling is the mode of transport for more than 40% of people in many progressive European cities. Cycling will not solve the problem of climate change on its own, but as 57% of Irish journeys are less than 8 km, it can make a significant contribution as well as alleviating congestion, contributing to cleaner air, improving health outcomes and creating attractive neighbourhoods, For cycling to play its part however, Minister Ross must begin to properly fund high quality cycling infrastructure which will enable cycling for all.
“Cycling offers the best and quickest return on investment of all transport expenditure. We urgently need to invest a minimum of 10% of transport funding in cycling infrastructure, to give people a safe, attractive alternative to the car” says Gerry Dornan, Vice Chairperson of Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network.
Nearly two thousand years ago, the Emperor Nero is reputed to have fiddled while Rome burnt. In the next few years we shall see if our current leaders will emulate him or take decisive action to stop climate change.
Investment in cycling is difficult to estimate. Central government provides funding, local government provides funding, other government bodies provide funding and some infrastructure and/or finance is provided by developers as part of planning conditions.
Irish cycling advocates have long been interested in the level of investment by central government but even there the exact level is difficult to uncover. Efforts by different politicians and parties to find out through parliamentary questions were unsuccessful with replies carefully crafted to avoid answering the questions. The Minister has made periodic statements about funding both inside and outside the Dáil but cycling is lumped in with walking or the Minister talks in terms of sustainable travel which also includes investment in buses and trains. If you were to ask most Irish politicians “How much does the government spend on cycling?” – they would have no idea. In countries with high levels of cycling, politicians do know – perhaps not expenditure in a specific year but they have a headline figure which the government aims for.
In Ireland, expenditure in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport is subdivided into five programmes – (1) Land Transport, (2) Civil Aviation, (3) Maritime Transport and Safety, (4) Sports and Recreational Services and (5) Tourism Services. Of these, Land Transport is the most important area receiving over 90% of the total budget.
The table below gives a breakdown of Land Transport expenditure for 2018. The figures are taken from the Revised Estimates Volume for Public Services 2018 which was published in December 2017. In the future, these will be reclassified as provisional figures before the actual expenditure outturns are finalised, as shown in the annual Appropriation Accounts. The government provides a similar level of detail on expenditure for all departments but does not give a breakdown of expenditure at lower levels.
|2018||Current Non Pay||Current Pay||Pension||Capital||Grand Total|
|B.1 – Administration – Pay||12,460||12,460|
|B.2 – Administration – Non Pay||2,237||295||2,532|
|B.3 – Road Improvement/maintenance||72,207||19,160||2,130||815,356||908,853|
|B.4 – Road Safety Agencies & Expenses||1,853||2,774||139||350||5,116|
|B.5 – Vehicle And Driver Licencing Expenses||15,900||3,500||19,400|
|B.6 – Carbon Reduction||5,500||5,500|
|B.7 – Public Service Provision Payments||281,713||18,650||300,363|
|B.8 – Public & Sustainable Transport Investment Programme||1,605||398,940||400,545|
|B.9 – Public Transport Agencies & Expenses||2,819||2,830||11||5,660|
|B.10 – Miscellaneous Services||78||78|
TABLE 1 Land Transport Expenditure 2018 (€ 000)
(Source: Databank Department of Public Expenditure & Reform)
Most areas in Land Transport receive negligible capital investment. The two which stand out are Road Improvement/Maintenance at €815M (or 65% of the total) and Public & Sustainable Transport Investment Programme at €398 (or 32.1% of the total). This clearly demonstrates the disparity between the capital allocation for roads as opposed to all other modes of transport including cycling.
Public Transport & Sustainable Transport is the main source of funding for cycling. However, funding for cycling is also provided under other programmes. For example, in 2018 greenways were funded under the Tourism programme while investment in a velodrome appeared under Sport. This article concentrates on the departmental funding of cycling from Public Transport & Sustainable Transport but also includes Greenways.
We have identified eight areas of expenditure which involve provision for cycling but the same funding may also be used to provide for other modes of transport. In order to estimate the contribution to cycling alone, it is necessary to separate/estimate what proportion of funding goes to cycling and what goes elsewhere.
- Bus Connect
Expenditure on Bus Connect is estimated at €79M in 2018. The primary reason for this expenditure is the need to reorganise the bus service. It is considered reasonable that a proportion should be allocated to cycling as the project includes the provision of segregated cycle facilities on part of the Bus Connect network. It was decided to proportion 10% for cycling as that is the government target for cycling. There are grounds for arguing that 10% is too high and other arguments that 10% is too low but as Bus Connect is a new project, it was decided that 10% was reasonable until its outcome in relation to the provision of cycling infrastructure is clear.
Cycling/Walking has been allocated €8M in 2018 rising to €15 in 2019. In the absence of any further information from the Department, it was considered reasonable to divide the allocation 50:50 betweeen the two modes.
- Sustainable Transport Mobility Grants (STMG)
STMG has been allocated €14M in 2018. It may be thought that a large percentage goes to cycling but STMG also includes public transport and walking projects. The proportion of 25% was estimated on the basis of the NTA Outturn Reports.
- Smarter Travel Workplaces
The allocation for Smarter Travel Workplace is estimated at €0.60M per annum. Again, it is an area which includes other modes of transport with cycling only accounting for 33% of expenditure.
- Green Schools
The allocation for Green Schools is also modest at €1.65M but once more the proportion which is spent on cycling is low. The proportion of 33% was estimated from Annual Reports from Green Schools.
Greenways are funded under the Tourism heading and are primarily for recreational reasons as public lighting is not generally provided and Waterways Ireland insist on a low quality dust surface which deters many utility and sport cyclists. Greenways, if constructed to a high standard, have the potential to cater for utility cyclists. Therefore, it was thought fair to include their expenditure in order to estimate overall departmental spending on cycling.
- Cycle Right
All funding for Cycle Right goes to cycling.
All funding for Bikeweek goes to cycling.
A breakdown of Department funding for cycling for the years 2018-2021 is given in the Table 2. Some of the funding is current rather than capital spending but has been included to get an overall figure for Department spend.
|Area of Expenditure||2018||2019||2020||2021||TOTAL|
|Cycling Contribution (10%)||€7.90||€14.30||€24.60||€28.20||€75.00|
|Cycling Contribution (50%)||€4.00||€7.50||€17.50||€26.00||€55.00|
|STMG Cycling Contribution (25%)||€3.50||€4.25||€11.75||€14.00||€33.75|
|Smarter Travel Workplaces|
|Smarter Travel Workplaces||€0.60||€0.60||€0.60||€0.60||€2.40|
|STW Cycling Contribution (33%)||€0.20||€0.20||€0.20||€0.20||€0.79|
|Green Schools Cycling Contribution (20%)||€0.33||€0.33||€0.33||€0.33||€1.32|
|Cycle Right (100%)||€0.65||€0.65||€0.65||€0.65||€2.60|
|Greenways – Tourism|
|Greenways Cycling Contribution (50%)||€0.00||€6.73||€7.60||€12.18||€26.5|
|DTTAS Expenditure on Cycling||€16.98||€34.36||€63.03||€81.96||€196.31|
TABLE 2 Departmental Allocation & Contribution to Cycling 2018-2021 (€ M)
In 2018, total expenditure is estimated at €16.98M rising to €34.36M in 2019. The #Allocate4Cycling campaign seeks 10% of the Land Transport Capital budget to be devoted to cycling. As the Land Transport capital budget is estimated at €1243M and €1544M in 2018 and 2019 respectively, this level of expenditure on cycling equates to 1.37% and 2.22% for those years – a long way from what is required to significantly impact on health, congestion, sustainability and climate change.
Of the eight areas of expenditure, the total allocation for four (Smarter Travel Workplaces, Green Schools, Cycle Right and Bikeweek) is negligible at €1.6M per annum. The allocations for Greenways and Cycling/Walking are significant but most of the funding is in the latter years of the investment programme which shows a lack of priority by the Minister. While he did announce greenway funding of €53M in 2018, no significant if any funding will be spent this year as councils have until November to make an application for schemes. Furthermore, it is assumed that 50% of the Cycling/Walking allocation is for cycling. In theory it could be anything between 0.1% and 99.9% and still accord with statements by the Minister.
|DTTAS Expenditure on Cycling||€9.08||€19.45||€39.40|
|DTTaS Total Capital Voted Expenditure||€1,243.00||€1,544.42||€1,934.52|
TABLE 3 % of Departmental Expenditure on Cycling 2018-2020
Excluding Bus Connect (€ M)
By far, the largest area of expenditure is the Bus Connect project with contributions to cycling of €7.9M and €14.3M in 2018 and 2019. It hardly needs to be pointed out that Bus Connect is running into problems politically with very vocal opposition to the proposed reorganisation of bus routes. If there are delay to routes, no preliminary or detailed designs can proceed so it is more than likely that any expenditure on cycling routes adjacent to key bus routes will not happen until the end of 2019 or later. If so, the proportion of Land Transport capital expenditure allocated to cycling in 2018 and 2019 could fall as low as 0.73% and 1.30% respectively (see Table 3) and this for a mode of transport which is used for more than 40% of journeys in many Dutch and Danish cities. The Minister has been quoted as saying that his Department “gets” cycling. Unless there is openness on his intended levels of investment, its impact on levels of cycling AND a commitment to substantial funding, cycle advocates will continue to disagree.
PS For comparison, Finland, which is similar in population to Ireland, has just announced funding of €23M for a single cycle project, albeit the most expensive in its history.
Maynooth Cycling Campaign is entitled to represent its views and will continue to do so in the same way as the Carton Avenue Preservation Society. This article is to address a number of Facebook responses to our previous article on the subject.
Maynooth Cycling Campaign is a member of Cyclist.ie, an umbrella for over thirty groups across the country which advocates for increased everyday cycling. We are affiliated to the European Cycling Federation which is a Europe wide organisation promoting cycling as a sustainable and healthy means of transportation. We have never claimed to be a large organisation in Maynooth but our aims include advocating for cycling infrastructure.
Some of the responses to our earlier article are the usual anti-cycling rants from people about cyclists and cycling facilities. This NIMBY reaction is common and is currently happening in Dublin and has been previously experienced elsewhere in Kildare.
We do accept that there legitimate concerns about an additional opening into Carton Avenue and its effect on pedestrians. Maynooth Cycling Campaign has never sought a cycle path or cycle lane. In our article, we refer to a cycle link and what appears to proposed is a shared space for both pedestrians and cyclists. This is similar to what is on Straffan Road south of the Celbridge Road junction. Our vision for the link is a safe space for young people to cycle or walk to school away from the heavily trafficked Dublin Road. In response to the suggestion that young people should learn to cycle on the road, last year a young woman cycling in Rathcoffey was killed in collision with a car and earlier this year a teenager cycling from school near Ardclough was also killed. No-one wants to see a repeat in Maynooth.
While the number of cyclists using Carton Avenue is unlikely to be significant, there is an increased risk where cyclists and pedestrians are forced together on narrow paths. The existing path could and should be widened as at present it is inadequate for two walkers or cyclists meeting two travelling in the opposite direction.
In response to concerns about the risks from cyclists to pedestrians, in particular elderly pedestrians, 30 pedestrians and 15 cyclists were killed on Irish roads in 2017, the vast majority of which involved collisions with cars. Of those fatalities, the number of elderly was proportionately large. The reality is that the risk to the elderly comes from motorised vehicles. No person, young or old, died as a result of a collision with a cyclist in 2017. Such fatalities do happen from time to time but they are rare occurrences.
In relation to the destruction of Carton Avenue, similar comments were made at the time that Carton House was developed as a hotel. Now we have a world class hotel on our doorstep which is an asset for the entire area. It would be an additional attraction for guests at Carton to access Maynooth Town by bike using Carton Avenue. The alternative is for visitors to access the town by car or not at all.
Rather than destroying the Avenue, opening it up will make it more accessible to the public. Such permeability is in line with traditional development of urban areas and with the requirement for permeability in the current Irish design standard for urban areas (DMURS). Allowing cycling in parks and other green areas is common practise across Europe. It is common practice in Ireland – in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin City and it is common practice elsewhere in Kildare.
In relation to the permission for the work, the Local Area Plan for Maynooth 2013-19 clearly shows a link between the proposed housing area and Carton Avenue. This plan was open to public consultation and approved by the elected Maynooth councillors. It is difficult to see how anyone can consider the works to be illegal or unauthorised. Admittedly, the link is described as a ‘pedestrian’ link. However, the promotion of cycling and active travel in general is clearly set out in the County Development Plan. If the proposal was to turn Carton Avenue into a race track for Tour de France cyclists, we would be totally against it. Increased cycling in society is the policy of successive governments and all political parties and children want to do it. Child obesity and lack of activity is a major threat to the health of our children. Instead of putting obstacles in their way, we should be supporting them.
The Carton Walk Preservation Society (CWPS) has recently commented on the new cycling and walking link from Limetree Hall to the adjacent Carton Walk.
In particular, a spokesperson has been reported as stating that no-one would want a cycle link. Maynooth Cycling Campaign strongly support the provision of cycle facilities between the residential estates and Main Street as it would be a safe route for children attending the nearby school. The alternative route on the Dublin Road has no cycle facilities and would involve a road crossing. Judging from the above photograph, the pupils at Presentation Girls School would appear to agree with our view.
The CWPS also argue that there has been no consultation on the proposal. The proposed walking/cycling link was shown in the Maynooth Local Area Plan 2013–2019 which went to public consultation and was subsequently approved by county councillors. The work is not of a scale which warrants a separate public consultation so Kildare County County got it right this time. Opposition to improved walking and cycling is both mean spirited and detrimental to a more active community.
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!
In 2017, Deputy Catherine Murphy put a question in the Dáil to the Minister for Transport about the management of the cycle training programme Cycle Right, specifically the anticipated increase in cycling to school and the benchmark for success. This was against a background in the UK of increased training having no significant effect on cycling levels unless accompanied by the provision of high quality infrastructure.
The response by Minister Shane Ross was in short that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport had no idea about how effective the scheme would be and did not have any benchmark for success.
In 2018, one year on from having introduced the scheme, Deputy Catherine Murphy again asked about the effectiveness of Cycle Right. (See full transcript of question and answer) In a rambling response, the Minister Shane Ross confirmed that there was no data available on the number of children cycling to school directly as a result of Cycle Right training.
He did state that in 2017, 15,245 pupils participated in Cycle Right training in 428 schools. which means that 4% of primary schools pupils (if only primary schools took part) or 2.7% of all pupils received cycle training. He went on to state that
“This cycle training ……. will result, over time, in an increase in the number of responsible cyclists on our roads. As Cycle Right is essentially a training programme, we will continue to monitor it based on the number of participants ……
There is no evidence that cycle training on its own will lead to increased cycling. In stating the increase in terms of additional responsible cycling, it could be interpreted that there would be no additional cyclists – only more ‘responsible’ ones. The statement that they will continue to monitor Cycle Right based on the number of participants is “flannel”. Of course the Department is going to continue to monitor the scheme as it is funded on the basis of a payment per head.
The response to the parliamentary question then rambles on to discuss the Green Schools programme although Green Schools were not referred to in the question. The Green School programme monitors the number of children travelling by active means but only those schools which are participating in the Travel Module. Any school which is not participating in the Travel Module or even in the Green Schools programme is not monitored. The survey results report an increase from 3% to 4% over two years. Again, this is more selective hype and spin by the Minister and his Department as they aggregate the results over more than one year in order to boost the numbers.
So now we know that only a small percentage of pupils receive cycle training and nobody has any idea about its effectiveness. This lack of interest in its outcome begs the question what is this Minister and /or senior management doing?
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.