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25th June 2019 | Environment, Press Releases, Regional Development, Transport

Cycling can offer transport solutions for rural Ireland as well as urban areas – Greens

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The Green Party are calling on the government to build cycle-friendly infrastructure right around the country, not just in Dublin, with Councillors pointing out that cycling in rural areas, if made safer and met with proper public transport solutions, could be a win-win as it increases mobility and helps improve our tourism offering.

As the Velo City conference kick starts in Dublin today, the Green Party have called for a step change in funding going towards cycling with 10% of the transport budget committed to cycling; it is currently less than 1%. This proposal was passed by the Dáil in a motion earlier this year and received cross-party support, but the government have failed to implement it. Key to making cycling a viable option for rural communities is:

  • Making it safer by designing cycling into road infrastructure, particularly at dangerous points.
  • Investing in cycling infrastructure around schools to make it a safe and easy.
  • Providing bike parking in towns and at public transport hubs to allow people to integrate cycling with other modes of transport.
  • Fund greenways in all rural counties.

Green Party Representative for Ennistymon, Co Clare, Cllr Róisín Garvey: “Children growing up in rural areas have practically zero opportunity to walk or cycle due to heavy car-prioritised infrastructure. We need this to change not just for their health but also for the health of the planet.

“If we want to keep our promises to all the children begging for climate action, we have no choice but to invest heavily in cycling infrastructure. 800,000 children get driven to school every day in Ireland—less than 1% cycle. Investing in cycling infrastructure is absolutely key to reducing our carbon fines and meeting our carbon reduction targets. We are sitting on a goldmine with regards to eco-tourism and seeing Ireland by bike. The money back from tourism would be exponentially more than the initial spend needed to make cycling a real option. If we do this, it would be a real boost to rural towns and villages.”

Green Party spokesperson on climate, Cllr David Healy: “We need the government to really start taking cycling seriously. For years there have been reports done on the potential of cycling in Ireland. We have the National Cycling Policy Framework published in 2009 gathering dust for a decade. Cycling needs to be an essential part of lowering the carbon footprint of our transport system.

“It is great that Dublin is hosting this international cycling conference, Velo City 2019, but there is a certain irony that it is being hosted in a city where the massive increase in the number of people cycling in recent years has been despite rather than because of the quality of the environment for cycling. I would be hopeful that this marks a watershed moment in cycling investment across Ireland.”