Fingal County Council urgently needs a Cycling Officer and Cycle Forum!

Fingal County Council (FCC) is the only Local Authority in the County of Dublin that has not appointed a Cycling Officer; nor has it established a Cycle Forum as other Councils have. This is the situation as of early October 2016.

As per Policy No 17.3 of the National Cycle Policy Framework, each Local Authority is required to establish a Cycle Forum:

Local Authority Cycling Officers
We will require each Local Authority to assign an officer at an appropriate senior level as a “Cycling Officer”. He or she will establish a Cycle Forum and be responsible for overseeing the formulation and delivery of the local cycling policy. This policy must be embedded within wider transportation policies and in the statutory plans. He or she will also be responsible for the upskilling of staff within the local authority so as to ensure that the competencies exist to fully implement the policies.

As part of the process of drafting the Fingal Development Plan, FCC councillors have - shockingly - been voting against progressive cycling and walking measures in the last few days, as reported in this Journal.ie article and in this Irishcycle.com one.

It is high time that FCC created a Cycle Forum so that cycling is properly considered at every stage of the formulation of transport policy. A Cycle Forum normally operates as a sub-committee of the Local Authority Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) on Land Use and Transportation. It brings together individuals and organisations, both statutory and non-statutory, with an interest in developing cycling as part of the transport equation and in ensuring best practice in its development. Its purpose is to monitor and advise on the Council’s cycling policy, on increasing participation in cycling, and on making cycling a safe, convenient and pleasant mode of transport across the county. The Cycle Forum should take into account the needs of all cyclists - from beginners to the more experienced - and provide opportunities and encouragement for everyone to hop on a bike.

Membership would typically include: elected members of the council, council officials, cycling advocacy representatives, An Garda Síochána, cycling businesses and the National Transport Authority. Other interested persons could be invited to attend from time to time - e.g. sporting agencies, large employers, the health sector, educational institutions (schools and colleges), consulting engineers, the tourism sector and An Taisce “Green Schools”.

After considering and advising on issues, the Cycle Forum would typically refer policies to the Land Use and Transportation Strategic Policy Committee (SPC). The Chair of the Forum should ideally be the Chairperson of that SPC or another public representative on the SPC.

Cycle Forums now exist in three Dublin Local Authorities: Dublin City Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, and South Dublin County Council - but not in Fingal County Council. Dublin Cycling Campaign urges FCC to appoint a high level Cycling Officer and to set up a Cycle Forum immediately! This is crucial so as to support the development of active travel (i.e. modes of transport which involve using your cardiovascular system!!) as recognised in the updated Fingal Development Plan and of course in our National Cycle Policy Framework.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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