Irish Times Wants to 'Make Cycling Safer'
We are delighted to see one of our major national newspapers, the Irish Times, going out to bat for a better future for cycling, and we make no bones about publicising that fact here on our website. The piece below was published yesterday Saturday 8th October in the print edition. We are especially happy that the Irish Times referenced our budget submission a number of times in putting this editorial together. As we continually say Funding Cycling is a No-Brainer. It makes economic, environmental and social sense. Minister Shane Ross must be encouraged to see the light, and act accordingly!
Making Cycling Safer
Irish Times Editorial, Saturday 8th October 2016
Recent horrific cycling deaths on our roads have highlighted the difficulties cyclists face in making basic journeys to work, to school, or simply for leisure. Cyclists are in the ha’penny place when it comes to capital funding for transport, as shown by the fact that cycling and walking – the “active modes” as they are termed – together account for a miserable one per cent of the 2016-2021 transport investment programme. Against that backdrop, it’s no wonder that so many cyclists turned out in Dublin on Monday to call on Minister for Transport Shane Ross to increase capital funding.
In its pre-budget submission to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, the Cyclist.ie lobby group pointed out that “recent horrific cycling deaths on our roads” have highlighted the difficulties encountered by cyclists in making basic journeys to work, to school, or simply for leisure. If the roads are to be made safer for cyclists, it said, the Government needed to recognise the need to develop and financially support serious improvements in our “cycling infrastructure” – notably many much more secure cycleways on city streets.
By comparison with motorways and major public transport projects, cycling is a low-cost investment with enormous benefits. “The Minister is well aware of the unacceptably high incidence of overweight/obesity in the general population, but particularly in our children due, in part, to sedentary lifestyles where the school-run by car features too strongly in comparison to say Denmark, the Netherlands or Germany,” Cyclist.ie noted.
Yet we are still a long way from achieving the 2009 National Cycling Promotion Framework’s target of 10 per cent of daily commuting trips to be made by bike by 2020. Government ministers with chauffeur-driven cars need to step outside their privileged position to consider the needs of our most vulnerable road users and to allocate a greater share of the transport “capital envelope” to cycling, including the provision of cycleways that would be physically-separated from the real dangers posed by vehicles travelling at speed.
Failure to do so would imply an entirely unacceptable degree of indifference, even insouciance, to road fatalities and serious injuries among those using just two wheels.
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