The National Cycle Policy Framework

The Government’s 2009-2020 National Cycle Policy Framework

In April 2009, the government published Ireland’s first National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF) . It outlined 19 high level objectives and detailed the 109 individual but integrated actions, aimed at ensuring that a strong cycling culture is developed in Ireland so that by 2020 10% of all journeys will be by bike.

During the skakeholder consultation phase, Cyclist.ie, Ireland’s Cycling Advocacy Network, made detailed submissions in regard to the formulation of the policy which helped shape the policy into something substantial and of great value to cyclists. We must remember that initiatives such as the very popular Cycle to Work scheme and National Bike Week emerged from the policy. Upon its release, Cyclist.ie warmly welcomed the NCPF in a Press Release but cautioned about the need for institutional change to accompany the introduction of the new policy.

The NCPF broke new ground as a National level policy document that set a serious target for modal share of cycling in Ireland - 10% - and this effectively means that we need to get to 20% modal share for cycling in Dublin. As of 2013, the modal share in Dublin City was approx 8%, so we have A LOT of work to do. The NCPF, drawing on the BYPAD Bicycle Policy Auditing methodology - as used in auditing the cycling policies of 150+ Local and Regional Authorities around Europe, stressed heavily that if we want to see cultural change towards creating properly bicycle friendly communities, we need to implement a wide package of measures steadily over a period of a decade or several decades.

Cultural change will not come about purely by concentrating on a narrow range of engineering measures. It will take a wide package of interventions at the macro-level of planning, through a radically different approach of re-engineering and re-managing our roads. The emphasis needs to be on speed reduction, HGV management, dismantling one-way streets, and re-allocating space to cyclists, together with serious re-education programmes for all road users, new road traffic legislation, much greater road traffic law enforcement (for driving and cycling offences) and sophisticated & well funded continuous promotion campaigns. Cycling and walking need to be centre stage in every Council Transport Division as the modes which make the most sense from public health, economic, decongestion, social and environmental perspectives.

The value of the NCPF is in its synthesis of a diverse array of ideas and interventions to create the modal shift. The most important factors in ensuring that the NCPF is successful are (as per page 7 of the NCPF) as follows:

  • The participation of many stakeholders across several government departments, agencies, all local authorities and other non-governmental organisations
  • Appropriate levels of, and timely, funding for the initiatives
  • The knowledge and human resources available to implement the policies
  • Legislation and enforcement

Cyclist.ie and Dublin Cycling Campaign wish to see the NCPF re-centred in transport and public health policies. We require a paradigm shift in how we think about and organise mobility in Ireland.. The NCPF is recommended reading for all cycle campaigners!

If you are interested in helping us monitor the (slow) implementation of the NCPF, do contact us on info@dublincycling.ie We need all the help we can get!

Help us do more for cycling in Dublin, please consider getting involved.