This week saw the formal launch of the Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland by Cyclist.ie’s Rural Cycling Collective, an array of groups and individuals under the umbrella of the wider national Cyclist.ie advocacy network.
One woman to the fore front of the group was Jo Sachs Eldridge from Leitrim Cycling Festival.
The Collective seeks to make rural communities (towns, villages, and rural roads) cycle-friendly for all ages and abilities. It aims to re-balance the debate on active travel so that everyday journeys by bike across rural Ireland are enabled and supported.
The Vision was laucnhed by Junior Minister Malcolm Noonan over zoom and Jo Sachs-Eldridge (Transport Planner/Leitrim Cycling Festival) gave a 5 min presentation on the document.
Dr. Damien Ó Tuama for Cyclist.ie said:“Today, we launch our vision document which aims to promote and celebrate everyday cycling in towns, villages and their surrounding areas. Cycling is not just for Dublin and other cities. Our vision highlights the needs of areas outside of the major cities and the opportunity now presents itself to transform peoples’ experience of active travel.
Jo Sachs-Eldridge of Leitrim Cycling Festival, explained, “What we want is to see changes in the way things are being done in our local authorities, we need to move from a reactive, ad hoc approach to one that is much more strategic and proactive. And we need to change the environment on our roads – both the physical and the social environment - so that they are safer for everyone.
“The 8 key recommendations in the vision document could transform the countryside into places where cyclists are “expected and respected”, by designing useful, connected cycle routes throughout Local Authority areas”, Sachs-Eldridge continued. “As a priority, safe cycle routes to schools and car-free zones should be introduced at school gates in all towns and villages, along with lower speed limits to make our roads and streets safer and more accessible for everyone, and to reduce casualties”.
Sachs-Eldridge added that “we are delighted to finally see a funding commitment for cycling in the Programme for Government. But it must be accompanied by an improvement in design standards, and improved project management capacity at all levels of local and national government.”
Summary of major points in the Vision:
- Create an environment in our cities, towns, villages and rural roads where CYCLISTS ARE EXPECTED AND RESPECTED
- Implement BEST PRACTICE DESIGN to ensure routes are safe and comfortable for cyclists of all ages and abilities
- Prioritise SAFE CYCLE ROUTES TO SCHOOLS and car free zones at school gates
- LOWER SPEED LIMITS to make our roads and streets safer and more accessible for everyone, and to reduce casualties
- Ensure clear and timely ACCESS TO FUNDING, by improving capacity at all levels of local and national government
- COLLABORATE WITH ALL STAKEHOLDERS - including cycling and community groups - at all stages of planning and design
Provide CYCLE TRAINING for all ages, especially children