Labour councillor delays works on Galway bikes scheme

— Councillors claimed they wanted more docking stations in suburbs but majority sign motion to stop key station outside city centre
— Councillor admits being confused about location, then claims there was no consultation
— Motorists not the only ones unhappy: Nearly 200 people sign online petition asking for more not less regular bicycle parking

Labour councillor, Billy Cameron, is leading a campaign to stop work on three bike share docking stations in Galway City, just over two weeks ahead of the planned launch of the system in the city.

Connachttribune.ie reports that work has been “temporarily suspended” on docking locations at University Road, Merchants Road and Fr Griffin Road until after a meeting between council managment and counclors.

Cameron’s comments comes soon after his fellow city councillor, Pádraig Conneely, a member of Fine Gael who represents the same area of the city, branded cyclists as “cowboy cyclists” — although he gained more media attention for the generalisation last week, he has made the comments before, including at least once at a council meeting in 2012.

Cllr Cameron’s main focused is on the University Road stop outside NUI Galway, one of only two 30-space docking stations in Galway. He is calling the removal of car parking spaces to make way for the station “absolutely crazy” — also claiming people will not be able to put out their bins and that, if the station was on the other side of the road, users would not have to cross the road.

There has been large-scale, advertised public consultation on the location of the bike share stations, but Cllr Cameron claims there has been “no consultation whatsoever with local residents” — although talking previously to reporters he admitted that he was unclear about the location, in September he told the Galway City Tribune: “…When they talked about University Road I assumed it would be on the other side of the road across…”.

He also has claimed to the Tribune: “People who take the bikes will most likely be heading into town and they’ll have to cross the road. It will also affect the collection of refuse as the residents will no longer be able to put out their bins there.”

However, its unclear how the the claim of being unable to put waste bins out for kerb-side collection can be supported — a bicycle docking station will less obstructive that a less permeable row of cars.

Cameron’s comments on people having to cross the road seems to show that he does not know how public bike schemes work — in that people take bicycles in both directions and will have to cross the road regardless of which side of the road a station is place on.

But motorists are not the only ones unhappy with the affects of docking station locations. In reaction to the removal of general bicycle parking to make room for docking stations, nearly 200 people have signed an online petition in the last 48 hours asking for “More, not less, free public bike stands installed in the city”.

The petition says: “The Galway City Council and The Department of Transport are removing an number of free public stands from the streets of Galway. These are used by people every day and there is already an under-supply of them. These stands will be replaced by “Coke Zero” Bike hire scheme. No intention to replace the free public bike stands has been announced.”

It adds: “Where where are people from Galway expected to lock their bicycles? We will be forced to lock them to poles and railings blocking the footpaths and pedestrians in the process. City Councillors will then begin criticising cyclists more for obstructing streets and pathways!”

The news of yet another delay comes after updated launch dates for the three regional bike share schemes released by the National Transport Authority, it said last week that Galway is due to open the week of November 10; Limerick by the end of November and Cork in mid-December. It’s unclear at this stage of the Galway launch date will be affected.

2 Comments

  1. Good article but as I understand it the online petition is actually about the recent or ongoing removal of ordinary bike parking (partly to facilitate the bike share stations), and looking for more ordinary bike parking rather than more bike share stations.

  2. Thanks for that — fixed now. Misread “free public bike” = the bike scheme, which is what some called it at first in Dublin.

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