“Or you could walk that distance” was the response from the official Twitter account of Galway City Council’s Galway Transportation Unit after a long detour for cyclists who want to obey the law was highlighted on Twitter. Galway’s one-way streets are cited as one of the reasons Galway Bikes is the least used bicycle share system nationally.
One-way streets are viewed as an issue making cycling less attractive in most Irish towns and cities, and the problem is seen as an acute one in Galway city centre. Unlike Cork City Council which has installed contra-flow cycle lanes on a number of its city’s streets, Galway has made no effort to tackle the issue.
“Council advised about cycling & one-ways as long ago as 1979. Contrary to policy, not a single exemption anywhere,” said campaign group Cosain in a reply to the tweet from the Galway Transportation Unit.
Chris Tierney, the Twitter user whose tweet prompted the Transportation Unit’s tweet in the first place said “or I could be pointing out one absurdity as a rhetorical jab”. Cosain replied: “Nothing rhetorical at all. Bikes are door-to-door transport. City Council has utterly failed to understand this.”
Last year a press release from the Galway Cycling Campaign highlighted the issue with one-way streets and the city’s bike share. Campaign member Shane Foran said: “There is a bike share station on Mainguard Street near St Nicholas Church. The distance to the next bike share station at Newtownsmith is 350m. Because of the one-way street system and a ban on cycling in the pedestrian zone, the return journey from Newtownsmith to Mainguard St. is 1.1km by the northern route and 2.1km by the southern route.”
“Two-way cycling on one-way streets has been in the City Development Plan for a decade now, and the Jacobs Report [the initial feasibility study for the bike share scheme] stressed its importance in its Executive Summary,” said Campaign PRO Oisín Ó Nidh. “If Galway City Council had followed the recommendations of the Jacobs Report, then Galway would not be in last place [for bike sharing systems in Ireland].”