— Invest in cycling for safety and to tackle gridlock says Eamon Ryan.
Transport minister Shane Ross admitted in a Dail debate with Green Party leader Eamon Ryan that cycle facilities projects are underfunded.
“What the Deputy said about cycling facilities being underfunded is fair. I intend to address that after the mid-term capital review and, if possible, before that,” said Minister Ross at the end of the debate.
The full exchange — which happened on March 30 but seems to be unreported on until now — can be found at kildarestreet.com.
Ryan said that Dublin has a “once in a lifetime chance” to build Dodder greenway, the Sutton to Sandycove cycle route, Liffey Cycle Route, the Clontarf to City Centre, Santry, Royal Canal and College Green cycle routes.
Deputy Ryan said: “We need to forget about the capital review into the distance. If we do not see significant budgets going into these projects next year, it will mean we do not really take cycling safety seriously and we do not know how to save the city from the gridlock that will otherwise ensue.”
Minister Ross replied: “I reject the Deputy’s claim we are not taking safety seriously. That is completely and utterly wrong. It is unfair and there is no evidence to back that up. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I have introduced several measures for road safety through Bills since I have come into office from which cyclists will be, I hope, the chief beneficiaries. That is just nonsense from the Deputy.”
Ross said €36.7 million was spent on two cycling funding programmes but Ryan said the overall funding for cycling totals just 2% of the transport budget when at least 10% should be going towards cycling projects.
Ryan had also said: “The reason we need to invest in the cycling space in Dublin is not just for the safety issue but also to make the city work. Dublin is facing gridlock. I am on the Committee on Budgetary Oversight to which various agencies and organisations come every week calling for more motorways to be built. There is no one championing investment in cycling expect for the likes of the Dublin Cycling Campaign.”
Ross said: “Every death is one too many, and my Department and I, together with the Road Safety Authority, RSA, the Tánaiste, An Garda Síochána and local authorities, work together to implement measures to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries on our roads. As a result of what is a crisis of fatalities on our roads, we have doubled the number of those meetings per annum in recent times. My Department is tackling the issue of cyclist-related deaths and serious injuries through a multifaceted approach. This involves targeting cyclist and motorist attitudes and behaviour, an education programme, the provision of cycle tracks and the rolling out of the Cycle Right campaign.”