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Irish town and city offer not-so car-free day  

Only two Irish towns and one city are taking part in European car-free day today, but Galway City is openly advertising that their street restrictions will just be for four hours and Tralee in Co Kerry is using a street already closed for works.

It follows the news that Galway County Council is to offer free car parking today on car-free day.

The Tralee Active Travel section of Kerry County Council have advertised that The Mall, a central shopping street, will be closed for motorised traffic for car free day, but it has been closed since May for works and not due to reopen until November.

Kerry Cycling Campaign said this morning on Twitter: “Happy #CarFreeDay, remember The Mall #Trallee is closed so best leave the car at home (despite closing in May and not reopening until Nov!).”

The EU website for Mobility Week,, gives the following guidance for urban areas taking part in car-free day: “Organising, preferably on 22 September, the Car-Free Day by setting aside one or several areas reserved for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport for at least one whole day (1 hour before to 1 hour after working hours).”

While Galway’s Friday traffic is legendary, it’s hard to see how the city’s 10am to 2pm timing fits in with even the most liberal civil servant’s view of an 1 hour before to 1 hour after working hours.

The four hour “car-free day” in Galway will make Foster Street to Eglington Street in the city accessible only to pedestrians, cycling and public transport.
Galway City Council said: “Friday the 22nd September is European Car-Free Day and is part of Mobility Week. Cities carry out a Car-Free Day event by closing one or more streets to traffic and instead opening it to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. A total of 218 cities/towns across Europe have registered to participate in Car-Free day and will be closing a street to cars on Friday 22nd September.”

It added: “Galway City Council will be a participant again this year and in particular because the proposed closure to private cars of Foster Street to Eglington Street is a permanent measure included in our Galway Transportation Strategy (GTS). The closure will be in place from 10am to 2pm and advance signage and media communication will be engaged.”

Westport is the only one of the three which seem to be meeting and exceeding the guidelines. Mayo County Council advertised: “Leave your car at home on ‘World Free Car Day’ and avail of a free shuttle train travelling from the Quay to Westport Town Centre and return! & Culture Night Cycle Tour – experience a tour of Westport venues on Culture night by bike. it’s a great way to soak up the atmosphere and have fun along the way.”

IMAGE: Generic file photo of Tralee.

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  1. Contrast cities/towns in Ireland paltry efforts during EU Mobility Week with Belfast’s Cyclovia today.
    We need proper family events on the Sunday right in the centre of our urban areas with no vehicles permitted in the bus lanes so as to make it safer for families to cycle to and from the event from their homes.

  2. I’m not sure it really counts, but the announcer dude on the sound system at the start line of the Great Dublin Bike Ride was saying that it was part of mobility week. It is not as good as closing part of the city to cars just so people can be free to walk around but it was great to see thousands of cyclists of all ages and abilities in Smithfield having a good time at the finish.

  3. Shame that people on bikes had to wear HiViz & plastic bike hats in the GDBR. It’s a reason I don’t participate in it, as I don’t want to support the dangerization of a normal every-day activity.

  4. High viz was not a requirement. As someone who does not wear a helmet for commuting I have no problem at all with the requirement for an event like this. First of all their insurance probably requires it. Secondly I think there is a big increase in the chance of a collision with another cyclist resulting in a fall in an event like this and that is the sort of thing bicycle helmets are most useful for.


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