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Dedicate road space to cycling and walking to tackle climate change says Government’s advisors

— Report says towns and rural areas should not be left behind on funding for cycling.

The Department of Transport and local councils should look at improving the safety of walking and cycling on all road categories, “preferably segregated from traffic”, the Climate Change Advisory Council said today in its Annual Report.

At a briefing on the report, the group said: “Ireland is completely off course in addressing the challenge of climate change.” Instead of the required 1 million tonne per year reduction in carbon dioxide emissions Ireland needs, the country is currently increasing emissions at a rate of 2 million tonnes per year.

In a clear reference to the Government’s capital budget, which focuses only on cycling for transport in cities, the advisory group said that towns and rural areas “should not be left behind” on funding for cycling.

Chairperson John Fitzgerald speaking at the launch of the report said “Emissions are rising… we need major policy changes and government has not laid out pathways to decarbonise.”

In the transport section of the wide-ranging report, on the issue of cycling, the report states that: “Increased rates of cycling seen at a national level, mostly in the Dublin region, have been the most positive development in sustainable transport in recent years. Walking and cycling are often portrayed as the most sustainable transport modes, having the benefits of exercise and health as well as zero carbon emissions.”

“However, a significant practical and behavioural barrier to walking and cycling, even where distances are short, is the real or perceived safety concerns. Dedicating road space to cyclists and pedestrians, preferably segregated from traffic can greatly reduce safety concerns. The Annual Transition Statement 2017 stated a commitment to investment of over €100 million to a multi-annual urban cycling and walking programme.”

It adds: “Town and rural areas should not be neglected. A greenways strategy is expected to be published in 2018. The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, together with local authority engineers, should explore strategies for improving the safety of walking and cycling on all road categories.”

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Cian Ginty


  1. This investment of over € 100 million will be earned back by reduced spending on health care. Because of less carbon dioxide emissions and more exercise through riding a bicycle people will be healthier.

  2. Another day, another no brainer advisory that promoting cycling is the single most obvious means to begin to address a significant number of pressing problems facing our society; childhood obesity, carbon omissions, traffic congestion, pollution, health spending etc etc. Precisely why quite a few of us have been banging on about it for years. Expect the usual “strong resistance”.

    Nevertheless, we may be starting to move in the right direction; the evidence of our problems with cars is mounting, the advisories are getting more frequent and urgent, Bus Connects and the Greenway Strategy have momentum that cannot be ignored like so many plans of the past, the “strong resistance” of the vested interests no longer always gets it’s way, Ireland is being openly shamed for it’s pathetic environmental record and (let’s face it, most importantly), the EU is threatening us with massive fines for environmental non-compliance, because actual financial penalties seem to be the only thing many FF and FG politicians really understand.

  3. They(Politicians) dont seem to have any problem sanctioning M Ways costing Billions of € Euro. A new one has just been sanctioned in the Cork region. Yet when it comes to providing money for Cycling infrastructure it just does not happen , and loads of objections and stalling and it ends up like the liffey Cycle getting dragged out for years.

  4. It can’t be stressed enough how appalling rural Ireland is for walking. Friends of mine live a few km from the nearest pub and shop. They can’t walk to it unless they want to walk first along a narrow, twisty country lane with no footpath and cars going 50kph (driven by motorists who ‘know the road’) and then along a busy N road also with no footpath with cars going in excess of 100kph.

    I would cycle that, although I wouldn’t like it. The N road is dangerous, topped only by trying to cross the M50 roundabout at the Red Cow in my experience. I wouldn’t walk it and I wouldn’t really blame anyone who decides it’s not safe to cycle.

    Any time I mention that we need more footpaths alongside rural roads I get told I just don’t understand how expensive that would be. Meanwhile billions are spent on motorways and road widening or straightening schemes designed to increase speeds for drivers, neither of which ever result in more (or any) space for pedestrians.


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