“Enable then promote” says cycling campaign opting out of Bike Week

IMAGE: O'Connell Street in Limerick

A cycling campaign in Ireland’s third largest city has said that it will not take part in local part of national Bike Week, which starts today and runs until next Sunday, June 30.

“Limerick Cycling Campaign has decided not to participate in Bike Week this year. We believe that if we as a city are to be serious about increasing the modal share of cycling, we need to enable and promote cycling in equal measures,” said the Limerick Cycling Campaign in a statement on its website.

It said: “We are very unhappy with the recent piecemeal delivery of cycling infrastructure in Limerick. Projects on Parnell Street, Wickham Street, Coonagh Cross and Davis Street are well below par in what would be expected from a growing progressive city. We are nervously awaiting the revised plans for O’Connell Street. We do support the initiative of bike week, however, we feel there is significant work to be done locally to enable utility cycling before we promote cycling in an effective way.”

The group said that the ‘build it and they will come’ effect has already been proven on a small scale in Limerick — it said: “We just have to look at the number of people cycling on the river path to the university and the surrounding area to see that. However, the lack of a ratified cycling plan has stumped the development of other ambitious routes.”

The Limerick Cycling Campaign pointed to a 2015 study carried out by Arup consultants for Limerick City and County Council after the Limerick Smarter Travel programme in the city. The study report said that Limerick has “relatively piece-meal fashion [of cycling infrastructure] and does not yet constitute a cycling network linking major trip attractors.”

The Limerick Cycling Campaign said: “If we fail connect major attractions, schools, colleges, places of work, hospitals, tourism locations, shopping centres, libraries, how do we expect to increase modal share?”

It added: “Promotional events that lean towards weekend sport cycling, novelty cycling and the dangers of cycling around trucks will do little to increase modal share for the citizens of the city. We are asking Limerick City Council to provide a safe, connected and coherent cycling network plan and phased delivery strategy. When we have a plan, we can promote it.”

IMAGE: Henry Street in Limerick, which runs parallel to O’Connell Street.

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

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