— Campaigners says shift to cycling can help health and climate action.
Any Government formation needs to include re-balancing of transport funding to give “cycling its logical share” and provide for high-quality cycling infrastructure, Cyclist.ie has said in a letter to political party leaders.
Cyclist.ie, which represents most cycling campaigns in Ireland, wrote the letter in the context of media reports outlining how Government formation may be close.
In the letter, Colm Ryder, chairperson of Cyclist.ie, said: “The election is over but a new government has not yet formed. The arrival of COVID 19 has added to the challenge of negotiations for a new Programme for Government but at the same time we cannot stand still on other issues.”
Ryder said: “Seville was able to provide a cycle network and increase cycling significantly to 8% in five years – the same period of office as an incoming Irish government. In the last five years, there has been little progress on the Greater Dublin Cycle Network and progress in Cork, Limerick and Galway has been even more protracted.”
“Cyclists in Galway and Cork are frustrated and alarmed by their respective Metropolitan Area Transport Strategies while Limerick cyclists have little confidence in efforts to date at urban improvement by their local authority,” he said.
On funding, Ryder said: “We accept that an immediate increase to 10% by the Minister for Transport is not practical in 2020 or 2021 but
it is realistic to ramp up investment to 10% within three or four years. Cyclist.ie is not looking for additional funding for transport – only a rebalance of transport funding to give cycling its logical share. Politicians have promoted cycling for some 20 years and in 2009
cycling policy set a target of 10% commuter cycling by 2020, but Ireland is nowhere near achieving this.”
He said: “The lack of vision on cycling by Irish local authorities is clearly demonstrated by several Dutch cities having current cycling levels in excess of 40% of journeys, whereas by 2039-2040 the predicted level of cycling in Galway city centre is 6% and in Cork is 4% – which are reductions from current levels.”
The Cyclist.ie letter said that the group believes that the Department of Transport should require Directors of Services for Transport to be appointed as Cycling Officers with responsibility for change in transport mode for their authority and for publishing annual progress reports.
Ryder said: “In the autumn of 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that there was only a period of 12 years left in which to limit climate change to less than 1.5 °C in order to prevent a climate catastrophe. This period is now reduced to less than 11
“The challenges to the next Irish government are unprecedented. It MUST introduce radical change to the way transport is managed in order to achieve the desired outcomes, or as close to the desired outcomes as possible, not just on movement but also on climate action, on the environment and last, but not least, on community health.”