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New Cycle Buses for school children are “symbols of failed transport policy and street design”

— At least 16 cycle-buses all over Ireland from Strandhill to Clontarf to Wexford.

New Cycle Buses to help school children cycle safely to school are “symbols of failed transport policy and street design” organisers and campaigners have said.

The groups released a statement as three new routes were today added to the original Galway Cycle-Bus, the routes combined serve 10 primary schools across Galway city. This follows the launch by Knocknacarra Football Club last Saturday.

Organisers said that the routes cover: “from Renmore and the city centre to the Westend and Knocknacarra. That’s one-third of all primary schools in Galway city.”

Neasa Bheilbigh, co-organiser of the Galway Cycle-Bus, said: “We are delighted to see new cycle-buses popping up like cheerful wildflowers across the city. By using lanes and quiet streets wherever possible, children experience parts of the city that many adults don’t even know exist. Congratulations to the parents and volunteer marshals who keep the children safe in the absence of safe cycling infrastructure.”

Reg Turner, co-organiser of East of the Corrib Cycle-Bus which uses the Headford Road, said: “Some cyclers are as young as six years old. They are well able to pedal the 3 – 5 km distances. There’s not a bother on them. Bedtime is full of excitement as they wonder who’ll be joining them in the morning. They love riding with their friends and arrive at school in great form.”

Martina Callanan, deputy chair of the Galway Cycling Campaign, said: “Make us redundant. Eradicate cycle-buses with connected and convenient cycle networks between homes, schools, shops and pitches. Until that happens, we’ll be ringing our bells to celebrate each family and community that starts cycling to school. We’ll keep ringing our bells for policymakers to hear.”

“Where possible, parents have chosen routes where the children do not mix with traffic. The four school cycle-bus routes are a mix of on-road, cycle tracks, and the canal network. If we must share the road, we prefer quiet streets with slow-moving traffic and/or with low traffic volume. So, slow down and give us space. And please wave or toot your horn hello,” she said.

Callanan said: “Covid lockdowns spurred parents to teach their children to ride a bike. Children love the fun and freedom. Now parents feel more confident in their cycle skills, feel safer in numbers, and appreciate the initial development of School Zones by Galway City Council. While we cheer on families today, it’s important to remember that a cycle-bus is a symbol of failure of transport policy and street design.”

She added: “Cycling is normal. Most of these children’s grandparents hopped on their high nellies and pedalled for miles to schools and dance halls across Connemara bogs without a second thought. Riding a bike is an activity most people of any age and ability can do, once they have a cycle that suits them, and safe conditions to cycle.”

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Image: East of the Corrib school cycle-bus meet-up point near the Bodkin junction. is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

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Cian Ginty

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