Who are Ireland’s cycling campaigners and what motivates them? Week 1: Liz Hickey

We often hear people talk about cycling campaigners abstractly, despite all of them being volunteers, they are regularly called “cycling lobbyists”. But who are these people and what motivates them? In a new series, each week a cycling campaigner from somewhere around Ireland tells us a bit about themselves and why they campaign for safer and more attractive streets and roads.

Who are you and what group are you involved with?

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My name is Liz Hickey and I live and work in the South Dublin County Council area. I am an active member of the Dublin Cycling Campaign but mainly focused on the SDCC area.

What was your earliest memory of cycling?

My earliest memory of cycling was getting a red Raleigh Apple for my 5th birthday and being allowed to make my first short trip on my own around the corner. I got such a thrill as I sped around on my own! That feeling of freedom came back when I got back on a bike in my late 20s.

After childhood, why did you start cycling yourself?

I cycled as a kid but only got back on a bike in my late 20s and then it was driven by fitness but I realised I could cycle to get places and now that’s really only why I cycle to get to A to B and minimize my car use when I can. And I rarely regret opting for the bike!

What motivates you as a cycling campaigner?

I want so many more people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the freedom, convenience and equity that cycling can bring. Sometimes it feels like a secret how wonderful cycling can be compared to being stuck in a metal box as a passenger or driver.

How did you get involved in campaigning in the first place?

One day whilst out cycling a driver pulled out in front of me and I lost my front tooth. It really brought home how vulnerable cyclists are in Dublin and we need more safe segregated infrastructure.

What’s the most effective way you think that more people will hop on their bikes in Ireland?

I think there needs to be more incentives to cycle rather than drive and if we had provisions for cyclists equivalent to motorists it would help with the modal shift, for example, high-quality safe segregated infrastructure and secure cycle parking. And we are lucky in South Dublin County Council that the network is beginning to evolve.

And if people are looking to get involved, what should their first step be?

If people want to get involved either reach out to Dublin Cycling Campaign or contact the South Dublin Cycling branch of the campaign by direct message on Twitter @SouthDubCycling.

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