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?
I’m Reg Turner and I live in Galway City with my wife Siobhan and our four kids. I am currently the chairperson of the Galway Cycling Campaign.
What was your earliest memory of cycling?
My earliest memory of cycling is probably watching the Tour de France and The Nissan Classic. Santa brought me a red racer one year. I thought I was Sean Kelly!!!
After childhood, why did you start cycling yourself?
I was involved in the scouts in Croom in Limerick growing up and would have remained involved into my late teens so we cycled everywhere. The freedom. I remember we cycled to Kilkee. I probably stopped for a few years because of work locations, but I’m back on the bike for nearly 20 years.
What motivates you as a cycling campaigner?
I’m not sure I’m just a cycling campaigner. I really believe in the creation of a public realm and the linking up of these spaces. My goal is to make the city safer for all vulnerable road users.
How did you get involved in campaigning in the first place?
I was involved in a school committee that helped to secure a school street for a city centre school in Galway and through dealings with this I became friendly with members of the campaign who were also parents in the school. Next thing I know I’m on the committee and doing interviews on local radio.
...This is not a paywall. Keep scrolling if you want, but IrishCycle.com needs readers like you to keep it that way. It only requires a small percentage of readers to give a bit each month or every year to keep IrishCycle.com's journalism open to all. Thank you.
What’s the most effective way you think that more people will hop on their bikes in Ireland?
I think the ‘if you build it they will come’ theory will work. I work for the National Ambulance Service and I am very aware of all the dangers involved in sharing space with bigger heavier faster vehicles. For Galway, in particular, the introduction of the 30kmph for the city centre will definitely make things safer. But more significantly we need more protection and segregation of cycle lanes.
I have lost count of the number of people I have talked to who are blown away by what Centre Parcs has to offer as regards safe cycling infrastructure but the same people seem to forget that this can be achieved in a city like Galway. Galway City and Salthill in particular could have become the Centre Parcs of the West with its campsites, hotels, golf course, swimming pool, cinema, great pubs, great coffee shops and lots and lots of super places to eat. That’s without even mentioning the big ocean and all Galway Bay has to offer
And if people are looking to get involved, what should their first step be?
The campaign is always looking for new members and fresh ideas — maybe not more of the demographic like myself of the 40-something male of white background. We’d like more females and people of all ages and different backgrounds and fresh ideas to help drive the campaign forward to benefit all road users
If you’re interested, you can find more at galwaycycling.org and we are on Twitter and Facebook. We also have a return of our community cycles on Sunday, September 3, starting at 11 from Claddagh Hall.