Cycling infrastructure and safety key to participation

Fianna Fail Longford/Westmeath TD, Deputy Robert Troy, has proposed new measures to overhaul cycling infrastructure and improve safety.

Fianna Fáil is proposing a number of new measures aimed at greatly increasing participation in cycling in Ireland, including a substantial increase in spending on cycling infrastructure and the appointment of Cycling Officers to every Local Authority.

The political party’s spokesperson on sport, tourism and transport spokesperson acknowledged that the popularity of cycling is continuing to increase.

“Cycling is growing in popularity rapidly. In the last ten years, the membership of Cycling Ireland has increased by almost 700 percent. However, there has not been a corresponding uptick in the Government’s support of cycling. Spending on cycling infrastructure has fallen sharply in the last three years, and Ireland’s cycling infrastructure is woefully underdeveloped. This has resulted in far too many accidents involving cyclists, often with tragic outcomes. It has also led to congestion on our existing cycling network which is disjointed in nature and unfit for purpose.

“With that in mind, Fianna Fáil is proposing a number of specific measures to tackle these issues. These include an increase in the availability of physically segregated cycle lanes, establishing a specialist cycling division within the National Transport Authority, ensuring all new transport infrastructure is integrated with cycling infrastructure, rolling out ample bike storage facilities on public transport and near public transport hubs, appointing cycling officers to every local authority, expanding bike sharing schemes to include more suburbs and areas, reducing the VAT payable on bicycle repair, expanding the Bike-to-Work scheme and allow people avail of it every three years instead of five and conducting a national review of speed limits to help make cycling safer,” Deputy Troy noted.

Deputy Troy added that the measures are designed to make cycling safer, easier and attractive for the general public.

“In terms of safety, rolling out segregated cycling lanes and reviewing speed limits is key. Too often, cyclists must share bus lanes or cross dangerous intersections with insufficient distance from larger vehicles. Increasing the safety of cycling is probably the most important measure to increase participation, particularly among vulnerable road users.

“We must also encourage new and novice cyclists. Expanding the bike to work scheme and bike sharing schemes will open up cycling to new audiences and make it cheaper to use a bike. Furthermore, increasing bike storage facilities at public transport hubs and in commercial areas will allow more people to commute to work, safe in the knowledge that their bike is protected.

“The proposals we are putting forward are sensible and will go a long way in helping improve road safety for cyclists and encouraging more people to ditch the car in favour of the bike,” the Deputy concluded.

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