Cycling central to Ireland’s ten-year transport policy

Government unveils vision of an Ireland “bursting with bicycles”

by Rebecca McIlhone   February 8, 2009  

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Cycling is a key part of Ireland’s ambitious plans to get 500,000 people out of their cars and using more sustainable forms of transport.

The Smarter Travel report, unveiling Ireland’s 4.5 billion Euro transport policy from now to 2020, talks about a “vision to create a strong cycling culture in Ireland and ensure all cities, towns, villages and rural areas will be cycling-friendly.”

The Government envisions changes which will see “universities and colleges bursting with bicycles,” and businesspeople seeing two-wheeled travel as the best way for covering part or all of their daily commute.

The policy aims to reduce car commuting from 65% to 45% by promoting alternatives such as walking, cycling and using public transport. While bus services will be improved, the aim is to get 200,000 people onto bikes, or walking to work, partly to improve health levels.

According to the report, respondents to the public consultation, which informed some of these changes, called for investment in safe cycleways, secure parking facilities and public bike rental schemes. Furthermore, the need for appropriate training for cyclists and mostorists alike, was requested. The inability to store bicycles on public transport was mentioned regularly.

If the Government’s ambition for these changes are achieved, it would envisage 450,000 walking and cycling to work or education every day in 2020, compared to 240,000 in 2006.