New vision for cycling in Ireland

National bike path network, road changes and rental schemes

The Republic of Ireland's new National Cycle Policy Framework sets out a vision of a future where all cities, towns and villages are bicycle-friendly and cycling is a normal way to get about.

The Irish government wants to see the number of people cycling to work rise from 69,000 to 160,000 by 2020 and to develop a new culture of cycling in Eire.

In a recent interview, Irish Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey said there are “about 100,000 people in Dublin driving less than 4km to work, or about 200,000 people nationwide. We want to try to encourage those people out of their cars…”.

The Framework contains 19 objectives and details on how they will be achieved. It is intended the policy will lead to the development of a national cycle network of inter-urban, recreation and commuter routes, taking advantage of canal and river towpaths and disused railway lines.

A range of developments is envisaged, including lower speed limits near schools (30kmh) and safe cycle routes to them, trains and buses carrying bikes as standard, alterations to major road junctions to make them cycle-friendly and the introduction of cycling demonstration towns.

All town with populations of more than 100,000 will have publicly-funded bike rental schemes (Dublin’s is due to be launched later this year). Contra-flow cycle lanes on one-way streets, bypasses for cyclists at traffic signals, guarded bike parks in city centres and lighting on cycleways where appropriate are just a few other examples of the many ways cited of improving facilities for cycling, along with developments in training and changes to legislation.

"Cyclists matter," said Mr Dempsey. "Just like other road users they deserve a safer, easier travelling experience, and that's what I want to deliver through the 109 individual actions set out in this, Ireland's first national cycle policy.”

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