Pedalling through Autumn
September is a good month to update our followers on cycling and sustainable travel news, European Mobility Week runs from September 16th to the 22nd. This is immediately followed in Ireland by Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Week which runs from September 23rd to the 1st of October. Did you know that cycling can be linked to 11 of the 17 goals?
Friday 22nd September was both Car-Free Day and Make-Way-Day. We hope everyone who could do so left the car at home and walked, took the bus or biked to their destination.
New Cycle Design Manual: This month the National Transport Authority (NTA) published the long-awaited new cycle design manual on its website https://www.nationaltransport.ie/publications/cycle-design-manual/. The manual draws on best practice in Ireland and more importantly from countries like the Netherlands which have a long tradition of designing for cycling. Engineers Ireland are running 3 information sessions on the manual on the 12th 19th and 26th of October. https://www.engineersireland.ie/Professionals/Communities-Groups/Introduction-to-the-Cycle-Design-Manual. These sessions are open to groups and communities as well as to professionals so if you would like to see what design standards our Active Travel will be using for cycle infrastructure from now on, register and tune-in if you can.
Speed Limit Review: Another long-awaited and very welcome document has also become available this month. Action 6 of the Government’s Road Safety Strategy (2021-2030) Our Journey Towards Vision Zero called for a working group to be established to examine speed limits. The report of the working group has now been brought to Cabinet https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/012b3-speed-limit-review/ The review recommends changes which if implemented and enforced will make walking and cycling safer ,more pleasant and open to a greater number of people. It calls for the introduction of a default 30 km/h speed limit on urban and residential roads, a reduction of the 80km/h speed limit on L roads to 60 km/h and on National Secondary Roads from 100 km/h to 8-km/h. There are also specific recommendations about areas such as urban cycle streets, rural cycleways, school speed zones and other particular circumstances. Setting speed limits is a reserved function of elected councillors in each Local Authority area. We look forward to our councillors stepping up. Cyclist.ie has welcomed the Speed Limit report https://cyclist.ie/2023/09/safer-roads-for-everyone-cyclist-ie-welcomes-speed-limit-reductions/. As has Love30 https://www.love30.ie/. Jo Sachs Eldridge in Leitrim has written a lovely positive blog about the benefits for cycling of lower speeds on L or #RotharRoads.
Conferences and Symposiums: Two very interesting conferences with a transport theme took place this month. ATU Sligo hosted the Irish Transport Research Network Conference over 2 days. There were keynote speeches from Anne Graham, CEO of the NTA and Hannah Daly Professor of Sustainable Energy and Energy Systems modelling at UCC. Transport researchers presented a range of papers many with a cycling theme. The presentations will soon be available on the ITRN website. Our chairperson, Joan Swift is grateful to Sligo Conference organiser Dr Brian McCann for the opportunity to attend.
The second conference of note was the Annual Conference of Cycling and Society held in Trinity College on the 7th and 8th of September. There were many interesting presentations on all aspects of cycling from Safe Routes to School to cycling in older age. Of note were presentations by 3 Local Authorities, Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire and Kilkenny on the successes and challenges of their public engagement on cycling and cycle schemes. A report on the conference by Cyclist.ie members who participated or attended can be found here https://cyclist.ie/2023/09/2023-cycling-society-conference-cyclist-ie-report/
Sligo Coastal Mobility Route: The summer saw the launch of Sligo Cycling Campaign’s advocacy drive for a protected Sligo Coastal Mobility Route (Sligo CMR) from Strandhill to Sligo and on to rosses Point. The Campaign is being led by the Strandhill Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) who have the route as far as Sligo in their energy master plan. Sligo Cycling Campaign has organised 2 ride-outs in support of the route, one to Strandhill and one to Rosses Point. These cycles were enjoyable and well supported and we hope to run more cycles throughout the year and to enlist the support of Development Associations, Resident Associations, Schools, and Sports organisations for the route. Political support will also be important, and we very much appreciate Frank Feighan TD’s participation in both cycles and Councillor Marie Casserly’s attendance at the Rosses Point one.
Community Climate Fund: Members of the Campaign were delighted to meet recently with Karen Kennedy, Sligo Co Co’s Community Climate Action Officer, to discuss ways the members may be able to avail of funding for climate initiatives. Transport is one of the 5 themes included for eligibility so we are mulling over ideas and considering how we might best use available funding. The PPN organised an information evening about the climate fund and other sources of funding in the Clayton Hotel and the presentations can be found here: https://www.sligoppn.com/community-supports-information-evening/
Submissions: Sligo Cycling Campaign made a submission to the public engagement on the Scoil Ursula Safe routes to School Scheme and the Local authority Climate Action Plan. Statutory public consultation on both schemes will take place later this year.
Cycle Parking: It’s great to see the new cycle parking in town being so well used. The parking at the Parklet and at Hyde Bridge/Stephen St is always busy but please can we have parking for O’Connell St?
Sligo Town Transport Plan: We are eagerly awaiting the publication of this plan which will form part of the new County Development Plan. Every time we ask about cycle infrastructure be it a quick win or a more substantial scheme, the response is, nothing can happen until the transport plan has been completed! Hopefully by the time we do an October update the plan will have been published.
Finally! Finally! If you like what we do, and you would like to be involved in advocating for cycling infrastructure that will serve all ages and abilities do get in touch!