Rural Cycling Collective Manifesto
During the lockdown period of restricted travel large numbers of people of all ages enjoyed walking and cycling on quiet roads and streets. A desire to retain that sense of autonomy and freedom, together with the promise by the new coalition government of an annual €360 million spend on walking and cycling infrastructure has led to the coming together of a new Rural Cycling Collective. The coalition of groups and individuals under the umbrella of the wider national Cyclist.ie advocacy network, is focussed on making rural communities (towns, villages, and rural roads) cycle-friendly for all ages and abilities. The collective wants to ensure that everyday journeys by bike across rural Ireland are enabled and supported. One of the key drivers of the new Vision for Cycling is Leitrim woman, Jo Sachs-Eldridge. Jo, lives in a rural area near Drumsna and has worked in the UK as a Transport planner so she has both personal and professional experience of cycling to draw on .
A VISION FOR CYCLING IS A VISION FOR THE FUTURE”
Launching the manifesto in Sligo, Joan Swift, Chairperson of Sligo Cycling Campaign said “Today, we launch our vision statement which aims to promote and celebrate everyday cycling in towns, villages and their surrounding areas. We are launching the Rural Cycling Collective to highlight the needs of areas outside of major cities. We want fair distribution of transport funding to regional parts of the country to make cycling for all ages and abilities a reality.
“RURAL COLLECTIVE HAS 8 PRIORITIES”
1. Create an environment where cyclists are EXPECTEDand RESPECTED
2. Create a map of USEFUL and CONNECTED Cycle Routes
3. Implement BEST PRACTICE DESIGN
4. Prioritise SAFE CYCLE ROUTES to SCHOOL
5. LOWER SPEED LIMITS
6. Improve capacity to access FUNDING
7. COLLABORATE with all STAKEHOLDERS
8. Ensure CYCLE TRAINING for all especially CHILDREN
Taken together these measures would transform active travel throughout Ireland. The co-benefits would include improvements to health,safety, congestion, air-quality, noiselevels, and the public realm. More cycling will also help us to meet our climate change obligations. “We can be a voice for areas of Ireland that have not realised the potential of cycling for everyday activities, cycling to school for children and students, to work, to the post office for your pension or even to buy a litre of milk. We need to change how we develop our towns, villages and rural roads and we need our collective voice to be heard ” said Swift
The Rural Collective is calling on everyone - cyclists, non-cyclists, want-to-be cyclists, mums, dads, grandparents, planners and councillors to get involved in shaping this vision and helping to make it a reality.