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.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport Robert Troy TD said, “Cycling is growing in popularity rapidly; in the last 10 years, the membership of Cycling Ireland has increased by almost 700%. In the five years between 2011 and 2016, there was a 43% increase in the number of people who cycled to work in Dublin city and suburbs.

“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.

“Fianna Fáil is proposing a number of specific measures to tackle these issues. We will:

·         Increase the availability of physically segregated cycle lanes;

·         Establish a Specialist Cycling Division within the National Transport Authority;

·         Ensure all new transport infrastructure is integrated with cycling infrastructure;

·         Rollout ample bike storage facilities on public transport and near public transport hubs;

·         Appoint Cycling Officers to every Local Authority;

·         Expand bike sharing schemes to include more suburbs and areas;

·         Reduce the VAT payable on bicycle repair;

·         Expand the Bike-to-Work Scheme and allow people avail of it every 3 years instead of 5;

·         Conduct a national review of speed limits to help make cycling safer.

“These measures are designed to making cycling safer, easier and more attractive. 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.”