Fianna Fáil Leader, Micheál Martin TD, says more needs to be done to improve the urban cycling experience throughout the country.
Deputy Martin was speaking at the launch of Fianna Fáil’s policy document entitled ‘Improving the Urban Cycling Experience’ and researched by the Party’s ‘Future’s Group’ today in Dublin.
“Policymakers need to take a much more active interest in improving the urban cycling experience in cities and urban areas throughout the country,” said Deputy Martin.
“In 2009, Fianna Fáil launched Ireland’s first ‘National Cycle Policy Framework’ which was part of the then Government’s 20 year ‘Smarter Travel’ transport policy.
“Many elements of this progressive policy have yet to be implemented and I am calling on the Minister for Transport to put in place a framework to ensure that the proposals contained in the document are implemented.
“In many cases, the proposals involve simple changes to legislation and don’t require significant investment. For example, we are proposing a ban on parking in cycle lanes and greater integration of cycling with public transport.
“The Government continually says that it is interested in constructive suggestions from the Opposition. I would urge them to put aside party political considerations and give serious consideration to the initiatives proposed within this document.”
Brian Nolan, a member of the Fianna Fáil Futures Group that drafted the policy document, said one of the main driving forces behind the initiative was the public health dividend available from an increased numbers of cyclists. He said: “There are many long-term benefits of an enhanced urban cycling framework. In a society where obesity is becoming an ever increasing problem, an integrated network of cycle lanes provides thousands of people with an outlet to exercise on a daily basis. This policy proposal advocates educating all primary school children about cycle safety, while children would also be encouraged to cycle more.”
Fianna Fáil Transport Spokesperson, Timmy Dooley added: “We have seen an explosion of people using their bikes for personal and business use in recent years. The Dublin Bike Scheme has been an outstanding success, and on its third birthday what we need to do now is capitalise on this and ensure a safe urban cycling experience for everyone.”