Galway Cycling Campaign has welcomed the massive investment in cycling and walking infrastructure which is included in the Programme for Government which was widely leaked yesterday.
This will be allocated each year before the proposed future investment split of 2:1 in favour of public transport over roads, and Galway Cycling Campaign has described it as a smart deal for transport, public health, and supporting the local economy.
The volunteer group for everyday cycling has campaigned over many years for 10% of the land transport budget to be allocated to cycling.
In 2019, it was estimated that less than 2% from the land transport budget was spent on everyday cycling, according to the 2020 budget submission by Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network.
Kevin Jennings, chairperson for the Galway Cycling Campaign, said that a commitment of 10% for cycling in the land transport budget could help change transport in Ireland.
“Recently we all have heard government radio ads asking us to cycle and walk where possible,” he said.
“My kids are asked to cycle to camógaí training. Investment in cycling is investment in public health.”
He said that better infrastructure will encourage more people to cycle during the COVID-19 emergency, and enable the years of social distancing we must do until a Covid-19 vaccine is available.
Cycling is good for local business, he added, as “customers by bike are local and loyal”.
“Research in London and Europe shows that bike parking outside your business brings five times the retail spend as the same space allocated to a car.”
“Our first CycleCoffeeCake event yesterday ended at Ground & Co in Salthill, who were delighted to sponsor this event to support new people cycling as they’ve seen a massive jump in customers arriving by bike.”
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for the Galway Cycling Campaign, said that according to EU research, each 1 km drive costs the public purse €0.11 in terms of travel time, collisions, and pollution, while at the same time each 1 km cycle or walk brings health, environmental and quality of life benefits of €0.18 & €0.37 / km respectively.
“We look forward to the confirmation of the percentage budget for cycling and walking.
“It looks like the Programme for Government will commit 20% of the land transport budget to cycling and walking, as 20% of 2020 land transport budget is €360m.
“We expect 10% to be clearly allocated to cycling as this 10% allocation is endorsed by the UN, Citizens’ Assembly, the Dáil, Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action and the government’s Climate Plan,” she added.