Galway Cycling Campaign has welcomed an announcement that cycling will be funded as part of the new mobility funds that will be released by the European Union.
The Urban Mobility package is expected to be around €20 billion and will be given to Member States through EU regional funds.
Its purpose is to support challenges linked to air pollution, climate change and citizens’ wellbeing and it will include a cycling package for cycling infrastructure and e-bike access funds.
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign and board member of the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, said that this is something to celebrate on the eve of World Bicycle Day, which is taking place tomorrow.
“Cycling is part of a solution to a myriad of intimately intertwined social and economic problems: transport and commuting, quality of life, public health, physical and mental health, air pollution, school routes, and transport emissions and climate change targets.
“This is particularly welcome and follows the announcement last week by Minister Ross that the National Transport Authority are offering financial and technical support to all local authorities to deliver improved walking and cycling infrastructure across the country.”
Kevin Mayne, CEO of Cycling Industry Europe (CIE) explained the importance of the announcement, saying that it was made at the absolute core of EU policy making ‘which is a real first for cycling’.
“Secondly it was the clarity of the endorsement, cycling is alongside the other modes as a core responsibility of the EU, not hidden in local transport policy. This is a big breakthrough for the cycling sector.”
Martina Callanan added: “An e-bike access fund is particularly important to help people switch to cycling.
“Cyclist.ie has regularly made submissions to the government, and again recently to the political parties negotiating the programme for government, to introduce an e-bike subsidy scheme, like the SEAI ecar grants.
“Electric-assisted bicycles increase commute range from 6 to 9 km by pedal bike to 20 km, are helpful on journeys with hills and wind, and are enormously supportive to older people and people with mobility challenges.”
Cycling Ireland reports that over 500,000 adults are now regularly cycling, over double the amount of people cycling compared to last year.