Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are – Jim Frick, Notre Dame USA.
Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, calls on the Government to implement the recommendation of the all-party Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action (JOCCA) Report and of its own Climate Action Plan by allocating 10% of the Land Transport budget to cycling with immediate effect from Budget 2020. Currently, despite the fact that cycling provides the highest rate of return on investment of all transport projects, as well as numerous co-benefits for health and the environment, it receives less than 2% of the land transport budget, notwithstanding recent increases. According to the Chairperson of Cyclist.ie, Colm Ryder, “10% of Transport funding is required, in order to expedite the development of a comprehensive cycle policy and long-stalled strategic cycling infrastructure projects not just in Kildare but in all of our urban and rural areas”.
Read Budget 2020 submission here: https://cyclist.ie/2019/08/cyclist-ie-pre-budget-submission-2020/ .
In addition to essential cycling infrastructure, ranging from commuter routes to greenways, Cyclist.ie is calling for the establishment of a National Cycling Office within the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport, to oversee overall development in Policy and Legislation, and for the appointment of dedicated cycling officers at senior level in all local authorities.
Cyclist.ie points out that one striking, short-sighted and regrettable omission from the Government’s Climate Action Plan is the absence of any incentives towards the purchase of electric bikes, or electric cargo bikes. This is in spite of projections from the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport that the cost of congestion in the Greater Dublin Area will amount to €2Billion per year by 2033. Instead, the very first action mentioned in the Transport Section of the Plan is to develop the EV charging network so as to support “at least” 800,000 EV’s by 2030. Modal shift is mentioned in the Plan only in the context of Public Transport. E-bikes (including e-cargo bikes) have great potential to encourage modal shift and change the transportation dynamic. E-bikes have the potential to replace a family car, enable longer commutes, enable older people to remain active for longer, facilitate cycling in hilly areas, increase levels of everyday cycling, and help to reduce congestion levels
For these reasons, from Budget 2020 onward the Government must develop and operate a purchase subsidy for e-bikes, in parallel with the subsidy for electric cars. An extra generous allowance should be given to those who show that they are replacing a car with an e-bike. It is critical that e-cargo bikes are included in this scheme as they are a cost effective and low emissions means of freight deliveries in cities, as well as potential family transporters.
Other asks in the Cyclist.ie budget submission include mandating the provision of high-volume safe and secure bike parking at all public transport hubs, all public buildings such as schools, hospitals, libraries etc, and all major event centres such as sport and concert venues as well as provision for the carriage of bikes on trains and buses. In addition, the organisation wants to see cycle training being made available free of charge in all primary and second level schools. It wishes to see greater flexibility in the Bike to Work scheme including its extension to those not in work such as students, the unemployed and retired people. Finally, Mr Ryder states that legislation and enforcement are crucial – “The long-promised safe passing (of cyclists) legislation is by far the most urgent need, but other laws, to bring us in line with our European neighbours, such as contra-flow cycling on one-way streets and turning left on red lights are required” he stated, “as well as enforcement action on parking in cycle lanes”.