Press Release: 1 million euro per day – Kerry Cycling Campaign welcomes the Initial Figures on Cycling Investment Emerging from the Government Formation Talks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 14/June/2020

Tralee, Co. Kerry

Kerry Cycling Campaign and other campaign groups have been calling for a revolution in the funding of cycling and walking for many years. We are seeking a 10% allocation for cycling from our government’s transport budgets. We are delighted to see that the initial figures emerging from the government formation talks appear to have recognised this urgent need to invest in ‘active travel’ (walking and cycling) by allocating €360 million per annum towards cycling and walking schemes. Kerry Cycling Campaign welcomes this commitment.

Speaking on behalf of Kerry Cycling Campaign, Anluan Dunne said “Acknowledging that this program for government requires approval, we welcome the proposed funding for walking and cycling. The minimal cycling infrastructure which does exist in Kerry is typically sub-standard or in some cases dangerous and needs substantial funding to be upgraded”.

We have consistently highlighted the multiple benefits of investing in cycling – across economic, societal and environmental headings. On the public health side, regular cycling for everyday journeys builds exercise into our busy lives and can be easier to maintain compared to recreational physical activity. Economically, each kilometre driven by a car incurs an external cost of €0.11, whereas cycling and walking bring benefits of €0.18 and €0.37 per kilometre, respectively (see New study reveals the social benefits of cycling and walking in the EU). On the emissions reduction front and responding to the Paris Climate Agreement, cycling and walking are an essential part of the solution in decarbonising our mobility system and hence are a critical part of an overall transport mix. This has been recognised in many states in North West Europe since the mid 1970s. 

It is estimated that spending on cycling currently amounts to less than 2% of transport capital spending, as shown in Cyclist.ie’s 2020 Budget submission. Meanwhile theThird Report and Recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action [https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/committee/dail/32/joint_committee_on_climate_action/reports/2019/2019-03-28_report-climate-change-a-cross-party-consensus-for-action_en.pdf]

and the 2019 Climate Action Plan all endorsed the spending of 10% of the transport budget on cycling.

Our expectations are that this funding will be spent on high quality cycling infrastructure in our towns and cities so that we can grow cycling to levels common in many continental countries. We also urgently need to redress the gender balance in cycling (currently only 27% of all persons commuting are female, Census 2016).

Kerry Cycling Campaign looks forward to examining the full published Programme for Government and a more detailed media release will follow.

ENDS

Renewed Call to Change Our Streets


Kerry Cycling Campaign and Cyclist.ie renew calls on the Irish government and Kerry County Council to urgently follow the lead of other European governments to allocate more space to active travel measures. These measures include allocating more space for active travel and controlling vehicle speed by introducing 30 km/hr speed limits in built up areas .


Speaking on behalf of Kerry Cycling Campaign, Anluan Dunne said: “we have written to KCC Chief Executive, Moira Murrell and to all elected representatives to request that space on our county’s streets be made for people who walk and cycle. A once in a lifetime opportunity exists to make our towns nicer to live and work in by reducing the number of cars and making it easier to walk and cycle. All at minimal cost to the Council and with really positive outcomes for people and businesses alike”


Recent research from Transport for London showed that people who cycle spend on average 40% more in their local shops than motorists. They also visit local shops more frequently and visit more than one shop in a single trip than motorists.


Keith Phelan of Kerry Cycling Campaign said: “cycling is part of the solution to the major economic difficulties that now face our local shops and businesses. We want to encourage people back to our town centres to have a coffee, to shop and buy their groceries. We don’t want soulless, hollowed out towns akin to out of town shopping centres. Vibrant, family friendly streets which are a destination in their own right is the goal. Decades of car-centric policies have failed our towns. There were a large number of shop closures pre Covid-19 which proves the old way was not working”


On Saturday 9 May, the UK transport secretary Grant Shapps announced a national plan to support ‘active transport’ (walking and cycling) during and after the Covid-19 restrictions. The Transport Secretary’s action follows similar action by European governments and the release on 8 May of WHO guidance for local authorities – Strengthening Preparedness for COVID-19 in Cities and Urban Settings – in which it recommends the “promotion of safe active mobility (e.g. walking and cycling)”.


As a consequence of the Covid 19 shut-down, recent weeks have seen a complete reversal of numbers driving versus numbers walking and cycling. However, from Monday, May 18th business will begin to open on a phased basis and traffic will increase.

Dublin City Council is, to date, the only Irish local authority implementing substantial traffic measures to improve safety for people cycling and walking during the pandemic. Kerry Cycling Campaign cautiously welcome the words of Shane Ross, Minster for Transport, Tourism and Sport in the Dáil in the past week, when he stated that the National Transport Authority (NTA) would work with local authorities in Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford to develop a Covid mobility framework.

It is with some disappointment that large regional towns such as Tralee, Killarney, Ennis, Sligo and Letterkenny were not referred to by Minister Ross.

Speaking on behalf of Cyclist.ie and its 20 plus member organisations across Ireland, National Cycling Coordinator, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, said that “Initially the required segregated space can be secured quickly and cheaply by reallocating road space using a combination of wands, bollards, orcas and planters”. Mr O’Tuama stated that “In addition other measures were needed and cyclist.ie would be happy to engage with government to discuss these. However, the immediate priorities are more space and less speed.”


Kerry Cycling Campaign’s Anluan Dunne spoke to Radio Kerry about how public spaces in towns and villages need to be re-imagined in the wake of the pandemic.

<a href="https://media.radiokerry.ie/upload/radiokerry/audio/2020.05.20_covid.mp3">https://media.radiokerry.ie/upload/radiokerry/audio/2020.05.20_covid.mp3</a>

Covid-19: Change Our Streets Campaign

Kerry Cycling Campaign calls on Kerry County Council and councillors to urgently ‘Change Our Streets’ by reallocating road space to people walking and cycling. We need to reduce hazards to help people maintain social or physical distancing measures during the Covid-19 emergency.

Communication has been made to all Kerry County Councillors and the Chief Executive of Kerry County Council Moira Murrell.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has led to a huge increase in people cycling and walking. A growing number of countries around the world are temporarily reallocating road space from motor vehicles to people on foot and on bikes. Both to keep essential workers moving and to enable residents in lockdown to stay healthy and active while socially distancing.

“We need to ensure our county is safe for people walking or cycling to shops or work, for people exercising with 2 km of their homes and especially people with prams or wheelchairs. Cities and towns all over the world are trialing changes to roads and streets, some of which may be useful after the pandemic. We can Change Our Streets in Kerry with low-cost quick-wins.”

Keith Phelan, Kerry Cycling Campaign

Kerry Cycling Campaign has written to Kerry County Council and councillors to request the following changes:

  • Cones to widen footpaths in town/village centres or outside shops/queue areas
  • Temporary use of cones or bollards to create quietways to stop through traffic in housing estates and make roads for play/exercise
  • Repurposing of full lanes to cycle lanes
  • Temporary road pedestrianisation
  • Signs indicating improved pedestrian priority at junctions, reducing risk of transmission via crossing buttons.

“We need to put in place emergency measures to help people safely travel by foot or by bike for essential errands, to travel to work or for exercise. More people than ever are walking and cycling during this coronavirus pandemic. To Change Our Streets is to make our streets safer now, and the future. We have contacted our public representatives and KCC Chief Executive Moira Murrell to ask them to act”

Anluan Dunne, Kerry Cycling Campaign

Given recent statements by Minister for Health, Simon Harris, we know that movement restrictions and social distancing measures will remain in place until a vaccine is developed. As such, it must be easy and tolerable for people to comply. If we Change Our Streets, the environment of our cities, towns and villages will help compliance to public health measures. As Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme, says: “Move quickly; speed trumps perfection.

Martina Callanan, board member of Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network

Dublin City Council is implementing measures in Ranelagh, Rathmines, Stonybatter, Dorset St and Capel St by removing loading bays and parking spaces by placing orcas and bollards. It is time to see the same positive action taken in the towns and villages of Co Kerry.

Kerry Cycling Campaign call for motorists to slow down

Kerry Cycling Campaign have called for motorists to slow down and take more care following a horrific month of road deaths and injuries. With so many people out walking and cycling within 2 kilometers of their homes motorists are asked to slow down and be careful. The dramatic reduction in traffic volumes has resulted in some drivers increasing their speed – particularly in urban areas.

Anluan Dunne speaking of the Kerry Cycling Campaign said “Quite simply drivers need to slow down. We are calling on the Gardaí to step up enforcement across the county – especially in urban areas. More people are out walking and cycling and due to physical distancing they may have to step onto the road to avoid each other”


The Road Safety Authority and Gardaí are aware of the issue. Nationally the picture is grim with road deaths up 24% on last year.

Anluan continued “with no other cars to slow drivers down, and with the way our roads are designed, people feel like they have the space to speed up and take more risks. This behaviour is literally killing people. All the preparation and actions to help to flatten the Covid-19 curve is of little use if people don’t take care of each other out on the roads. Speeding drivers are putting people walking and cycling at risk of being patients in our emergency departments. ”

The call has been echoed by Professor John Crown of St Vincent’s Hospital Dublin who has called for speed limits to be lowered during the COVID-19 emergency. Nationally, the Love30 campaign is asking for 50 kmh limits to be reduced to 30 kmh in urban areas.

Globally, road crashes are the leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29, and the second leading cause of death worldwide among young people aged 5-14.


Anluan Dunne of the Kerry Cycling Campaign joined Deirdre Walsh on Radio Kerry’s Talkabout show to discuss the issues.

Kerry’s first Critical Mass

In glorious weather around 60 cyclists took to the streets of Tralee on the last Friday of June as part of the first Kerry’s inaugural Critical Mass.

Critical Mass is a mass bicycle ride that takes place on the last Friday of each month in cities around the world, with further events planned for the last Friday of each month throughout the summer.

Minister Confident of Funding for Kerry Greenways

After some rumours last week we just received this statement from Minister Brendan Griffin, great news for the Great Southern Trail and Tralee-Fenit Greenway.

And good to hear that the funding previously committed to the South Kerry Greenway has been reserved.


Statement by Brendan Griffin TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

MINISTER of State for Tourism & Sport, Brendan Griffin, is today (Thursday) assuring people that he is totally confident of a positive announcement of substantial funding for the Tralee-Fenit and Listowel-Kilmorna Greenways in the coming weeks.

Minister Griffin says that a competitive application process for greenway funding has just concluded within the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and that both North Kerry Greenways have fared well.
He said that he is fully confident that the projects will receive the funding they need from his Department to proceed to full construction and looks forward to making the official announcement in the coming weeks.

“This is really great news for the county. The tranche of funding about to be announced is being allocated for shovel ready Greenways and we have two such projects in the county.
“I worked hard to secure a national greenway fund in Budget 2018 with Minister Shane Ross and the existence of this fund now means that both Greenways will go ahead.
“I am glad to be bringing even more funding to Kerry and these projects have the potential to be major game changers for the greater Tralee and Listowel areas.
“I look forward to working closely with Kerry County Council to ensue that the process of constructing the Greenways begins as soon as possible and I look forward to cycling on both beautiful routes before long.
“Finally, it’s important to state that a pot of funding has been reserved for projects currently going through the planning process, such as the South Kerry Greenway. I will continue to monitor developments on that project and our Department will do everything we can to assist at the appropriate time in the future.”

Greenway conversion programme

There was sense of disbelief among followers and advocates of the three decade long Great Southern Trail saga while listening to Tuesday’s edition of the Kerry Today programme which featured former Councilor Din Stack (center above) extolling the benefits of the proposed greenway.

Mr. Stack a former Listowel Town Councilor was the sole member who opposed a proposal for the council to back the greenway project and was also a key member of the North Kerry Abandoned Railway Line Action Group (NKARLAG) who not only objected to the development of the greenway but also claimed ownership of the former railway land, a demand that was dropped in 2013 when CIE stated that they would fight any ownership claim.

As mentioned in the interview the change of heart came after a of a number of former objectors to the project paid a visit to the much lauded Waterford Greenway,

Radio Kerry also reported that Kerry County Council hope to have planning for the Listowel to the county bounds section of the Great Southern Trial in place by September.

Kerry County Council begins consultation along the proposed North Kerry Greenway

Following the transfer of the two North Kerry railways from CIE last year, Kerry County Council has this week begun the consultation process with interested parties along the proposed North Kerry Greenway.

Letters were delivered to residents and landowners adjoining the route which will run from the current Great Southern Trail head at the county bounds to Tralee where it will join with the Tralee to Fenit Greenway.

This is a long awaited development in a project which was originally initiated 30 years ago this year. In 1988 Sustrans was commissioned by Shannon Development to carry out a comprehensive feasibility study on the development of the Great Southern Trail.

The report outlined Ireland’s first planned greenway, over the intervening three decades the entirety of the  Limerick section of the route has been converted. While Kerry has fallen behind there has been action on both ends over the last number of years with the opening of the urban section in Tralee and the ongoing clearance of the 10.5km section between Listowel and the Kerry border. A survey of this section is currently being carried out, and it’s expected the design of the greenway will be completed by the end of August then preparation of the necessary planning documentation can begin.

Barnagh tunnel

Last year Limerick Council took over the running of the Limerick section of the route from the volunteer led GST Ltd. and plans to invest significantly in the amenity allocating €1.2 million in their 2018 budget to the project. They are currently in the process of re-branding the route as The Southern Greenway, along with the installation of new signage there are also plans to rejoin the Barnagh tunnel to the route which was previous cut off due to road realignment as well as resurfacing the trail. Longer term plans include extending the route right into the heart of Limerick City.

In Kerry the route would not only provide a much needed boost to tourism in the area but would also serve to provide a safe off road link connecting the North Kerry towns of Tralee, Ardfert, Abbeydorney, Lixnaw and Listowel, as well as linking isolated rural communities.

The Great Southern Greenway which if fully developed would be almost 100km in length making it Ireland’s longest greenway. The route will also form part of Trans-European  EuroVelo 1 and in time will link up with other greenways such as the Waterford and Mayo greenways in order to provide a dedicated cycle route from Wexford to Belfast along the Atlantic coast, much of the route would be in parallel with the Wild Atlantic Way.

Rise of cycle deaths in 2017

The Road Safety Association have released their report into fatal collision statistics on Irish roads for 2017.

Overall 2017 saw a 15% decrease in road deaths with 158 fatalities compared with 186 in 2016 while the same period saw fatalities of cyclists increase by 50% with 15 deaths up from 10 in 2016, a record for the decade.

Of the cyclist fatalities:

  •  all 15 fatalities involved motorists
  • 13 fatalities occurred during the hours of daylight
  • 2 occurred during darkness
  • the majority of fatalities occurred in zones of 80km/h and above

County Kerry had 8 road fatalities, an slight increase from the 2016 figure (7) with 38% (3) of these deaths being cyclists in stark contract with the national average of approximately 10%.

Of these 3 deaths one was a tourist, and one a sport/recreation cyclist cycling with a group.

For further analysis see Irish Cycle and Maynooth Cycling Campaign

Cycling Kerry, Great Road Routes

As a fan of Jack Thurston’s Lost Lanes, alas one who has yet to cycle any of the routes, I wished someone would write a similar book with routes closer to home. So I was delighted when I learned that David Elton, Donnacha Clifford of the Kerry Cycling blog had written a book on Great Road Routes in the kingdom.

 

With some of Ireland’s most beautiful and untamed scenery, 400km of rugged coastline and enticingly peaceful roads, what better way to explore County Kerry than by bike? Enthusiastic cyclists Donnacha Clifford and David Elton have joined forces to write the first guide to the best cycling routes the Kingdom has to offer.

 

Each route description is illustrated with colour maps, photos, a gradient graph and key facts and statistics. Information is provided on the natural landmarks and historical sites you’ll see along the way. With over 2,500km of road covered, the graded routes suit all abilities.

 

In a county famous for its climbs, some of the country’s most spectacular ascents, summit views and descents feature, including the Conor Pass and Ballaghbeama. Take a trip through majestic mountains and along wild seashores: a cycle in Kerry will take your breath away in every sense.

You can find out more about the publication and purchase a copy at kerrycyclingguidebook.com

Or head along to the official launch which takes place on Friday 7 April at 6pm at O’Mahony’s Bookshop, Tralee, Tom Daly, cyclist, educator and author of The Rás, will be the guest speaker.