Dave Elton of the Kerry Cycling blog has a great write up following on from Cian Ginty’s presentation as part of the last Saturday Cyclist.ie meeting in Tralee.
This Saturday the biannual Cyclist.ie – The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network will be hosted by the Kerry Cycling Campaign and will feature a public talk by journalist and cycling advocate Cian Ginty.
Last month Cian organised a cycling study tour to the Netherlands for cycling campaigners, elected representatives, council staff and professionals with a focus on cycling. The goal of the trip was to showcase everyday Dutch cycling — from the culture to cycle networks and everything in between.
In the talk Cian with present findings from this trip as well as discussing his website/blog IrishCycle.com
The talk which is free and open to all will take place on Saturday 10th October at 4pm in the Chapel Room, St Patrick’s Center / Tobar Naofa, Moyderwell Tralee [Old Moyderwell convent] and will be followed by a Q&A session.
For a taster of what to expect notes of the trip have been published by Phil Skelton of the Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 campaign and Barbara Connolly Cycling Standard Development Officer with Cycling Ireland
Today sees the introduction of fixed charge notices for cycling offences, and with great timing this press photo surfaced this morning featuring the Mayor of Kerry Pat McCarthy and Kerry County Council staff cycling in a pedestrian area, which from today is liable to a €40 on the spot fine.
Cyclist proceeding into a pedestrianised street or area
This offence is likely to cause a lot of issues and uncertainty in locations such as Tralee town square (pictured above) while the area is pedestrianised it is often used by cyclists to avoid a lengthy trip around the towns one way road system, and highlights how ill-conceived the new system is.
How many times have you heard the phrase ‘shur all cyclist break the lights‘ ? this missive is often rolled out when anything cycle related is being discussed in the media and almost always without facts to back it up.
This was the just the case last Thursday on Radio Kerry when the question was asked if people thought that automated cameras should be deployed at junctions in Kerry in order to catch drivers who break red lights, referencing the launch of the countries first automated red light camera system that morning in Dublin.
Right on cue the first comment (from Tom in Killarney) was ‘what about all the cyclists who break the lights ?’, we contacted Radio Kerry to counter Tom’s comment and were invited to speak on the issue. In the interview we got to speak about the issue of red light violations and how rather that victimising cyclists it would be more beneficial to question why a small number of cyclist break light and how junctions could be designed to cater for cyclists in order to avoid these infractions.
There has been very little in research into red light violations in Ireland but there was one study which we were aware of, coincidentally this was part of the pilot programme for the Red Light Camera Project, the very project that just launched in Dublin on Thursday and analysing the very same junctions, in short you could not find a better example.
As part of the pilot project the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) studied two junctions along the Luas Red line, Blackhall Place and Con Colbert Road in 2011, these were chosen due to the high number of Road Traffic Collisions at the junctions and the risk these posed to Luas passengers. The study analysed the red light violations which took place, as well as the vehicle type, time of day, day of the week and time after the red light was displayed.
Source: Railway Procurement Agency – Red Light Camera Project
The results of the study are clear, drivers are far more likely to break red lights than cyclists, of all the red light violations approximately 15% were committed by cyclists, with almost 85% committed by motor vehicles.
Not only are those in motor vehicles more likely to break lights, but they are also have the potential to cause far more harm than a person on a bike, something which was also acknowledged within the report:
In considering the potential impact of red light violations an important factor is the class of vehicle. Cyclist violations are generally not comparable with those of motorised vehicle … therefore for comparison of results it is beneficial to exclude them from this part of the discussion.
So when we have far more cars than bikes on our roads, which break the lights more often and are far more lethal in the event of a collision, why is there so much public venom directed at cyclists ?
The conversation then turned to infrastructure, or the lack of in many cases when you consider cycle infrastructure, in Dublin the same amount of commuters are carried each day by bike as are carried by the Luas. The initial Luas lines cost €728m to create and is hailed as a great success, but despite having a similar capacity cycling receives a tiny amount of funding in comparison.
Of course the Luas has yet to reach the kingdom and public transport in general throughout the county is pretty limited, which makes investment in cycling infrastructure even more impactful. According to the latest CSO figures almost as many people in Killarney get to work or school by bike as get there by use of public transport, in Tralee four times as many people commute by bike compared to public transport while on a county level approximately a third more Kerry people use bicycles compared to buses and trains to work or education.
Source: Central Statistics Office – Census (2011)
While these statistics may seem to paint a positive picture for cycling in Kerry they may have more to do with the lack of public transport than anything else, that said at approximately 4% Tralee has one of the highest rates of cycle commuters in the country, but country wide the rate is just 1.5%.
The government has set an objective (in the National Cycle Policy Framework) that by 2020 10% of all journeys will be made by bike, so how do we in Kerry get from 1.5% to 20% within the next 5 years ? One thing we can be sure of is that the culture of victimisation and targeting of cyclists with fines for not paying heed to substandard infrastructure is not going to get us there, but traffic lights could be a good place to begin…
- Traffic Light that work for cyclsits
There are a number of traffic lights in the county which do not work even on a basic level for cyclists, for example the lights right outside Radio Kerry will not turn green for cyclist, which means that cyclist who stop at a red light at this junction have to wait for a car to join them before the lights turn green !
- Advance Stop Line
One reason cyclists have been know to start off just before a green signal is in order to get a head start on cars and trucks in order to ensure their safety. Advance Stop Line (ASL’s) allow cyclist to take up position ahead of cars which in turn provide safety as cyclists are more visible to motorists. There are only a few ASL’s in Kerry.
- Left turn at a red light
Some countries permit cyclists make a left turn at a red light (but more often in left hand drive countries where it is of course right turn at a red light) provided the road is clear.
- Straight on red when there is no road joining to the left
Similar to Left turn on red but allowing a cyclist to proceed with caution provided the road is clear when there is no road junction to the left.
- Bicycle traffic lights
We are not aware of any of these light in Kerry
- Headstart for cyclists
When bicycle traffic lights are in use these can be set to turn green a few second before the main lights which allow cyclist head start on cars and trucks in order to ensure their safety.
Last year Tralee’s bid to become an Active Travel Town was successful when the town received funding of €1.3million from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTT&S) as part of it’s Smarter Travel initiative with another €900,000 funding coming from the local authority itself bringing the available funding for the project to €2.27 million.
The project is to be developed over 5 phases:
Phase 1 ‐ Appointment of Champion and School Travel Advisor
Phase 2 ‐ Proposed 6km Cycleway
Phase 3 ‐ Introduction of a 30km/h Zone
Phase 4 ‐ Shared Space Concept at the Mall Area
Phase 5 ‐ Proposed Two ‐ Way with cycling and walking facilities at Denny Street
The Active Travel Towns Programme is designed to achieve modal shift from the car to either walking and/or cycling and to encourage greater public transport use through facilitating greater walking and cycling access to public transport.
As part of this project Kerry Co Co have just launched a dedicated website, traleeactivetravel.ie and a promotional video.
The original funding application can been found here and great to see our nascent campaign get a mention in the bid !
At last months meeting Kerry County Council passed a motion to formally support “Staying Alive at 1.5m’ Campaign, which promotes safe driving for Motorists overtaking cyclists. The motion was proposed by Cllr. J.J. Culloty and seconded by Cllr. J. Sheahan with Cllr. Culloty calling on the Council to request the Road Safety Authority and the Department of Transport to change road traffic legislation to require motorists to give a safe overtaking gap of 1.5m between the vehicle and a cyclist.
Cllr. D. Grady allocated €1,000 from his Councillors allocation to print sticker to promote the message can requested that the be used on all council trucks and lorries in Killarney Municipal District.
For more information see the Stayin’ alive at 1.5 website.
After a lot of talk we finally got a website together.
So what are the issues that face cyclists in the kingdom, what actions would you like prioritised or do you have an idea that could make Kerry better for people on bikes, please join the discussion.
You can also keep up-to-date with the Kerry Cycling Campaign…
… on twitter @kerrycyclingcam
… and Facebook /kerrycyclingcampaign