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Dublin Cycling Campaign celebrates 20 years of actions for better mobility in Dublin

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“The Dublin Cycling Campaign is an independent, voluntary lobby group that has been working to improve the city for all cyclists for over a decade and a half.”

This year (2013), the Dublin Cycling Campaign is celebrating 20 years of existence. The group calls itself “an independent, voluntary group lobbying local and national government” and their main mission is to bring about improved conditions for cyclists and greater recognition of the benefits of cycling.

Since 1993, the group has been conducting a series of actions, including: participate in the Transportation “Strategic Policy” (or policy forming) committees in Dublin City and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Councils; as well as be part of the consultatuve bodies during the preparation of the government’s National Cycle Policy Framework.

In commemoration of Parking Day, BikeMovement talked to the coordinator of the campaign, Muireann O’Dea to understand the postion of Dublin towards a life on two wheels.

BikeMovement – How the campaign began? What was the main idea?

Muireann O’Dea – The campaign began 20 years ago as a protest movement against the way cars were taking over the city and the fact that a number of cyclists had been killed in car accidents.

BM – During these 25 years the campaign has accomplished many others activities. what are the main areas of focus today?

O’Dea – Our main areas of focus are: (1) Monitoring progress on the National Cycle Policy Framework that was published by the Department of Transport in 2009 to ensure that the Government’s target of 10% of journeys by bicycle by 2020 is reached or exceeded; (2) Promoting the health, transport and environmental benefits of cycling; (3) Lobbying local and national politicians and officials on cycling matters.

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BM – Do you think Dubliners are more open to cycling today than 25 years ago?

O’Dea – After many years in decline there has been a huge increase in cycling in the last 10 years. The Dublin Bikes and the Bike to Work Scheme have made cycling more attractive and accessible.

BM – What kind of issues still are persistent on daily cycling in Dublin? what barriers that still need to be overcome?

O’Dea – The issues for cyclists today include:

  • Motorists driving too fast when they are not stuck in traffic jams;
  • A Free Speed survey by the Road Safety Authority in 2011 showed “On urban national roads with a 50km/h speed limit, 82% of car drivers exceeded the speed limit”;
  • Motorists don’t leave enough room when overtaking cyclists – they should leave 1.5m;
  • Not enough safe routes for children to cycle on; we need more 30kph zones particularity in housing estates and on routes to schools;
  • Driver training does not teach motorists how to interact with cyclists.

BM – Are you hopefull for the increase of cycling in Dublin for the next years? do you see any signs of this happening yet?

O’Dea – Yes, I am very hopeful. The number of cyclists in the city centre has increased significantly in the last few years and this has made is safer and more pleasant for all cyclists, As motorist get used to interacting with cyclists.

The National Transport Authority will publish its Cycle Network Review of the Greater Dublin Area in the next couple of months and it plans to roll out an enhanced cycle network in the next 10 years. The Government has less money to spend on transport but this is good news for cyclists, because cycling is the most cost effective mode of transport.