E-bike subsidies, ringfenced funding for cycling infrastructure, and the establishment of a National Cycling Office are some of the measures sought by cycling lobbyists in their pre-budget submission to Government this week.
Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, has called on the Government to implement the recommendation of the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action’s Report and the Government’s own Climate Action Plan by allocating 10% of the land transport budget to cycling with immediate effect from next month’s Budget.
“10% of Transport funding is required in order to expedite the development of a comprehensive cycle policy and long-stalled strategic cycling infrastructure projects in all of our cities and in urban and rural areas,” chairman of Cyclist.ie, Colm Ryder, said.
One such infrastructure proposal is the Lee-to-Sea Greenway in Cork, which would link the Inniscarra Dam to the harbour coast through the city centre.
The pre-budget submission also seeks incentives for the purchase of electric bikes and electric cargo bikes.
Dr Dean Venables, chairman of the Cork Cycling Campaign and an atmospheric chemist at UCC, said: “Electric bikes make complete sense in a city with hills like Cork. For instance, last year, Cork Cycling Campaign organised a Bike Week event to cycle up St Patrick’s Hill on e-bikes.
"That hill is likely the steepest urban road in Ireland. Not only did participants like MEP Deirdre Clune and Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald easily cycle up the hill, but so did an 82-year old, who cycled up the hill twice."
Mr Ryder said legislation and enforcement changes are crucial.
He said: “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, as well as enforcement action on parking in cycle lanes."