VIDEO: Success of public bike scheme sparks calls for extension

Sustainable transport campaigners have called for a major extension to one of the country’s most successful public bike schemes.

Photo credit: Student Michael Hanrahan; Emily Lynch, Health Promotion, UCC; Stephan Koch, Cork Transport and Mobility Forum; and student Amy Stone at the launch of the cycling skills guide. Pic: Larry Cummins

The call came at the launch yesterday of a new safer cycling skills guide by Cork’s Transport and Mobility Forum.

It offers advice on the correct road position for cyclists, how to make a right turn safely, how to navigate a roundabout safely, and how to avoid and navigate around typical hazards faced by cyclists.

“With more cyclists on Cork City roads, education of all road users on the do’s and don’ts around cycling is increasingly important,” said Anita Lenihan, Cork City cycling officer.

“But many people are unsure of how to position themselves on the road when in traffic and this leaflet is invaluable to all road users in how to correctly share the road.”

Forum chairman Stephan Koch, who is also the commuter plan manager at University College Cork, said extending the city’s public bike scheme would also encourage safer cycling.

“In my opinion, this scheme was one of the best things to happen to cycling in Cork in a decade,” he said.

“We would love to see a major extension of the scheme, particularly to the west of the city. We have several proposed bike stations that we hope the National Transport Authority (NTA) would consider funding.”

The scheme, launched almost two years ago alongside similar ones in Limerick and Galway, has become one of the most successful public bike schemes in the country.

Recent figures show membership of the Cork scheme has surged from 8,252 in July 2016 to almost 9,400 by December. The cumulative trips have soared from 452,420 last July to almost 560,000 by December.

Figures show that of the 21,212 cycling trips made across the three cities last December, 18,381 were in Cork, accounting for 87% of the total activity.

In Cork, the average weekday trip duration is eight minutes, rising to just over nine minutes at weekends.

An NTA spokesman said it recognises the phenomenal success of the Cork scheme.

He said the focus at the moment is on encouraging take-up of the schemes in Galway and Limerick before giving consideration to investing in extensions to the Cork scheme. It costs up to €40,000 to develop a bike docking station.

Among the issues raised at the Cork Transport and Mobility Forum were concerns about an inconsistent approach from gardaí in relation to the enforcement of the rules of the road as they apply to cyclists, the need for improved bike storage at student accommodation facilities, and an affordable bike purchase scheme for students,

The safer cycling skills brochure, based on a similar guide produced by the Galway Cycling Campaign, will be distributed across UCC during the university’s first Campus Cycle Week, which kicked off on Tuesday.


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