Cork's first cycling maps have been unveiled ahead of national bike week.
The city's Transport and Mobility Forum (TMF) and Cork Cycling Campaign have joined forces to create a series of colour-coded maps showing the best cycling routes to some of the most popular destinations across the city and suburbs.
The routes were suggested by regular cyclists based on the segregation, quality and connectivity of the bike lanes. It is hoped the initiative will encourage and help more people to saddle up and bike to work, to school, or to the shops.
It comes as the Government today announced the allocation of some €40m to fund 10 Greenway projects around the country.
One of the largest allocations, a total of €8m, will help Cork County Council begin work on its proposed 28km greenway from Midleton to Youghal along a disused rail line.
The Waterford Greenway is being extended into the city, and Wicklow County Council is getting €5m to develop a 42km loop around the Blessington Lakes, incorporating Russborough House and the villages of Valleymount, Ballyknockan and Lacken.
Cork's new cycling maps show the best bike routes to UCC, CIT, Kent train station, the bus station at Parnell Place and Fitzgerald’s Park, and the best cycling routes to the large employment hubs and suburban shopping centres at Mahon Point, Douglas, Bishopstown and Blackpool.
The maps also showcase eight Greenways which are perfect for a family cycle. Routes are colour-coded by road type - the maps show whether the cycle lanes are segregated, one-way, shared with cars and buses, on a quiet road or a Greenway.
TMF coordinator, Sandy McGroarty, said it only takes 20-minutes to cycle from the city centre to Mahon, most of which is on the picturesque Old Blackrock Railway line Greenway: "That sure beats sitting in traffic.
"Cycling has risen faster than any other transport mode in Cork over the last decade. It’s great fun: it saves you money, keeps you fit, is good for the environment and is often the fastest way to get around.
"It’s about the most effective action you can take to reduce your carbon emissions."
"Cycling around Cork can be made more enjoyable by using the routes suggested on the map which are often safer, quieter and quicker than other routes.
The map is also jam-packed with extra information on road safety, the benefits of cycling, important cycling links, popular route times and lots more.
While the quality of the city’s cycling infrastructure is variable, there have been improvements in recent years.
Vast improvements are planned under the ambitious Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Study, which calls for the investment of €230m in the development of 200km of primary bike lanes, 150km of secondary cycling network, 60km of inter-urban cycling networks and 140km of Greenways, with an expansion of the bike share scheme and improved ‘end-of-line’ facilities for cyclists such as showers and better parking, to help foster a culture of cycling in Cork.
The maps, which were developed with the support of Cork City Council and Healthy Ireland and which will be updated as cycling infrastructure improves, will be launched by Lord Mayor Cllr John Sheehan at the Passage to Blackrock Castle Observatory Family Fun Cycle on Sunday.
It is one of many events taking place as part of Bike Week 2019 which has grown steadily since its launch in 2009.
Last year more than 40,000 people participated in over 600 events across the country.
You can view the maps online and get details about Bike Week events at transportandmobilityforum.com; corkcyclingcampaign.com or corkcitycouncil.ie.