“We want to make cycling a realistic alternative to the car and encourage more people to take up cycling as a normal part of their everyday lives.”

The Social Democrats today 4 May 2019 publish an ambitious manifesto to change the mindset of local authorities when it comes to promoting and supporting safe cycling for people of all ages.

The launch takes place in Galway alongside the launch of the local election campaigns for the party’s candidates for Galway City Council.

The Social Democrats are fielding three candidates for Galway City Council in the first local elections the party has contested since it was set up in 2015. They are:

  • John Crowley, Galway City West
  • Owen Hanley, Galway City East
  • Sharon Nolan, Galway City Central

The manifesto being launched today, Safer Cycling for Healthier Communities, is a 12-point plan to make sure that cycling becomes a realistic alternative to car journeys with increased funding for cycling, improved road design and better enforcement of road traffic laws.

The plan includes:

  • Increasing to 10 per cent the amount spent on cycling and walking in the Land Transport Budget.
  • Constructing a network of segregated cycle lanes around the country – as a general rule if a cycle lane isn’t safe for a child to cycle alone, it’s substandard.
  • Investing heavily in additional greenways and cycling routes to further promote cycling as a family-friendly pursuit, while boosting tourism and local economies.
  • Extending ‘cycle bus’ initiatives, such as the Galway Cycle Bus, right across the country, and ensure that every school has a ‘safe route’ plan.
  • Annual quality and safety audits of cycling provision within each local authority area to identify blackspots and trends in injuries and fatalities.

Speaking at the launch Catherine Murphy TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats said:

“Ireland is far behind much of Europe in terms of cycling infrastructure and approach. We need to recognise that cycling is a major transport area that can contribute hugely to society. We want to make cycling a realistic alternative to the car and encourage more people to take up cycling as a normal part of their everyday lives.”

Roísín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats added:

“Already, our Councillors and representatives have been championing the cause of cycling, from our work in support of the Baldoyle to Portmarnock Cycleway in Dublin to the Naas Greenway in Kildare to the Cycle Bus Initiative in Galway. We want to build on this work and put cycling right at the heart of what public bodies, including our local authorities, do.”

Sharon Nolan, running in Galway City Central said:

“We have to reimagine transport across our city in Galway and across the country. City planning must move beyond car users alone. We need to support increased public transport and ensure that we have viable alternatives to cars, including strong and safe cycling routes.”

Owen Hanley, running in Galway City East said:

“Galway is plagued by inefficient, unsafe, and non-connected cycling lanes. The current transport system has completely failed and a new vision with cyclists at its heart is needed. We need strong voices fighting with dedicated cycling infrastructure throughout our city and suburbs.”

John Crowley, running in Galway City West said:

“There are great public cycling initiatives in Galway, such as the Galway Cycle Bus. This is a model that should be rolled out all across the country, along with local authorities working closely with schools to ensure that every school has an adequate safe routes plan. A better, more engaged Council is essential to achieving a safer and healthier cycling environment for all.”

ENDS

4th May 2019

Safer Cycling for Healthier Communities: The Social Democrats Cycling Manifesto for Local Government is available here.