Fingal Safe Cycling Action Group

This group has been set up to “accelerate the provision of safe (off road) cycling routes in Fingal“. They have also called for “the development of a national cycle route strategy, and the establishment of SUSTRANS in the Republic.”

Their focus seems to be very much on creating safe cycling routes for children in particular, in order to encourage more young people to start cycling. While I’m very much in favour of both safety and encouraging children to start cycling, I’m dubious about the off-road focus. The group would see their campaign as being complementary to campaigns for urban commuter cyclists, such as the Dublin Cycling Campaign, but in a sense campaigning for off-road routes is a tacit concession that the roads cannot be made safe for cycling. I believe campaigners should continue to focus on making existing roads safe for cycling, and challenging the notion that roads should be designed for motorised traffic alone.

Having said that, cycling campaigners cannot ignore the fact that in the current environment families will pragmatically decide that the roads are simply not for them. It’s hard to argue that parents should expose their children to perceived risks for the sake of safer roads in the future. Commuter cycling campaigns need to make some sort of common cause with groups like this, otherwise we will fall victim to the ever-effective “divide and rule” tactic. There is no easier excuse for lack of political action than “these people can’t even decide what they want”.

Further discussion: The group have a post on the cycle path debate and David Healy has made a good contribution to another post on the site. There is also a boards.ie discussion.

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