Paddy Cahill and myself are shooting cycling documentaries with Dubliners… This one is with Ally Menary, from An Taisce.
Dublin is heading for a fall:
Dublin City Council is axing the Cycling Officer (read our interview wit Ciaran Fallon, written more than a year ago – in happier times).
This is a call to action.
Please join the Dublin Cycling Campaign, and help us keep our cycling officer.
Dublin needs your help. Now.
Join the protest,
sign the petition,
and write to your local Councillors (instructions follow…).
INSTRUCTIONS FOR WRITING TO COUNCILLORS
We abhor the failure of Dublin City Council (DCC) to find funding to continue the contract of the Cycling Officer. We understand that the Cycling Officer’s position has been funded up to now by the Department of the Environment, Communications and Local Government, but this contract ceases on January 5th.
A Cycling Officer is needed not only to represent the interests of the increasing number of Dubliners who already cycle, but to rapidly increase modal share, by-
- Co-ordinating & guiding DCC policy towards increasing cycling, e.g. by reviewing draft policy documents like the Development Plan and contributing to the Transport Strategic Policy Committee, etc.;
- As an engineer, counteracting the mindset of roads engineers who have been trained in outmoded, car-based transport principles;
- Publicly promoting cycling, as done very successfully with the recent family-oriented Sky Ride, when 10,000 Dubliners took to their bikes in the city and gave an enthusiastic response.
We in the Campaign have developed an excellent working relationship with the current Officer, but all citizens can see the tangible results. Due to bigger cycling numbers, Dublin’s streets are now quieter, less congested and, most importantly, safer for ALL road users.
The background to this issue is the mystifying way transport has developed in Ireland:
- How is it that our roads have been made unsafe for kids to cycle to school, when over 300,000 of our children are overweight or obese?
- How is it that, with car ownership now costing over €10,000 per year, and a crazy 40% of short trips being made by car, we’re not energetically pushing this low-cost transport mode?
- Why is our Department of the Environment apparently reducing funding, when research published last week showed that high cycling numbers could make a huge dent in Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions?
- Are we really content to simply continue to sit in traffic jams? A Dublin Underground is not going to materialise any time soon. Cycling is a quick, easy, very cheap answer to congestion.
It’s clear (and it’s in the Government’s own Cycle Policy Framework) that there should be not only a Dublin Cycling Officer, but a Cycling Tsar or team at Government level, and one in every Local Authority in the State. Departments of Health and Children, Transport, Tourism and Sport, and Environment all bear responsibility here. Yes, budgets are tight, but with a 20 to 1 return on investment in cycling (the huge health benefits to the population allow immense savings), it’s crazy to penny-pinch one key professional’s salary.
Indeed, we would be very interested to see DCC’s cost/benefit analysis of the decision to end this contract, given that its Transportation division expenditure was €73 million for 2010, and the Dublin Bikes scheme alone brings in €400,000. Funding is not the problem here, it’s ill-informed and regressive thinking.
DUBLIN CYCLING CAMPAIGN
Dublin City Councillors are listed here-
Maria Parodi firstname.lastname@example.org
Pat McCartan email@example.com
Dermot Lacey firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Mary Freehill firstname.lastname@example.org
Mannix Flynn email@example.com
Kieran Binchy Kieran.Binchy@dublincity.ie
Gerry Ashe firstname.lastname@example.org
Edie Wynne email@example.com
Oisin Quinn firstname.lastname@example.org
Dublin TDs listed below. Often a TD’s e-mail address is like- Name.McName@oireachtas.ie
Dublin Central (4)
Dublin West (4)
Joan Burton (Labour)
Leo Varadkar (FG)
Joe Higgins (Socialist/ULA)
Patrick Nulty (Labour/Ind)
Dublin North (4)
James Reilly (FG)
Brendan Ryan (Labour)
Clare Daly (Socialist/ULA)
Alan Farrell (FG)
Dublin North Central (3)
Richard Bruton (FG)
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (Labour)
Finian McGrath (Ind)
Dublin North East (3)
Terence Flanagan (FG)
Tommy Broughan (Labour)
Sean Kenny (Labour)
Dublin North West (3)
Roisin Shortall (Labour)
John Lyons (Labour)
Dessie Ellis (SF)
Dublin Mid-West (4)
Joanna Tuffy (Labour)
Frances Fitzgerald (FG)
Robert Dowds (Labour)
Derek Keating (FG)
Dublin South (5)
Shane Ross (Ind)
Alex White (Labour)
Peter Matthews (FG)
Alan Shatter (FG)
Olivia Mitchell (FG)
Dublin South Central (5)
Eric Byrne (Labour)
Aengus O Snodaigh (SF)
Catherine Byrne (FG)
Joan Collins (PBP/ULA)
Michael Conaghan (Labour)
Dublin South East (4)
Ruari Quinn (Labour)
Lucinda Creighton (FG) email@example.com
Eoghan Murphy (FG)firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Humphreys (Labour)
Dublin South West (4)
Pat Rabbitte (Labour)
Brian Hayes (FG)
Sean Crowe (SF)
Eamonn Maloney (Labour)
Dun Laoghaire (4)
Eamon Gilmore (Labour)
Seán Barrett (FG)
Mary Mitchell O’Connor (FG)
Richard Boyd Barrett (PBP/ULA)
Like I wrote in my last blog post, the Ollie and Lisa from GreenAer hosted a very special cycling tour through Dublin, this weekend.
I’m showing the pictures, just to show you I wasn’t exaggerating.
Well – what do you think? Something we should do more often?
I’m not sure whether all my readers are aware of Movember - the global grass roots charity that aims to promote men’s health by growing a moustache in November. The moustache is called a Mo, and November thus becomes Movember.
It’s a cool movement and it has done tremendously well in Ireland.
Last year, Movember Ireland raised over EUR 1.6 million. The funds were used, amongst others, to build research centres for prostate cancer in Trinity College. The funds keep several staff employed there full time now. And this is just one of many concrete examples of how Movember has changed the face of men’s health.
With this blog, I’m urging you – all my readers – to generously help this great charity again this year. And: I’m also urging you to have some good cycling fun at the same time. You can help in the battle against prostate cancer this year by joining the Movember cycle tour:
The event takes place on the 28th of November, starts at GreenAer (12a Magennis Place, just off Pearse St.) at 14.00, and ends in the city centre at 17.00. Cyclists with a convincing ‘rugged outfit’ have a chance to win great prizes as well. If you can’t make the cycle tour, feel free to donate to the folks cycling for charity.
Let’s show the world our appetite for doing good is even bigger this year than last.
If we succeed, I imagine the Movember folks might reward us with an even longer period of fundraising in 2012, having us start in October already, growing beards instead of moustaches, calling it Octobeard.
Has a ring to it, no?
What you see here, is a Chinese bookkeeper presenting an article (the picture was taken by my friends Aude and Willem, who found the book in a Shanghai bookshop and were thrilled to read familiar English, after months of unintelligible Chinese characters).
The article explains how significant cycling is for Chinese culture. If you zoom in, you should be able to read the article – and learn how back in the 1970s, the bicycle was one of the three most prized possessions of Chinese families (together with: their sowing machine and wrist watch). The article states: “If someone lost a bicycle, the public security bureau would handle the case with great force”.
I repeat: “force”.
I wonder what would happen if the Gardai took a similar approach to bike theft in Dublin. I mean: nobody would want to be on the wrong end of that investigation, right?
Of course, China has changed since the 1970s. However, that bikes continue to be prized possessions in China can be seen in the 2 pictures below: diamond frame bicycles on display in an upmarket art gallery in Shanghai.
I wonder what the Chinese public bureau would do if that one got stolen?
Some of our readers may be aware of our efforts in Dublin to sell Dutch delivery bicycles.
While we have gotten very positive responses to our Dutch delivery bicycles, Dubliners still need a bit of time to get used to the idea.
Looking at the pictures my friend Aude took in India, makes me think people there would need less time. The Indians have identified transport and delivery options for bikes even the Dutch have never dreamt of.
Even the Indian Oil company seems to use bikes for transport, rather than machines running on oil.
My friends, Aude and Willem, have been travelling through Asia for 5 months. Upon their return, they brought me a present: pictures of cyclists in India, Birma, Cambodia, Laos and China. To show how the Dutch claim to cycling fame is tenuous.
The pictures have hit a spot – in a good way.
Over the course of the coming weeks, I’m sharing the pictures with you. I am curious to hear your thoughts. Have you been to Asia? And do we need to replace the Dutch and Danish bike ambassadors with Cambodian or Chinese? Do not hesitate to drop me a line, via the comments section below.
This picture, number 1 of 60, was taken in Birma.