What Do The #GE2020 Manifestos Say About Cycling?

All of the political parties have published their manifestos ahead of #GE2020, and Martina Callinan of Galway Cycling Campaign & Cyclist.ie has gone through each one to see where each of the parties stand on cycling.

At last, we’ve got all the party #GE2020 manifestos. We’re judging promises against our 10 Asks to Make Cycling Better and Safer for All. Our priorities for everyday cycling are funding, infrastructure, and resources.

After our review of manifestos regarding cycling:

Most detailed policies: Fine Gael (FG), Green Party (GP), Lab (Labour), Social Democrats (SD)

Fewest details: Fianna Fáil (FF), Sinn Féin (SF), S-PBP (Solidarity-People Before Profit)

No manifestos available from other parties.

A note – we love Greenways but they’re budgeted as tourism facilities. We focus on everyday cycling for transport. People of rural Ireland need more than greenways to get to school, work, our local shops & sports grounds. We demand better.

Our #1 ask is for 10% of the Land Transport Budget for cycling (i.e. €146m/y), or 20% for cycling & walking combined #AllocateForCycling

Greens: Yes

Soc Dems: Yes

Lab: 10% cycling & walking; 20% in med-term

FF: €50m for ‘urban cycling’; no time

FG: 10% carbon tax for c&w (€60m/y)

GP, Lab and SD are playing senior hurling. FF and FG are in the minors. SF has no funding commitment. S-PBP has one-off €165m investment commitment.

Our #2 Ask is for a National Cycling Office in the Dept of Transport to coordinate policy + funding

Soc Dems: Yes

Not mentioned by FF*, FG, GP, Lab, SF, S-PBP

*FF: was in 2018 cycling policy; disappointed it’s not in manifesto

**Our #3 Ask: high quality cycling infrastructure **

Segregated cycle lanes are mentioned by all and the concept of interconnected networks is accepted. But what are the new* ideas? We want high quality cycling infrastructure (*BusConnects and plans for associated urban cycle paths are underway)

FF: no new projects

FG: convert lightly trafficked roads to Priority Cycle Routes

GP: retrofit Ireland’s 50 most dangerous junctions

Lab: segregated off-road Cycling Highways

SF: review greenways

Quality cycle infrastructure is not just about segregated bike lanes. This also includes traffic light signalling, storage & bike sharing:

Contra-flow cycling and cycle traffic lights: GP, SD

Expand public bike schemes: Lab, SD

Secure bike parking, esp at transport hubs, is promised by FF, FG, GP, Lab, SD

Only GP and SD have plans to allow bikes to be transported on buses & trains, and so facilitate more bike commuting

Cycling #4 Ask: lower speed limits

The speed of motor traffic has the greatest impact in collisions on injuries & fatalities. We want a default 30km/h urban speed limit. Who agrees with us?

No-one, yet. (Brussels will have 30km/h default next Jan)

FF promises a full review of speed limits across Ireland

FG promises to examine local speed limits

SD will expand the range of urban areas covered by 30km/h

No mention of speed limits from Lab, GP, SF, S-PBP.

Our #5 Ask: We want safe routes to school

We need infra + lower speed limits in school zones, i.e. more than school cycle training (FG, GP), purchase schemes (Lab) or cycle buses (FG, GP, Lab, SD).

Nada from SF.

What manifestos promise to make safer routes to school?

Infra - safe cycling & walking paths around schools

Greens: Yes Soc Dems: Yes

Speed limit reviews: FF FG Soc Dems

Remember, adults offer themselves as human shields aka ‘a cycle bus’ because our routes to school are not safe for school children to travel alone. Roundabouts are significant, and unavoidable, hazards. Cycling is normal, but being brave helps, and having adults as human shields aka ‘cycle buses’ is an unfortunate necessity for school children. We need segregated off-road paths & quiet routes.

Many member groups make submissions on local planning projects. Here, Galway Cycling Campaign shows that a new residential estate doesn’t have direct, quiet, walk & cycle routes to two local schools. Kids will be forced onto busy roads, hostile junctions, poor paths.

Ask #6: we want transport spend to be rebalanced in favour of public transport & active travel

Project Ireland 2040 sets out a 2:1 spend in favour of PT to road transport for new infra

So, who agrees?

FG: Yes GP: Yes

Lots of talk by FF, Lab, SD, SF, but we want that 2:1 ratio.

Ask #7: We want an e-bike purchase subsidy scheme*, similar to the current scheme for e-cars

No-one has promised this yet. E-bikes are the future of e-vehicles, not e-cars. E-bikes cost more than the €1,000 limit of the Cycle to Work scheme.

GP: EV incentives will include & favour e-bikes, but no detail

SD: will look to include e-bikes in an expanded Cycle to Work scheme

Because I’ve had my lunchtime sandwich, I’m going to be incredibly optimistic & assume that e-bikes are considered e-vehicles by FG, Lab & SF Netherlands, as ever the leader in making cycling easier, safer, and cheaper, is expecting an even greater e-bike boom as tax breaks and incentives kick in for 2020

Ask #8: better design guidance for planners & engineers

Our National Cycle Manual needs urgent updating: who promises to do this?

FG: Yes

What models do others reference?

GP - the Netherlands SD - Copenhagen, Seville

No mention from FF, LP, SF, S-PBP.

Ask #9: urban planning to prioritise active travel

Cycling & walking are at the heart of urban dev projects, as per DMURS. Our new govt needs to implement street designs that minimise need for car-travel & creates direct c&w routes.

Finally, our Ask #10: better Garda enforcement for people who cycle & walk

Who has specific ideas?

FF, FG, Lab, SD

Only FG promise a review of road traffic legislation as it relates to cycling

Anti-theft bike measures are welcome (FF, Lab, SD), esp bike registers (FF, Lab). So too is a new Garda unit dedicated to deter bike theft (Lab). But we need more than safeguarding property, we need enforcement to protect our bodies.

98% vehicles break the speed limit in 30km/h urban areas! We want default 30km/h urban speed limits. No party supports default 30km/h to date.

FG, FF and SD have some promises to review speeds.

Gardaí need to prioritise enforcing existing laws to protect people’s bodies from motor traffic: cyclist specific dangerous overtaking (SD) illegal parking in cycling lanes (SD), and speed limits (FF, FG, SD)

We understand Gardaí can’t be everywhere. With video reporting, they could be anywhere. In UK & Oz, footage of alleged traffic offence is uploaded to dedicated police online portal. Incidents are triaged by a dedicated police unit. This is a good example of how online digital reporting works in the UK - Northamptonshire police prosecute dangerous overtaking a cyclist.

In Spain, police accept online dash cam footage for alleged traffic offences. One bike club –> 3,000 successful prosecutions

So that’s our 10 Asks for #GE2020

  1. 10% land transport funding
  2. National Cycling Office
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Urban 30 km/h
  5. Safe routes to school
  6. Rebalance transport spend
  7. E-bikes
  8. Policy & design guidance
  9. Planning & active travel
  10. Policing

Cyclists make up 10% of commuters in Dublin, 6% in Galway, 4% in Cork & 3% in Limerick. Extensive cycling manifestos are clearly by parties that have listened to & engaged with cycling advocates; we’re always happy to chat!

Make cycling better & safer for all #GE2020. #ibikeivote

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Thursday, 6 February 2020 (All day)

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