Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Promoting Cycling: Motion [Private Members]
In the two minutes I have, I would like to compliment Deputy Troy on bringing this motion forward. It is vitally important we treat this discussion and this Private Members' motion with the seriousness it deserves. There is no doubt about the number of people engaging in cycling as part of their commute or as a leisure activity. There is a huge growth. It behoves us in this House and, in particular, the Minister and his Department to accept this is a growth area with many more people participating.
Over the last number of years, we have seen cycling clubs right across the country encourage young people to get involved with cycling as a sport or recreation. Cycling has also come into the mainstream with many people attracted to it. There is, however, one fundamental issue. That is the safety of cyclists and how they perceive the State acting to welcome cyclists onto the roads and make an accommodation for them. As the previous speaker said, cycling's time has come. There is no doubt about that.
I ask the Minister to engage with the discussion and to listen to the points we are making. This is fundamentally important. If he could leave his phone alone for the moment and listen to what we are saying, it is important for us to articulate that there is concern for cyclists. Cycling is the way to go and everybody is telling us that because of a whole raft of issues from commuting, health and safety and physical and mental well-being. The public are streets ahead of politicians, this House and the Minister's Department. They are certainly streets ahead of the Minister in respect of where they want to take cycling and cyclists. It behoves us to listen to the contributions tonight and make sure this is prioritised. The budget should not be slashed in half, as we have seen. It should be increased and accommodation made for people cycling for their commute or for leisure and the benefits derived from that.