Wednesday, 20 April 2011
National Cycle Policy Framework
This is an easy one. The Deputy asks if there are plans to remove the mandatory use requirement for cycle lanes. The removal of the requirement to use cycle lanes where provided is one of the undertakings in the national cycle policy framework. Subject to finalising some safety aspects of the proposal, I hope to make the necessary amending regulations later in the year.
Where a cycle lane is provided, cyclists are required to use it, even if it is damaged or in a bad condition or inappropriate to use it. The Government agrees that the regulation should be changed and it will be.
Local authorities have made massive improvements to cycle lanes. I am glad to hear the Minister is reviewing the requirement to use cycle lanes, even where they are damaged, which does not make sense. In other countries alternatives are permitted if there is a pot-hole or other damage to cycle lanes. Has the Minister discussed the matter with the sustainable transport unit in his Department? Will he meet representatives of the Dublin Cycling Campaign? I believe they have contacted him, but I do not know if he has replied to them. Will he press forward with the commitments given in the national cycle policy framework and will he be issuing new policy statements in this regard?
The Minister of State, Deputy Alan Kelly, and I have had detailed discussions with the sustainable transport section in the Department. Subject to confirmation of the delegation order, most of these matters will fall into the brief of the Minister of State. He or I will meet representatives of the Dublin Cycling Campaign.
I have had a good look at the national cycle policy framework. It is a good framework, but what is missing is an implementation plan and budget. We must look at it closely, see which parts can be implemented and how much it will cost to do so. Like everything, it will be subject to cost constraints. There is still some money available in the sustainable transport budget. This is an area in which much can be delivered for a relatively small amount of money. I am encouraged to see that the number cycling into Dublin is increasing all the time, while the number of cars is going down. We must continue to encourage and support this trend.
I am happy with the Minister's reply. There are important projects at which we are all looking. One is the cycle path link from Clontarf to East Wall Road. If money is available, we should look at the projects that are considered most urgent and most in need of funding.