Cycle Planning & Useful Information
The popularity of cycling in urban Ireland has dramatically increased over the last years. And, with Dublin bikes now readily available throughout Dublin and other major centres, getting around town quickly and affordably has never been easier. The below cycling frequently asked questions & answers detail how cycling can be of great benefit to your lifestyle.
Cycling gives you the control to ensure a reliable and fast journey time, to save money and to keep fit.Cycling is a reliable transport option, your journey time is almost guaranteed. Most people can cycle at an average 15km/hour, so 5km in about 20mins. The National Transport Authority is developing a cycle route planner during 2012. This will help you plan and time your cycle trip.
- The number of cyclists entering Dublin City has increased 42% over the period 2006 to 2011 (NTA report on the Canal Cordon Count Feb 2012)
- 38% of Irish people travel less 5km to work….about a 20min cycle. 60% of Irish people travel less than 10km to work. (census 2006)
You’d be amazed by how much you spend on transport.According to the AA Irelands 2011 survey of motoring costs, it now costs €11,817 a year to run a small family car in the 'Band C' tax category (typical engine size of 1251 – 1500cc); up by €646 on the figure for 2010. You can easily get a good bike and kit it out for a fraction of that cost. Once you’ve bought a bike your transport is free. So aside from being healthier, benefiting from predictable journey times and helping the environment you save yourself a fortune by cycling. Did you know that the cost of buying and maintaining a bike is approximately 1% the cost of buying and maintaining a car?
Cycling is good for you.Studies show that regular cyclists are as fit as the average person 10 years younger, are less likely to suffer from depression and are more likely to sleep better. (From www.dublincitycycling.ie the Dublin City Council website) The National Guidelines for Physical Activity say All adults need to accumulate moderate intensity aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes on five days a week. Building cycling into your day will help you achieve this every day, at every age, without even trying...The 30mins can be built up during the day for example by 2 x 15 minutes’ cycle to a public transport stop. Holland and Denmark, countries where cycling is a mainstream mode of transport significantly lower levels of adult and childhood obesity. The average annual rainfall in Dublin less than that of Amsterdam, a city that has a strong cycling culture.
Cars produce an average of 0.3kg of CO2 per km travelled.That’s more than 20 balloons of C02 per km. (working from a TfL stat on their cycling page) Cycling 5km each way to work instead of driving saves an average of 0.6 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year and reduces the effects of global warming. Substituting car trips with bike trips also helps the environment by reducing noise pollution, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons. Hundreds of millions are spent on road maintenance on Irish roads every year (from NRA annual report and DoE non-national road grant information). More cars and heavier vehicles on our roads accelerate the process of wear and tear. Cycling has a negligible impact on road surface quality so replacing car trips with bike trips could save us all millions in road maintenance costs.
Cycling is fun, efficient, easy and safe if you watch out for other traffic and follow the Rules of the Road.Check out ten top tips for safe cycling from Dublin City Councils www.dublincitycycling.ie
- Trucks have limited visibility. Please avoid positioning yourself on the inside of large vehicles (trucks, buses, lorries) turning left. Particularly at junctions don’t try to squeeze past as the light may turn green unexpectedly. Remember that on tight turns HGVs often swing right before turning left.
- Your bike should be the right size for you. As a rule of thumb, your legs should not be fully extended when you are pedalling, and you should be able to reach the ground with ease with your feet when you are slowing or stopped.
- Make sure your brakes are in good condition and it is not only a legal requirement but also common sense to have a bell on your bike, in an easily reachable place.
- If you are carrying anything, tie it securely to the back carrier, use the basket, or use panniers. Carrying things on your handlebars is not advised.
- Remember, the Rules of the Road apply to all road users so you should familiarise yourself with them – especially the section dedicated to cycling – before taking to the road.
- Obey traffic signs - red lights mean stop for cyclists as well!
- Always be alert to what’s happening around you. If you wear a helmet, make sure it fits properly and doesn’t impede your vision.
- When you brake in an emergency, keep your weight on the saddle. Apply the back and front brakes evenly.
- When cycling at night, it is not only a legal requirement, but a vital safety measure, that you have a white front light, a red back light and a rear reflector. Also you may want to consider wearing a reflective ‘high-visibility’ jacket or reflective strips on clothing. These help motorists to see you.
- Don’t forget to get your bike serviced regularly.
BikeYou can commute on any bike so get one with a comfortable seat which allows you to sit in a reasonably upright posture. Cycling with your head somewhere below the handlebars may be alright for the Tour de France but it's not recommended for commuting. Any bike with accessible gears and brakes on flat bars - are great and the simpler, the better. A commuter bike needs to be a reliable and comfortable and have mudguards and a chainguard which protect your clothes. It's also worth getting a back carrier or front basket so you can carry bags, groceries etc..
LockGet a good lock. It cannot be overstated how much it is worth your investment. Such a lock will typically cost between €40-€75. Although locks all may look the same to you a thief will know the difference and will target a cheaper lock as it will be a lot easier to force open.
LightsWhen cycling in the dark, it is not only a legal requirement but crazy not to have a white front light and back red light. Again invest in high quality reliable options.
ClothingFor most commutes your regular clothing is fine. Layering breathable gear is a good way to arrive fresh but a good jacket will only work well if there are breathable layers worn underneath it. Wear something reflective if you plan to cycle in the dusk and dark. Try either a Sam Browne belt (around waist and over shoulder) or a tabbard/gilet/vest. Invest in good rain gear (jacket and pants) for the rainy days, once you have it on you can cycle happily through the wet.
HelmetThe Road Safety Authority strongly recommends wearing a helmet but it is not a legal requirement so it’s up to you to make the choice. Whatever you do, try as many on as possible before you buy and make sure you get help in your bike shop. An incorrectly fitted helmet is a waste of time.
How often does it rain?Surveys show the likelihood of getting caught in the rain while walking or cycling is much less than most people think.
“The general impression is that it rains quite a lot of the time in Ireland but in fact two out of three hourly observations will not report any measurable rainfall” - Met EireannRemember before you jump in the car on a rainy day that everyone else is having the same idea so traffic gets even worse. Get good rain gear for days when you might get caught in a shower. Of course, no-one says you have to cycle every day, so if you’re worried about a particularly ugly looking cloud lurking on the horizon maybe just get the bus in that day. On average it rains in Dublin during 8-9am and 5-6pm less than 12% of days. That’s less than 1.5 days a month! (NTA report on rainfall 2003-2008). Read more details on Ireland’s rainfall from Met Eireann.
Below are on Tips on Security from the Dublin Cycle Campaign – they made a useful video with Dublin City Council and the Gardaí here.
Locks– You should be spending at least 10% of the value of your bike on locks, this should not be much less than €50 – Although locks all may look the same to you a thief will know the difference and will target a cheaper lock as it will be a lot easier to force open – Buying two different types of locks is often the best option; thieves will often carry a lock cutter for one type of lock, but not both
Tips for locking your bike– Best to lock your bike to the 'Sheffield' type stands where they are available – Always lock the wheels as well as the frame as your bike is less likely to fall to the ground and be damaged or cause an obstacle for pedestrians. – Many bikes come with 'quick release' wheels, these are easily stolen, your local bike shop can change the quick release part for less than €20 for both wheels. This goes for quick release saddle too, best to change the quick release there also – Do not leave slack on a cable or chain lock, this creates an opportunity to lever the lock open, so wrap any loose cable or chain around again – Do not leave the lock close to the ground, this creates an opportunity to smash the lock open with a hammer – Many bikes are stolen because of what they are locked to not what they are locked with, make sure whatever you lock your bike to can not be moved or lifted like some poles can be – Avoid poles if you can, you bike can easily fall over resulting in damage to your wheels – Always lock your bike even at home in the shed or in work etc… – If your locking your bike in Dublin City Centre consider using the Drury Street Car Park, they have a large section allocated to bikes
Store It Securely
More than half of all bicycle thefts occur on the owner's property. Remember to always secure your cycle - indoors, in a locked shed, or locked to a stairwell or approved storage area.
Record Your Info
Write down your bicycle model, make and frame number and take photos of your bike and you with your bike. This assists the Gardaí in returning recovered bikes to their owners. Some Garda stations will take your bike details. You can also use www.bikeregister.ie to record your details.
The frame serial number on a bicycle can be found on the frame near one of the places highlighted
The Gardai post pictures of stolen bikes on the Flickr photo-sharing site here.Click here for Garda security info sheet
Dublin City Council's dublinbikes scheme provides 40 public bike stations around the city with 450 bikes available for general public use. The network of stations extends from the Mater Hospital in the north to the Grand Canal in the south and from Smithfield in the west to the IFSC and North Docklands in the east. You can signup on www.dublinbikes.ie today.
Green-Schools Travel Top tips to promote Cycling to SchoolA toolkit was developed by the National Transport Authority and Green Schools Travel to help your school promote walking, cycling and other forms of sustainable travel. The intended audience is teachers, parents and other responsible members of a school community, who can then share and discuss the ideas contained with both primary and secondary pupils. Download the toolkit here If you are outside of the Green-Schools Travel programme be optimistic but realistic about what you can achieve. Experience has shown you’ll need strong support from a champion within your school, parents, the Gardai and your Local Authority. Being in the Green Schools travel programme will greatly assist in getting this support. While every school is different, schools should probably start with easy to do initiatives, such as promoting a “one-day-a-week” initiative such as Walk or Cycle on Wednesday. Then as your school builds confidence and capacity you can take on more of the ideas listed
The Following Sections Include:– Cycle Training – Raising Awareness – Cycle on Wednesdays – Create an Incentive – Revamp cycle parking – Bike Doctor
Cycle TrainingA good way to become experienced and confident as a cyclist is to undertake a cycle training course. A cycle training course will allow you to practice your cycling skills away from traffic, before venturing into quiet traffic situations. Contact your Local Authority or Road Safety Officer for further information and to find out if it is happening in your area. Cycle training can take place during or after class time depending on your school’s situation.
Cycle on WednesdaysTo get people to trial cycling or to feel more confident on a bike, you could encourage them to cycle one day a week. Green-Schools Travel has a Cycle on Wednesday (COW) initiative which encourages students, staff and parents to cycle to school on a Wednesday. This is a great way to instill a cycling culture as the more people cycle once a week the more likely they will cycle on other days of the week. Did you know? – More pupils would prefer to cycle to school than go by any other transport – 85% of school pupils own a bike (Green School Annual report 2011 survey sample 9,641)
Cycle on Wednesday Roscommon Community College
Raise AwarenessYou could have a poster competition in your school or community to promote cycling. You could also create a map of the area showing local cycling routes and cycle parking locations. Ask your local library or sports centre to display the winning entries. National Bike Week takes place every June - Check out www.bikeweek.ie to register an event or to find events to take part in. There are also lots of tips and advice on other events that will inspire ideas for your school.
Create an IncentiveSometimes it is a good idea to offer an award as this will create an incentive. Award a ‘Cyclist of the Month’ by giving them a prize for cycling the most often or the furthest. You could reward cyclists by offering them a healthy breakfast or a refreshing smoothie for each day they cycle during a dedicated week. This could be sponsored by a local business. The bicycle lottery could be another incentive by giving a raffle ticket to an individual every time they cycle. The more you cycle the more tickets you get, thus increasing your chances of winning.
Revamp Cycle ParkingIf you are going to cycle you will need somewhere safe and secure to leave your bicycle. You will need to ensure your parking is suitable for the bicycles in question and that it is in a suitable place for cyclists to use, for example, parking where cyclists can lock their bike frames (not the wheels), near entrances, covered, well lit with people passing by. Publicise your cycle parking. If people don’t know where it is, then it will not be used. Contact your local authority for possible funding sources for cycle parking.
Cycle Parking, Scoil Aodán Naofa, Carnew Wicklow
Bike DoctorLots of bicycles lie at the bottom of the garden rusting away or in the shed because they have a flat tyre. Why not organise a bike mechanic to deliver a workshop for your school to get those bikes back in shape? Contact a local cycling enthusiast or bike shop mechanic to deliver a workshop.
Children in St. Francis National School, Limerick, at their bike maintenance class