State to fund cycle parking facilities

 

MINISTER FOR Transport Noel Dempsey is to provide almost €500,000 for cycle parking facilities in schools and businesses including €120,000 to 30 private companies.

The money, which will be used to provide cycle stands, and shelters where necessary, is being provided to encourage more people to cycle to work or to school. The €500,000 is being provided this year on a pilot basis and may be increased next year, depending on the success of the scheme.

Fewer than 2 per cent of commuters cycle to work. In Dublin more than 100,000 people drive a distance of less than 4km and 45,000 people use their car for a commute of under 2km, even though cycling is quicker for journeys of less than 6km in cities, the Department of Transport said.

More than 60 per cent of children are brought to school by car. The number of primary school children cycling to school has fallen by more than 80 per cent in 20 years. Girls are three times less likely to travel to school by bicycle than boys.

The bulk of the money, about €340,000, will be used to provide cycle parking facilities in 76 schools, which have agreed to promote cycling and provide cycle training for students.

The remainder will be available for about 30 businesses, mostly in the greater Dublin area. These companies will be chosen from organisations involved in the Dublin Transportation Office’s smarter travel workplaces scheme.

The scheme encourages cycling, walking, car-pooling, public transport use and video conferences as an alternative to business travel. Eligible companies include Vodafone, the ESB, the Dublin Airport Authority, KPMG and Eircom.

A spokeswoman for the DTO said a lack of facilities for bicycles had been highlighted as an issue for some organisations, in participating in the tax-free cycle to work scheme. In a DTO study on attitudes to cycling to work in Dublin, 35 per cent of car commuters said more secure cycle parking facilities would encourage them to switch to bicycles.