Climate crisis demands more bicycle-friendly cities

A transformative approach is needed

Sir, – I agree with Anne Doherty (Letters, March 2nd) that a good U-lock drastically reduces the risk of bike theft. Having had a bike stolen annually for about 10 years, I invested in a high-quality U-lock about five years ago and haven’t had a bike stolen since.

The advice from a Bike Theft Study group from a few years ago which comprised Dublin Cycling Campaign, City Council, An Garda Síochána and the National Transport Authority was: use a high quality U-lock; reduce the market for stolen bikes – don’t buy a second-hand bike if the seller can’t provide proof of purchase; use indoor cycle parking on Drury Street, Cathal Brugha Street and Jervis Street. – Yours, etc,


Dublin Cycling Campaign,


Dublin 4.

Sir, – Anne Doherty (Letters, March 2) highlights the value of a “good U-lock” when leaving a bike in the city. Sensible advice, along with being choosy about where exactly one leaves it.

The bigger picture here is the need in all our towns and cities for plentiful, high-quality and well-located bike parking, and it’s time we upped our ambitions on this front. In January 2023, Amsterdam opened its underwater bike garage for 7000 bicycles, and this followed Utrecht’s bicycle parking Stationsplein which houses 12,500 bicycles. Other examples include Malmo’s Bike-n-Ride facility at Central Station for 1,500 bikes with 24/7 access and patrolled by station guards. Credit is certainly due to Dublin City Council for its indoor cycle parking on Cathal Brugha, Drury and Jervis Streets, and there is a great opportunity now to build state of the art bike parking stations in all cities, and at existing and planned public transport stations, to cater for intermodal journeys and to house more expensive e-bikes and cargo-bikes.

There is of course a wider frame to keep in mind. In December, Climate Action Plan 2023 was published and it reminded us that for the transport sector in 2021 to 2025, we are working off a carbon budget of 54 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent and this requires emissions reductions of 4.1 per cent per annum; while for 2026 to 2030, transport’s budget is just 37 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, and this will require transport emissions reductions of 9.4 per cent per annum. The scale of these emissions reductions has not yet widely sunk in.

The days of thinking that tinkering around the edges of our transport policy will bring about the rapid decarbonisation of transport and of society need to end. This is made very clear in the OECD’s (2022) Redesigning Ireland’s Transport for Net Zero report, which found that the Irish transport system embeds car dependency and increased emissions by design. We need transformative changes in the sector.

The public debate on improving the quality of our journey experiences needs to sit in the broader – and unfortunately much more challenging – context of redesigning transport systems that can truly support our “net-zero emissions” ambition. Otherwise, large parts of our much loved coastal towns and cities – and housing stock – will lie underwater for the next generations to deal with. We won’t be thanked. – Yours, etc,


National Cycling

Coordinator, and An Taisce,

Dublin 8.