Cork Cycling Survey: Prioritising Measures that Promote cycling

We know that higher rates of cycling can make a hugely positive difference to cities and commuties, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and making for more vibrant and sustainable communities.  To assess their perceived effectiveness in increasing the number of people who cycle, the Cork Cycling Campaign surveyed people’s opinions on ten cycling-related measures.  The results are now in!

Download the full report here or read the Executive Summary below

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Increased rates of cycling have tremendous potential to ameliorate Cork’s acute traffic congestion and associated problems, and to contribute towards making the city  more attractive, sustainable, and competitive, with a better quality of life for all its people. To assess their perceived effectiveness in increasing the number of people who cycle, the Cork Cycling Campaign surveyed people’s opinions on ten cycling-related measures.  The survey received 837 responses, an extraordinarily strong response for a small city. Two thirds of respondents were regular cyclists while one third cycled infrequently or not at all. There was a strikingly high level of agreement across the different cyclist types, with some measures consistently rated more effective than others.

Measures to improve primary cycling infrastructure were clearly viewed as the most effective in encouraging more people to cycle.  These measures were ensuring continuity of cycle lanes, segregating cycle paths from motor traffic, keeping motor vehicles from parking in cycle lanes, and keeping such lanes clean and free of hazards.  Secondary cycle related infrastructure — expansion of the Cork public bike scheme and greater parking for bikes — was also seen as being effective. Other measures were viewed as moderately effective in promoting higher rates of cycling. Several themes recurred in written comments, including the need for educational campaigns around safe and considerate sharing of roads and pathways, and for better enforcement of road rules.

We make several recommendations based on the findings in this, probably the first such, survey in Ireland. We recommend placing greatest emphasis on delivering high quality primary cycle infrastructure — this means cycle paths that are physically segregated from other traffic wherever possible and continuous cycle lanes elsewhere.  To be useful, it is also critical that cycling infrastructure be maintained and kept free of debris, hazards, and parked vehicles. Secondary infrastructure, like bike parking and expanding the Coke bike sharing scheme, should also be provided; they are cost-effective means to further promote cycling in the city. To deliver a coherent and effective cycle network that makes a real difference to personal transport in the city, cycling should be incorporated as a central pillar of Cork’s City Centre Movement Strategy.

Because such infrastructure investment needs a major financial commitment at the national level, we strongly recommend that the proportion of the land transport budget for cycling be increased to 10%, in line with the Allocate4Cycling Campaign.

Although this survey focussed specifically on cycling in Cork, the findings reported here are expected to be widely relevant to other cities and towns in Ireland and elsewhere.

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