Majority want more cycling and walking supports even if it slows traffic and takes space off cars

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Caroline O'Doherty

City residents are strongly in favour of having more cycle lanes, more outdoor seating and more road crossings with shorter wait times to enable them to get around without cars.

A study of active travel in Dublin found high existing leve ls of walking and cycling throughout the city.

With 64pc walking or wheeling – using a wheelchair or mobility scooter – at least five days a week and 25pc cycling as often, they collectively take 330,000 cars off Dublin’s roads. Placed bumper to bumper, that number of cars would stretch all the way from Dublin to Skibbereen, Co Cork, and back.

Avoiding those car journeys also prevents 69,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.  But the survey of more than 1,100 residents found people would feel even more inclined to get around under their own steam if infrastructure was better.

More than three-quarters (76pc) support the installation of more road crossings with shorter waiting times, even though that would hold up traffic.

Almost as many, 71pc, said they would support building more dedicated cycle tracks, even if that meant less road room for other traffic.

And 79pc asked for more stop-and rest facilities to allow them catch their breath on longer trips, while 84pc were behind the creation of “20-minute neighbourhoods” where essential daily services and shops could be accessed within a 20-minute walk of home.

A majority, 60pc, were also in favour of closing off areas around schools to cars at drop-off and pick-up times.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said the results, contained in the 2021 Walking and Cycling Index, were “packed with good news”, as they showed walking and cycling was an integral part of Dublin life.

“Crucially, however, this report is also helping us build a picture of what people need, gaps in infrastructure and how we can improve things further so that we can make it more attracting for even more people to choose walking, wheeling and cycling in years to come,” he said.

The index, produced by sustainable transport charity Sustrans with the National Transport Authority (NTA) and city authorities, was published during Bike Week 2022, which runs until this Sunday with more than 600 special events around the country.

One stand-out statistic shows there is a way to go to encourage women to cycle. While 33pc of men cycled at least five days a week, the figure for women is just 18pc.