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Thursday 19 September 2019

'The streets in Galway weren't made for cars'

Colin Barry

Transport: Electric bike

Distance: 6km

Time: 15 minutes

Colin Barry with his BRITE e bike on the Salthill promenode. Photo: Ray Ryan
Colin Barry with his BRITE e bike on the Salthill promenode. Photo: Ray Ryan

The traffic jams in and around Galway city are a constant source of irritation to those who live there, including entrepreneur Colin Barry. "It's a medieval city," he says. "The streets and bridges just weren't made for cars. And the congestion is getting worse all the time."

He reckons he has found a solution. "I use an electric bike to get around," he says. "And it's a perfect way to cut journey times, especially if you're doing a longer commute. Someone coming into the city from Claregalway, say, [a 40km round-trip] might baulk at making that journey on a regular bike, but it's really easy on an e-bike and you'll get in faster in rush hour than you would in a car."

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Colin (40) is so enamoured by battery-powered commuting that he also tackles shorter journeys on both e-scooter and electric skateboard - and he is planning on establishing an e-scooter distribution business this year.

He says he is frustrated about reports of e-scooter riders being stopped by the gardaí and having their machines confiscated. "The road traffic legislation is completely out of date when it comes to transport options like these," he says. "Some might say they're illegal but there's no reference to them in the legislation, so how can they be illegal? What they are are carbon-neutral, environmentally friendly and affordable options to get around.

"We have to get serious about making our urban areas more user-friendly and to stop being so fixated on cars."

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