Tuesday 22 October 2019

Thousands of cycling enthusiasts take part in parade to promote cycling

Over 1,500 people took part in the Velo-city bike parade today. Picture: Owen Breslin
Over 1,500 people took part in the Velo-city bike parade today. Picture: Owen Breslin

Markus Krug

More than 1,500 bikes filled the streets earlier today, when the Dublin Bike Parade took off at the Convention Centre as part of the world’s largest cycling conference Velo-city 2019.

The group was made up of the conference’s delegates as well as cycling enthusiasts, school children and families, who were all trying to promote cycling as a transport alternative.

"We are here to learn from each other, to inspire each other. Yes there are some countries that are leading in cycling but my hope is that many more countries will come join the leaders soon," said Mia Stampe Lagergaard from the Danish Road Directorate.

"My hope is that everybody of all ages and abilities can just get on their bicycles and cycle. That it just becomes a normal thing that you don’t even have to think about," added Dublin City Councillor Donna Cooney.

According to the organisers and delegates, the biggest issues in regards to cycling are infrastructural problems as well as a car-centred mind-set.

Brendan O’Brien of DCC’s Transportation Department said: "What we are suffering from is a lack of infrastructure. We haven’t had the funding in the last number of years to build segregated cycling lanes.

"We want to show a different side of Dublin to both the delegates and the people of Dublin. We want a city with a lot more infrastructure in place and with more people enjoying cycling.”

Maggie O’Donnell, Senior Executive ITS Officer at Dublin City Council, added; "The one car occupancy is no longer sustainable and we need good public transport but also healthy cycling activities and safe cycling structures as well."

The solutions for Dublin’s traffic problem could also lie in new technology and new approaches, according to the cyclists.

"We have been bringing cargo bikes and the solutions they represent into Ireland over the last ten years. It is super relevant in a place like Dublin, where public transport is lacking a bit and that is the third most congested city in Europe," said Olivier Vander Elst, Founder of Irish bike company GreenAer.

"Electric bikes are a really great option. Also, cargo bikes are still something fairly unknown for a lot of people but they are the future when it comes to deliveries in a city environment. The city cannot afford any more vans."

All of the delegates and organisers were hoping for a positive impulse from the Velo-city conference and the parade to showcase it.

"It is one of those movements that is simply unstoppable. The parade is a great manifestation of the love for cycling. Everybody here is ‘bike mad’ and to bring everyone together on a sunny afternoon in Dublin just creates a great vibe," Mr Vander Elst continued.

"It’s great to be in that big crowd during the parade. Everybody is cycling and happy. It is just wonderful."

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