Bike paths to somewhere

Olivia Kelly reports that the national cycle path network has been unveiled. As is all too common, there is no trace of this with the Department of Transport or the National Roads Authority. There is a powerpoint from January 2010, though, which is consistent with Kelly’s description.

I’m all for cycling. I cycle to work. I wish more people would cycle, so that there are fewer cars on the road (they’re a menace, not just to women). A proper cycling policy is one of the few ways in which carbon dioxide emissions can be cut fast.

The national cycling network disappoints. Its primary aim is to connect Ireland’s main towns. People do not commute by bike from town to town. The distance is too large. Bike commuters travel from the near suburbs to the city centre (and back).

The cycle paths are for recreation so. It is instructive to compare the NRA’s proposed network to the one proposed by Failte (page 19). The Failte one takes the cyclist through a scenic landscape from one place of interest to the next. The NRA one takes the cyclist on the shortest route from population centre to population centre.

Bikes are not cars. You use them in a different way for a different purpose.