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New cycling chairman gets on the saddle

Saturday, 23rd April, 2016 8:00pm
New cycling chairman gets on the saddle

New cyclist.ie chairman Colm Ryder

New cycling chairman gets on the saddle

New cyclist.ie chairman Colm Ryder

THE new chairperson of Cyclist.ie has warned that Ireland must utilise more environmentally friendly modes of transport if the country is to ever meet its EU greenhouse emissions targets for 2020.

Colm Ryder was appointed chair of the National Cyclist Advocacy Network of Ireland last month, and he says the country is nowhere near meeting its EU targets.

Ireland is committed to a reduction of 20 per cent in emissions from a 2005 baseline but according to Ryder there’s little chance of achieving the goal as there’s more and more cars on the road, particularly in the inner cities.

“I’m a civil engineer by profession and I believe in better cities and cities that people can actually move around in freely and safely,” Ryder told Northside People.

“At this stage, as any dog in the street knows, Ireland as a nation is way behind on our targets as far as Co2 emissions go.

“Transport is responsible for 30 per cent of Co2 emissions and as long as we facilitate more and more transport by cars things are only going to get worse.”

Ryder becomes just the second chairperson in Cyclist.ie’s nine year history after inaugural chair Mike McKillen decided to get off the ‘bike’ in order to let new legs pedal it into the future.

The Dublin Cycling campaigner will now serve as the organisation’s official spokesperson as the group continues to lobby for cycling as a feasible and viable alternative means of transport.

“People need to be given that choice that you don’t have to hop in your car on an everyday basis,” added Ryder.

“You can take your car on a short journey but you can also use public transport, you can walk, you can use bikes as a mode of travel, that’s what we’re out to promote.

“We’re trying to get a change in society’s way of moving about and make us comparable to the likes of Holland and the likes of Denmark.

“Here in Dublin we have something like five per cent of people travelling to work by bike; we’re just way down there as the number of car mode share is still huge.”

While Ryder wants as many people as possible to consider cycling as an alternative means of transport, he also recognises that a lack of safe cycle routes is a genuine concern for cyclists, particularly in Dublin.

“It’s a huge issue,” he admits. “There’s lots of great plans on paper but funding has been so critically lacking over the last number of years.

“Obviously there are lots of priorities for Governments, in terms of housing and homelessness and health issues, but in the long term increasing something like cycling makes a huge difference to people’s health overall.”

 

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