Bikeability – when will we get it in Northern Ireland?

It’s not a difficult thing to follow – the Highway Code – it is easily available from booksellers up and down the country, and even on the Internet nowadays. But it seems that many, many people are totally ignorant of its contents.

In the last number of weeks I have heard of, and not just heard, nay I have observed many breaches of its contents. I wish that it were not just the drivers of motor vehicles that were at fault, but it is those who curse our pavements with their presence: the cyclists.

I feel sure that there really is some need for a real test of proficiency before cyclists are allowed out on the public roads. In the past, many people took the Cycle Proficiency Test when at school. However, that test has been superseded by the new Bikeability awards run in England and Wales, and also in Scotland. However, as far as I am aware, there is no such test being run in Northern Ireland.

My personal main gripe is seeing cyclists cycling on a pavement. I understand that there are some pavements which are shared by pedestrians and cyclists: this is not the general rule. Cyclists should normally be on the roadway, sharing the space with other vehicles. All too often many cyclists are cycling on a pavement, neither with lights nor reflective gear. This is truly hazardous.

Cycling is helpful to all of us in our society, when due care and attention is taken. The health benefits are clear, it will help to reduce the number of motor vehicles on our roads, and this would help to ensure our city and town centres move more freely. But we desperately need investment from cycling organisations, as well as the Northern Ireland Executive in schemes that promote safe cycling. I therefore ask, what are we doing about introducing Bikeability to Northern Ireland? Will the Minister for Regional Development, Danny Kennedy MLA, please consult with his counterparts in Great Britain? Perhaps there could be partnership with the Department of Education as well?

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One thought on “Bikeability – when will we get it in Northern Ireland?

  1. Cyclists on pavements is a symptom of the failure of the integrationist approach to cycling. Cycling on the road is just too scary in most UK towns & cities. Don’t invest in schemes that have proven themselves to fail over the last 40 years in the UK – instead learn from global best practice in Copenhagen and, even better, the Netherlands & invest in safe, dedicated, high quality space for cycling.See David Hembrow’s blog & the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain.

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