Offaly election hopeful calls on council to get us all on our bikes
Clare Claffey, local election candidate with the Social Democrats, has called on Offaly County Council to do more to promote cycling in the county, following the publication of the Social Democrats ambitious manifesto to promote safe cycling for people of all ages.
Safer Cycling for Healthier Communities is a 12-point plan to make sure that cycling becomes a realistic alternative to car journeys with increased funding for cycling, improved road design and better enforcement of road traffic laws.
Clare Claffey Social Democrats local election candidate for Birr said: “Our towns and villages are dominated by cars. This was never planned or thought out – it just grew that way over the decades, and it is absolutely unsustainable. The Social Democrats are determined to change this."
“Cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam see a huge number of daily journeys made by bicycle in comfort and safety. This didn’t happen by accident - deliberate policy decisions were made to prioritise cycling."
"These lessons are easily scalable to smaller towns like Birr, Banagher and Ferbane, with great benefits for local communities. Apart from the health and well-being benefits of cycling, people are now becoming much more aware of the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and cutting down on short car journeys is a great way to do that."
"I actually think the public are way ahead of the politicians on this one” she continued. "We've seen the publication of recent reports on climate change and biodiversity loss, and calls from citizens for the government to do more - well now is their chance. Planning for a low carbon future makes social and economic sense, we just need the political will."
Claffey added: “With all the health and environmental benefits of cycling, it’s a mystery why official Ireland has been so slow to promote cycling or indeed to catch up with the very significant public demand for safer cycling routes. Today, the Government can’t even pinpoint how much it spends on cycling."
"We can see from the success of the cycle routes in places like Lough Boora Parklands, how many people want to get more healthy and active, as well as protect the environment and Offaly County Council needs to do more to encourage this, and help the people of Offaly to get on their bikes.”