By Liz Dunphy
The brother of a woman killed while cycling to work is demanding that 10% of our transport budget goes to cycling.
Neil Fox’s younger sister Donna Fox, 30, who was engaged to be married, was crushed by a truck at a junction in Dublin in September 2016.
Her death motivated Mr Fox to campaign for cycling safety to protect others from Donna’s fate.
But despite some positive changes since her death, including safety bollards being placed at the junction where she was killed, 30 cyclists have still died on the roads since.
And Mr Fox, 39, who lives in Cork, said that proper investment in cycling infrastructure is vital if the government wants to prevent future fatalities.
“This year’s budget falls the day before what should be Donna’s birthday, October 9,” Mr Fox said.
“I am calling on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross to allocate 10% of Ireland’s Land Transport budget to cycling.
“We must tackle the crisis that is cycling safety in Ireland now rather than waiting.
“Four people are hospitalised by cycling incidents every day, and more are injured.
“I have a lot of time for Minister Shane Ross but time is dragging on.
“There are real dangers out there and the solutions are investment, infrastructure and the legislation on minimum overtaking distances that has been promised.”
Mr Fox was disappointed when legislation, supported by former Irish athlete Sonia O’Sullivan, which would establish a minimum passing distance for motorists overtaking cyclists was scraped late last year.
But Mr Fox said that new legislation to make dangerous overtaking of a cyclist an offence has been promised.
He said: “There’s support from all quarters, however, we are at an impasse still with regards safe passing distance legislation and the funding desperately required for cycling infrastructure.
Infrastructure needs to be thought out and radical. Lines painted on a road or plastic bollards erected to paper over the harsh reality of the dangers just don’t cut it.
One hundred and eight people have been killed on Irish roads so far this year, and five of these were cyclists.
“The time is now for an overhaul in the attitudes towards cycling,” Mr Fox said.
“My plea is that the government take the long view on this and stop tip-toeing around motor and haulage lobby groups’ interests.
“The recent greenwave has shown that younger generations are looking for greener ways to live and travel, and we need to make that easier and safer for them.
“We need to learn from European cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen. They started slowly and built up their cycling infrastructure and culture gradually.
“Now cycling there is very safe and it’s the main way for people to get around Amsterdam.
“Protection of vulnerable road users should be of paramount importance.
“The first step is allocating for cycling by giving an increased portion of the department’s budget to cycling – at least 10% which is in line with United Nations recommendations for 20% to be granted when cycling and walking are grouped as one.”