Dublin Bikes expansion to contribute to new culture of cycling in the city

Published by David Hayden on

November 10, 2016

Dublin Bikes will soon be expanding to the suburbs of Dublin.

New bike stations will be constructed in Dublin suburbs such as Finglas, Ballymun, Ballyfermot and Terenure. This represents a significant achievement in the expansion of the Dublin Bikes scheme which will pave the way for users to commute to work using the bikes.

The contentious issue of funding was resolved as Dublin City Council agreed on the location of four new metropoles (double-sided advertising hoardings) to be erected in south Dublin. Revenue from these metropoles will partially fund the planned expansion.

The National Cycle Policy Framework aims to grow the number of commuters who cycle to work to 10% by 2020. Expanding the city bike scheme to accommodate commuter zones will certainly aid in the attempt to grow cycling as an environmentally friendly commute option.

The National Cycle Policy Framework states that between 1986 and 2006 the number of commuters that cycled to work dropped from 7% to 2%. This unfortunate statistic reflects a change in cultural attitudes to cycling. Irish historian Paul Rouse states that cycling fell victim to the Irish hunger for modernization, in the Ireland of the 1980’s cycling became the preserve of the child, the student, the poor or the hopelessly eccentric. In the iconography of modern Ireland the car was a symbol of wealth and prosperity, the bicycle, once a symbol of freedom and leisure, seemed lackluster and old-fashioned in comparison.  However, many commuters seek to avoid the hassle and expense of driving into the city center and parking. Urban bike rental schemes have been very successful across the continent; for example velib in Paris operates 1,230 stations of bicycle stations across the city, the service had 26 million bike rentals in its first year of operation in 2007.

Several European cities experimented with bike rental schemes as an add-on to the public transportation system in the past for example Amsterdam added 2,000 bikes for public use in 1967, the small city of La Rochelle in France set up three locations where bikes could be rented in 1975, then in 1995 Copenhagen launched a larger bike-rental scheme operating 120 stations in their Bycyklen scheme. It was in 2005 in the French city of Lyon the fully automated bike stations with computer terminals came into being and have since spread across the world as very popular addition to cities public transport schemes.

[x_image type=”rounded” float=”none” src=”https://greennews.ie/wp3/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Velov_-_Vieux_Lyon_Cathédrale_Saint_Jean.jpg” alt=”Vélo’v bike berth in Lyon France” title=”Automated bike berth in Lyon” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]

Vélo’v bike berth in Lyon France where computer terminals allowed for rapid expansion

The addition of greenways, cycle paths, activity based holidays and the expanding bike-rental schemes have given a new vigor to cycling in Ireland. Let’s hope that this step to expand Dublin Bikes will be a significant aid to the achievement of the goals outlined in the National Cycle Policy Framework. Let’s also hope that expansion of the Dublin Bikes stations will soon incorporate some of the cities most densely populated suburbs on the south side of the city too.

On ‘yer bikes folks and off to work we go!

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David Hayden

David is a contributor to the Green News. He has a Bachelor's Degree in International Business and French from UCD as well as a Master's Degrees in French literature and New Media from the University of California at San Diego and the Johns Hopkins University.