A vision for cycling in rural Ireland

photo collageDuring the lockdown period of restricted travel one widely remarked phenomenon countrywide was the large increase in the numbers of people of all ages out walking and cycling. A desire to retain that peace and freedom, together with the promise by the new coalition government of an annual €360 million spend on walking and cycling infrastructure has led to the formation of a new Rural Cycling Collective.  Comprising an array of groups and individuals under the umbrella of the wider national Cyclist.ie advocacy network, the group is focussed on making rural communities (towns, villages, and rural roads) cycle-friendly for all ages and abilities. It aims to rebalance the debate on active travel so that everyday journeys by bike across rural Ireland are enabled and supported.


Jo Sachs-Eldridge, organiser Leitrim Cycling Festival, said “This vision document aims to promote and celebrate everyday cycling in, towns, villages and their surrounding areas.  The Rural Cycling Collective are working together to highlight the needs of areas outside of major cities. We are campaigning for fair distribution of transport funding to regional parts of the country to make cycling for all ages and abilities a reality.   Our 8 identified priorities have the potential to completely transform communities.”


The collective is calling on Local and National Government to –

  •         Create an environment in our towns, villages, and rural roads where cyclists are expected and respected
  •         Create and map useful, connected cycle routes throughout Local Authority areas
  •         Implement best practice design so that routes are safe and comfortable for all ages and abilities
  •         Create safe cycle routes to school and car-free zones at school gates
  •         Lower Speed Limits to make our roads and streets safer and more accessible for everyone, and to reduce casualties
  •         Ensure clear and timely access to funding by improving capacity at all stages of local and national government
  •         Collaborate with all stakeholders including cycling and community groups at all stages of planning and design
  •         Provide Cycle Training for all ages especially children

Taken together these measures would transform active travel throughout Ireland. The co-benefits would include improvements to health, safety, congestion, air-quality, noise levels, and the public realm.  More cycling will also help us to meet our climate change obligations. “We can be a voice for areas of Ireland that have not realised the potential of cycling for everyday activities, cycling to school for children and students, to work, to the shops and so much more. We need to change how we develop our towns, villages and rural roads and we need our collective voice to be heard” said Jo Sachs-Eldridge.

The Rural Cycling Collective are calling on everyone – cyclists, non-cyclists, want-to-be cyclists, mums, dads, planners, councillors – to get involved in shaping this vision and helping to make it a reality.

To find out more, add your support, share your feedback go to




The Cyclist.ie Rural Cycling Collective plans to foster collaboration amongst cycling groups across Ireland and to jointly lobby local authorities and public representatives for the changes which will entice more people to choose the bicycle for everyday activities.  They will also work towards a cycle-friendly Ireland by collaborating with all stakeholders, organising regular events, fun-cycles and campaign actions.


Further information is available here:


Our manifesto can be found here:


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