THE MINISTER for Transport Noel Dempsey has said that he will begin immediate implementation of the National Cycle Policy Framework, which is published today.
The Minister has called in representatives from four government departments, various State agencies and 34 county and city councils for a workshop this morning to co-ordinate the plan.
The new cycling policy, which complements the National Sustainable Transport Plan, contains 109 individual actions to encourage a greater uptake of cycling.
The agencies will be asked to come up with plans to develop key recommendations including the development of a national cycle network including inter-urban routes, local recreation routes and urban commuter routes.
The policy envisages that all State-owned land, including tow-paths, Coillte estates and former railway lines, be available for cycling.
The number of people who cycle to work and school has been in rapid decline since the 1980s. Only 2 per cent of commuting trips in Ireland are made by bicycle.
This compares to figures of 40 per cent or higher in some European cities.
As part of his wider plan for sustainable transport, Mr Dempsey has said that he plans to encourage 10 per cent of commuters to travel by bike by 2020 – equivalent to 160,000 people cycling to work each day. At present only 35,000 do so.