Fine Gael Louth Deputy, Peter Fitzpatrick, has welcomed €687,000 in funding which was announced by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, as part of an overall €7 million which is being provided for cycle routes nationally.
Deputy Fitzpatrick went on to say that with the increase in the number of people now opting for cycling as their primary means of transport, now is the time to give consideration to making the wearing of helmets compulsory for cyclists.
“A new 6.2km greenway is to be developed in Co. Louth, running along the old railway line between Greers Quay in Omeath and Carlingford. This is fantastic news both in terms of the jobs that will be created and as an additional draw for tourists visiting the region. While funding has been made available for this stretch of cycleway, the Minister has indicated that there is potential for this route to form part of a 32km route from Dundalk to Carlingford and on to Newry in the future.
If the success of the Great Western Greenway, which has recently been developed in Mayo and which stretches around much of Clew Bay, is anything to go by this initiative will reap rewards for Co. Louth. It is estimated that the Great Western greenway is generating around 140,000 trips per annum along the route and that it has led to the creation of 38 new full time equivalent jobs in the local area.
“The Programme for Government outlined a clear commitment to cycling and this investment of €7 million which will see sixteen cycling projects, and an additional 334 kms of cycleway, built nationally is evidence of the Government’s intention to deliver on this.
“More and more people are opting for the bike as their primary mode of transport these days and the majority of cyclists appear to have adopted a sensible approach to safety in terms of high visibility vests and helmets. However, this is not always the case. It is with this in mind that I think it is high time serious consideration is given to making the wearing of helmets compulsory for cyclists.
“Cycling is a fantastic way to get around. It is good for the environment, good for your physical and mental health and good for your pocket. I am delighted that the Government is doing all that it can to promote cycling. It is time to take safety concerns a step further now though by enforcing the wearing of helmets for all cyclists.”