Niamh Cotter, 35

I choose to cycle for many reasons, primarily because I enjoy riding a bike. After a days work,  cycling home energises me far more than sitting in traffic does. Both the mental and physical health benefits are great, and with the right gear I can enjoy cycling in any weather. However, Galway is not a very cycle friendly city. We need more cycle paths, more bike parking with shelters and more awareness of the health benefits of cycling.

Galway is a small city with massive traffic congestion. To travel a few kilometres in a car often requires leaving at least 30 mins before your appointment to merely sit in traffic for most of the time. With a bicycle you avoid this gridlock. However, safety for cyclists is problematic as often there is not enough space for cyclists to share the road with motorists. Often signs are erected to disallow cycling (eg Lough Atalia, the Prom) where it is much safer to ride on the path than the road. Drains are a hazard and swerving to avoid them places the cyclist into the path of oncoming vehicles. Perhaps in the short term we could look into sharing surfaces with pedestrians rather than roads with cars. RSA statistics released in 2012 state 83% of accidents recorded involved a collision with a vehicle. Many people are afraid to cycle in Galway due to the traffic, rather than seeing cycling as a way of alleviating the congestion. 

I will continue to cycle daily and hope Galway will eventually become a more cycle friendly city. The infrastructure first needs to improve before more people will take to pedal powered two wheeled transport and extending the use of the the Coca-Cola bike scheme to allow for stops in Salthill and Doughiska would help to encourage more people to bike. 

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