An overflowing bike rack at Gaelscoil Osraí this week
There are free guided trips in the city for employees of the hospitality industries, frontline workers or other workplaces in Kilkenny to allow more to try out bikes as a means of transport in our city during Bikeweek, which gets under way tomorrow.
The trips are being run in conjunction with Kilkenny Cycling Tours and can be booked by contacting Jason on 086-8954961 or firstname.lastname@example.org. As part of the Bikeweek initiatives, there are also child trailers and tag-along bikes available throughout September for just €5.
Caitriona Corr, Cycling Officer with Kilkenny County Council says there may not be the opportunities in 2020 to run the activities and events that would usually bring colour and vibrancy to the streets of Kilkenny during Bikeweek "but we are now focusing on offering supports to schools, workplaces and employees to allow people to maintain the newly formed active travel habits that benefit our health, the environment and our city”.
In 2020, European Mobility Week and National Bikeweek are both taking place in September. Even though Bikeweek couldn’t happen in June due to the Covid restrictions, this year has seen the highest numbers on bikes witnessed in Ireland for the last number of years.
An extra 200,000 people across Ireland cycled regularly during the restrictions - twice as many people who live in the county of Kilkenny. People had both safe places to cycle and time to make choices regarding their modes of transport. Safer streets allowed children, teenagers and adults of all ages to go about their daily lives by bike and on foot.
This year's European Mobility Week theme is ‘Zero-emission mobility for all’, reflecting the ambitious target of a carbon-neutral continent by 2050, as laid out by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, when presenting the European Green Deal. It also aims to highlight the importance of accessibility to zero-emission transport and promote an inclusive framework involving everyone.
Amid Covid restrictions in Kilkenny, there have been welcome changes to the public realm, with greater allocation of space to pedestrians, more outdoor seating and additional open-air markets. There is perhaps a greater awareness of the impact of air and noise pollution in areas where people congregate, from town centres to school gates.
St Canice’s National School and Loreto Secondary School are in the process of creating 'Safe School Zones' outside their school gates. This space becomes prioritised for walkers, cyclists and buses and parents are asked not to drop at the gates for everyone’s safety.
The Gaelscoil have set themselves an ambitious target of 20% arriving to school on wheels. Last week, over 70 students arrived by bikes or scooters. In the next few week, cycling friendly workplace programmes will be introduced in Kilkenny. If your workplace or school is interested in becoming involved, email email@example.com.