The Republic of Ireland has committed a whopping €360 million annually (more than $586 million) to cycling and walking schemes for the next five years.
That's 20% of the country's transport budget going to active transport, while two-thirds of the rest will go to public transport.
The plan was championed and settled by Ireland's leader of the Green Party and ex-bike shop owner, Eamon Ryan.
The Green Party, or Comhaontas Glás, hold powerful leverage between the coalition government’s main players Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael — two traditional rivals who came together to approve the dramatic new plans for transport reform.
Mr Ryan, who rode his bike to the interview (as pictured above) strongly believes that major Irish cities should be following the lead of Copenhagen and Amsterdam, and that active transport is the future for Ireland cities — a concept backed by more and more experts and decision makers around the world since the pandemic hit.
“Even cities famous for the car are pulling up highways and putting up Metros. Paris has completely changed in terms of how they do transport, so let’s go like Paris.
We have to spend about 10% of the transport budget on cycling, and 10% on walking."
This has us thinking...
International Rules is back (bike edition)
Never ones to be outdone by the potato eating republic, could the Australian Pop-up Bike Lane League possibly respond to this powerful move from the Irish?
Will captains Capp or Moore, currently sharing top-spot in the Australian league, be stirred into action by this bold move from the Irish? We've been beaten by them before in the International Rules (which currently sits at 10-all series tie) but never humiliated like this.
Astonishingly, Ireland — with a population exactly the same as Melbourne — will be spending €73 annually (AU$120) per person on active travel for the next five years!
In a move that sounds like something out of Bicycle Network's proposed play book, Ireland's new transport plan states that: “Necessary improvements in climate impact, quality of life, air quality and physical and mental health demand that every effort is made by the Government to make active travel and public transport better and more accessible.”
Hats off to you, Ireland.
Could this reignite an old rivalry? Gosh, we hope so!
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable to us to make bike riding better in Australia.