Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon joined Belfast Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl today on one of her monthly environmental challenges.
The Lord Mayor is participating in a Women into Cycling Course run by Sustrans and the Minister attended today to offer her support, chat to the participants and join them their bikes.
Minister Mallon said:
"I am passionate about active travel and since becoming Minister I have been committed to creating more opportunities for people to cycle, walk, wheel and use public transport. Increasing use of sustainable travel modes will have huge benefits for all of us, cutting down on traffic congestion, and reducing air pollution as well as the added benefits to our health and well-being.
“I know that this is a passion I share with the Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl. I was delighted to hear that during her term of office she has committed to a number of environmental challenges. At an event recently she asked me to join her on part of this journey and I’m pleased today to come along to one of the sessions of the Women into Cycling Course.
“The course, run by Sustrans, provides practical tips on planning a route, cycling in all weather conditions as well as bike maintenance skills, including advice on how to fix a puncture. These are the sorts of issues that can be a barrier to people, especially women, taking up or returning to cycling and I am confident that the participants will find it hugely beneficial.”
Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Kate Nicholl said:
“I’m delighted that Minister Mallon has joined me today and I hope it will encourage others, particularly women, to consider taking up cycling and making it part of their lifestyle. I have really been enjoying my cycling challenge; it’s a great way to be active as well as the obvious benefits for the environment, and at a time when action on climate change is so sharply in focus, it’s important that we look at ways of encouraging people to choose sustainable transport to create a greener, resilient city.”
Caroline Bloomfield, Sustrans Northern Ireland Director said:
“We are delighted that two high profile Belfast women – the Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon and Belfast Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl have come together to support the Women into Cycling course. Sustrans began this course when we saw the startling figure that nearly four times as many men cycle in Belfast as women*. The course has been running for a number of years at our Active Travel Hub in CS Lewis Square and attracts women of all ages. Many of them tell us they don’t feel confident to cycle because of a lack of dedicated cycle lanes. We know this would go a long way to enable more people – men, women and children – to cycle. We also need to offer more behaviour change courses at Hubs like this across Northern Ireland if we are to reduce driving and tackle the climate emergency.”
*Bike Life Belfast report 2017 & 2019
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