Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard launched Bike Week 2016 as he demonstrated the benefits of choosing a bicycle as a transport mode.
Bike Week 2016 will see over 100 cycling events and activities taking place across the north from June 11-19 including BBQ cycle rides, family cycle evenings, safety workshops and mountain bike competitions.
Minister Hazzard said:
“The Bike Week events taking place offer something for everyone, with families, school children and commuters all able to get involved. I am particularly looking forward to Bike to School Day on June 15 and Bike to Work Day on Friday June 17 is also set to be a great day.
“Bike Week continues to grow in size each year and thanks to big events such as the Giro D’Italia and the Gran Fondo, cycling in general continues to grow in popularity as well.
“The north has come on leaps and bounds when it comes to the cycling infrastructure, with the most recent development being the opening of the new cycle lane in Alfred Street in Belfast city centre. More dedicated bicycle routes are also set to open later this year.
“I would encourage everyone to get out and about and enjoy Bike Week this year,” said the Minister.
As part of the launch, the Infrastructure Minister unveiled two short films, produced by the Department’s Cycling Unit and Travelwise NI, which show a timed comparison of a bike and car commute from the east and west of the city into Belfast city centre. Viewers can see exactly where and when the car and bike overtake each other or get held up in morning congestion. The videos can be viewed at:
Minister Hazzard said: “It might surprise many people to know that these videos reveal that the bike is in fact the quickest mode of transport. The bike arrives six minutes and 10 second quicker from East Belfast into the city and three minutes 50 seconds quicker from West Belfast.”
The first route follows a 2.7 mile journey from Edgcumbe Gardens in east Belfast and the second route follows a 3.1 mile journey from the Glen Road in west Belfast.
The Minister said:
“These videos should challenge people’s perceptions of cycling by highlighting how efficient it is as a mode of transport for short commutes across the city. 14% of all car journeys in Northern Ireland are less than one mile – that’s a five minute bike ride or a 10 – 15 minute walk. During Bike Week, I would remind people to think about the best way to make their journey before automatically getting into a car.
“Cycling is a low-cost, easy and flexible way to travel. We hope that by comparing real commutes into the city centre we can show people that taking the car isn’t always the quickest option.”
A recent Bike Life report revealed that 48% of people in Belfast think a reduction in traffic would make the city a better place.
“We are not asking people to cycle long distances or to take inconvenient journeys, rather we are asking people to consider when they could cycle instead of using the car, and therefore, also enjoy all the health, financial and environmental benefits associated with cycling,” said Minister Hazzard.
Bike Week is an initiative promoted by the Department for Infrastructure which collaborates with local councils, employers, schools and cycling organisations including Sustrans NI during the week to deliver a wide variety of cycling events across Northern Ireland.
As part of Bike Week 2016, Bike to Work Day will take place on June 17 when cyclists are being invited to cycle from Queen’s University in Belfast to the City Hall where they can avail of a free cup of coffee and a breakfast snack before making their way onwards to work.
For details of other events please check the Travelwise NI website https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/bike-week or your local council.
Notes to editors:
All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0372. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.
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