Cyclists set off from Poplar Square
The first Critical Mass cycling event in Kildare took place in Naas on January 30, with organisers calling for the immediate introduction of essential steps to make it safer, healthier, more accessible and more enjoyable for people of all ages and abilities to safely cycle to school, work and other day to day activities.
Participants took part in a family-friendly group cycle taking in the main street, Sallins Road and the Grand Canal to highlight the urgent need for improved cycling and walking infrastructure in Naas.
The group are seeking the immediate implementation of a number of measures, including:
· The introduction of a 30km zone throughout the town
· Segregated cycle lanes on main street
· An immediate ban on trucks and lorries travelling through the main street
· Traffic-free exclusion zones outside schools at drop off and collection times
Dr Colm Byrne, Geriatrician who specialises in air pollution and its effects on older persons is a resident of Naas, a parent, and one of the organisers of the cycle event, said: “Naas is currently dominated by cars and traffic, making the main street, in particular, dangerous, noisy, with very poor air quality for walkers and cyclists. Overall, it is a very challenging environment for anyone who is not in a car. While there are plans for some improved cycling infrastructure, they are just not happening fast enough to allow Naas to become the healthy, safe, more sustainable town that residents want and should have.”
After the cycle event, Naoise, aged 8 said "I wish I could cycle with my friends like that every day to school."
Liz Denieffe, parent and one of the event organisers added: “I would love for my children to safely cycle to school and other activities but at the moment I'm too afraid to let them do that. Through-traffic in the town is consistently heavy, but the presence of trucks and lorries on the main street in particular is making families too scared to let their kids cycle, and that has to be addressed.”
This weekend’s event is the first Critical Mass gathering in Kildare but will take place in Naas the last weekend of every month from now on. There are plans for similar events in other towns around Kildare. The next Critical Mass Naas will take place Saturday February 26.
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