Campaign group formed to promote better cycling infrastructure in North Belfast
A group of local residents came together to promote and support better cycling infrastructure in North Belfast.
The North Belfast Cycle Campaign was formed after Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon announced that a cycle path would be set up on Cavehill Road and Limestone Road.
It is expected that this route will connect cyclists from the north of the city to the city center.
In addition to working with the Department of Infrastructure on this new cycle path, the North Belfast Cycle Campaign also hopes to push for better infrastructure in the wider region.
Clare Moore, 53, is a member of the newly formed group that has been campaigning for better cycling infrastructure here for 30 years.
“It’s actually not better now, which is really concerning,” she told Belfast Live.
âEvery morning as I cycle down Cavehill Road, I tell myself this is the perfect route for a cycle path. You have the park on one side and you have a lot of space. I thought I would contact the Ministry of Infrastructure, and that was around 2016.
âI found out that they had an active transportation unit, so I spoke to them and they came to meet with me and a few other interested people.
âEarlier this year, the Minister announced that this would be one of the routes of a new cycle path to the city center. It was really positive and exciting, and since then we’ve come together, the North Belfast Cycling Campaign.
“A bicycle path will make the neighborhood more enjoyable for everyone, not just cyclists.”
As work prepares for the Cavehill Road cycle path, the group believes protected infrastructure is needed to encourage more people to get on their bikes.
Clare said: âI think there are a lot of people out there who would be interested in cycling but maybe too nervous, and I understand that.
âThe way our roads are structured by the minute means it puts people in competition – drivers competing with cyclists and cyclists competing with walkers. It is such a shame.
“When people use the term ‘road users‘ it’s not just about drivers. It’s about drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Streets don’t belong to cars and they absolutely shouldn’t. not belong to cars.
“Protected cycling infrastructure is necessary so that people can make their first trip to the shops by bike.”
In recent months, local traders have expressed concern over the establishment of a cycle path along Cavehill Road, saying it will cut parking in the area by 25%.
The North Belfast Cycle Campaign said it would like to contact traders to allay their fears.
Clare said: âIn our discussions with the Department of Infrastructure, they say they don’t think that by putting the bike path there will be a significant impact on the parking space.
âThis may mean that people may have to park across the road or park a little further away, but it won’t take away the parking lot.
âWe would like to contact the traders – don’t worry.
âPeople who cycle live in the area and also use the shops and services, a cycle path can benefit in all kinds of ways. It’s going to be a positive thing, it shouldn’t be a negative, especially if it’s done right and people participate and give it a chance. “
In February 2021, Minister Mallon announced his intention to set up a cycle path along Limestone and Cavehill roads for an initial trial period of six months.
Announcing the plans, she said: “During the Covid pandemic, it became clear that an increasing number of people were adopting the bicycle in addition to those who continued to use their bicycle as their preferred mode of travel. Despite this trend, Cycling infrastructure in North Belfast has remained underdeveloped.
âThis is something that I am determined to change so I am delighted to announce, as a first step, the development of this cycle path along the Cavehill and Limestone roads, which when completed will provide a safer route. for local cyclists and that hopefully will help encourage more of us to get on our bikes.
âOver the next few months, my managers will be liaising with the local community to help turn this concept into reality. “
To get the latest news straight to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter.