The first of three new £700,000 cycle routes through Belfast city centre have been opened in a bid to encourage residents and visitors to get around by bike.
The first route – linking Alfred Street from Ormeau Avenue to Chichester Street – has been officially opened by Transport Minister Michelle McIlveen.
These continuous routes feature protected two way cycle tracks (though it is not clear if the tracks are protected throughout), bicycle signals and bike-friendly streets.
The Transport Minister said: “This continuous route is of a high quality and provides greater protection for everyone using the bicycle to make journeys across the city.
“Work is also imminent on the remaining two schemes which when completed will link the shared foot and cycle way from Broadway to Castle Street.”
The routes are part of a wider Belfast Bicycle Network Plan, guiding development of routes through the city over the course of the next decade. That plan includes the development of ‘Greenways’ – largely off-road traffic-free routes that will ‘provide routes between urban areas’.
Hat-tip: Belfast Live
Active Travel Bill for Northern Ireland?
The Bicycle Strategy for Northern Ireland, published last summer, mentions promotion of ‘a common standard’ that will give bicycle users confidence that their safety will be taken seriously. The strategy also notes the ground-breaking Active Travel Act of Wales, which makes it a legal requirement for local authorities in Wales to map and plan for suitable route for active travel, and to build and improve their infrastructure for walking and cycling every year.
The document stated: "Drawing on the Welsh experience, we are keen to explore options for developing active travel legislation for Northern Ireland".