Election Cycle

ELECTIONCYCLE

Northern Ireland is in a busy period of elections. Over the next 18 months we will all participate in:

  • (UK) General Election [7 May 2015]
  • NI Assembly Election [2016]

To differing degrees, each election will influence the future direction of cycling policy in Northern Ireland. How political parties and candidates value cycling may not dictate the way that you vote, but each election is your chance to talk directly to your politicians. Conveying how important safe roads and improved cycling facilities are to you, and your family and friends, can make a real difference when the big future priorities are set.

This is a pivotal moment for cycling in Northern Ireland. Natural rises in cycling are finally being recognised in policy, health and transport strategies, and in better government investment. But cycling will only remain this high on the agenda if we push our representatives to do more.

This page is designed to allow you to quickly assess the importance local political parties place on enabling an environment to foster a strong “everyday cycling” culture. It will be updated through the next 18 months to reflect new policies and commitments as they are released.

The list covers political parties (in alphabetical order) with representation in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the UK Parliament, looking at:

  • manifestos from the last Assembly election
  • new policies published since 2011
  • specific cycling targets
  • any track record
  • current work

Other political parties and many independent candidates will also be standing in these elections.

AllianceAlliance

MLAs: 8 (108) MPs: 1 (18)

Current Assembly term manifesto [Full text (PDF)]:
[Obesity] Environments which promote a physically active lifestyle and healthy diet should be created across the education, employment and transport sectors. For example, safe environments for cyclists and pedestrians should be promoted.

Latest cycling policy:
[2014 Local Government Manifesto
(PDF)]
[Provide sustainable transport options] The Northern Ireland Executive is in charge of transport policy, but the new district Councils can play an important role in making sure that sustainable transport options (such as walking and cycling) are promoted. They can also work with the NI Executive and Translink to ensure that public transport serves the needs of their community.

Alliance believes that green transport options should be pursued as a priority alongside other modes of transport. That is why we will support Councils adopting sustainable travel plans that make it easier for cyclists and walkers to get about town and will include advance planning about new bus routes. We will especially promote safe cycle routes and storage and suitable pavements and road crossings to encourage walking.

In your local Council, we will make sure that all transport options, not just cars, are viable.

Explicit targets for cycling:
N/A

Track record:
N/A

Current cycling work of note:
Chris Lyttle MLA chairs the Northern Ireland Assembly All Party Group on Cycling, and Stewart Dickson MLA is also a member. Chris Lyttle MLA is also is a member of the Regional Development Committee along with Kieran McCarthy MLA, working on an Inquiry into the benefits of cycling to the economy.

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)
DUP

MLAs: 38 (108) MPs: 8 (18)

Current Assembly term manifesto [Full text (PDF)]:
[Infrastructure] Continue to minimise road casualties through road safety engineering, collision remedial schemes, traffic calming, school safety zones and improved pedestrian and cycle networks.

[Obesity] Increase the number of regular cyclists.

Latest cycling policy:
N/A

Explicit targets for cycling:
N/A

Track record:
Peter Robinson MLA and Gregory Campbell MLA held the Regional Development ministerial portfolio in the Northern Ireland Executive between 1999 and 2001. Peter Robinson MLA launched the Northern Ireland Cycling Strategy (PDF, 8.6MB) in 2000.

Current cycling work of note:
Peter Weir MLA asked most Northern Ireland Assembly questions on cycling issues in both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 Assembly sessions. Trevor Clarke MLA chairs the Regional Development Committee, working on an Inquiry into the benefits of cycling to the economy. Stephen Moutray MLA and Alex Easton MLA are also members of the Committee. Sammy Douglas MLA is the Vice Chairperson and Jim Wells MLA is a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly All Party Group on Cycling.

Green Party
GREEN

MLAs: 1 (108) MPs: 0 (18)

Current Assembly term manifesto [Full text (PDF)]:
[Transport] Ensure most children are able to walk or cycle to school and support employers who promote cycling to work. Giving the highest priority to safe routes to so that most children are able to walk or cycle to school. Introducing a 20mph speed limit throughout built up areas, including villages. Encouraging all other initiatives to incentivise a change of travel mode to cycling – including alterations to allowances paid by employers to their employees for their necessary travel and government tax relief for work related cycling on a scale no less generous than car allowances.

[Culture, Arts and Leisure] Empowering local authorities to give grants to small and medium sized tourism enterprises to improve significantly their facilities for cyclists or links with public transport provision.

Latest cycling policy:
[2014 European Manifesto
(PDF)]
[Green Transport] We need to shift to more sustainable and less environmentally-damaging modes like waterways, cycling, public-collective transport and rail.

[2014 Local Government Manifesto (PDF)]
[Caring for our environment] Through community planning, we will work to ensure that all schools have sustainable School Travel Plans. All schools should have adequate, secure cycle storage, and provide safe and responsible cycling education to all students.

We will campaign for a Walking and Mobility Officer at Council level to facilitate alternatives to car-use and implement measures to make streets more attractive and easier to use for pedestrians and cyclists.

We will plan for more segregated cycle routes and work to ensure they are properly maintained and policed, in particular making road surfaces safe, providing clear signposting, and removing cars parked across cycle gaps and in cycle and bus lanes.

Explicit targets for cycling:
Default 20mph in built-up areas.

Track record:
N/A

Current cycling work of note:
Steven Agnew MLA is the Secretary of the Northern Ireland Assembly All Party Group on Cycling.

NI21
NI21

MLAs: 2 (108) MPs: 0 (18)

Current Assembly term manifesto:
[Party not formed in 2011]

Latest cycling policy:
N/A

Explicit targets for cycling:
N/A

Track record:
N/A

Current cycling work of note:
Basil McCrea MLA is a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly All Party Group on Cycling.

Sinn Féin
SF

MLAs: 29 (108) MPs: 5 (18)

Current Assembly term manifesto [Full text (PDF)]:
N/A

Latest cycling policy:
[2014 Ard Fheis] Motion 68 .. recognises that cycling as a mode of transport can:

  • Help improve physical health, mental health and well-being and combats stress.
  • Significantly reduces a household’s transportation costs.
  • Reduces traffic congestion. Reduces the number of sick days employees take.

And calls upon the Minister for Regional Development to:

  • Bring forward plans to increase investment in cycling from the current amount of approximately 58p per person each year in the North to at least £10 per head of population.
  • Direct the new Cycling Unit to consider the case studies of Amsterdam and Copenhagen in regard to introducing separate, safe bicycle infrastructure.
  • Ensure cyclists are accommodated on Translink bus and rail services at all times and introduce adequate bicycle storage and racks on buses.
  • Ensure that cycle lanes are kept clear and enforced. Introduce filter traffic lights and ‘bus stop islands’ for cyclists in towns and cities.

[2014 Ard Fheis] Motion 69 .. recognises the efforts of those involved in road safety campaigns in both rural and urban communities and supports the ‘20’s Plenty’ campaign and the need for 20mph to be the default speed limit in built-up areas.

Explicit targets for cycling:
Raise cycling budget to £10 per head of population.

Default 20mph in built-up areas.

Track record:
Conor Murphy MP [former MLA] was the Minister for Regional Development between 2007 and 2011. In 2009 the annual Belfast cycling budget was cut to just £8,000. The Cycle to Work Scheme was launched in 2009.

Current cycling work of note:
Daithí McKay MLA is the current leader for most Assembly Questions asked on cycling issues in 2013-14, and is Treasurer of the Northern Ireland Assembly All Party Group on Cycling. Seán Lynch MLA is Deputy Chairperson of the Regional Development Committee, working on an Inquiry into the benefits of cycling. Cathal Ó hOisín MLA and Declan McAleer MLA are also members of the Committee.

Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)
SDLP

MLAs: 14 (108) MPs: (18)

Current Assembly term manifesto [Full text (PDF)]:
[Encouraging active transport] It is widely accepted that reducing the speed from 30 mph to 20 mph on urban residential streets through creative urban planning has been proven to increase the number of cyclists on the roads. The SDLP therefore brought draft legislation to the Assembly which would reduce speed limits in urban areas. By making our streets a safer place for all, we will increase uptake of active transport, namely cycling and walking. We initiated the draft legislation and also demanded a reversal on cuts to the active transport budget following the startling 98% cut in the Budget.

In the next mandate, we will build on our work to date by expanding and promoting the ‘bike to work’ scheme to encourage employees to cycle to work if and where possible, incentivising the scheme by enabling employees to purchase bikes tax-free. In addition, we will establish a bike scheme in Belfast, whereby bikes are available for short-term public hire across the city, given the success of a similar scheme in Dublin, as well as evidenced in many cities across Europe. Looking beyond our main cities, we support the expansion of the cycle network across the North and an increase in the number of dedicated cycle routes.

Latest cycling policy:
N/A

Explicit targets for cycling:
Default 20mph in built-up areas.

Track record:
Pat Ramsey MLA brought the Cyclists (Protective Headgear) Bill to the Northern Ireland Assembly in the 2010-11 session, in an attempt to make the use of helmets while cycling compulsory in Northern Ireland. It failed to pass into law.

Conall McDevitt [former MLA] brought the Road Traffic (Speed Limits) Bill to the Assembly, which has subsequently been taken on by Pat Ramsey MLA (see Current work of note).

Mark H Durkan MLA is the current Minister for the Environment. DOE launched Northern Ireland’s first road safety TV advert exclusively focusing on cycling in 2014.

Current cycling work of note:
Pat Ramsey MLA is bringing the Road Traffic (Speed Limits) Bill through the Northern Ireland Assembly, in an attempt to make 20mph the default speed limit on minor residential roads, subject to DRD exemption. Mark H Durkan MLA is the current Minister for the Environment, with responsibility for road safety; he is also a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly All Party Group on Cycling, along with Fearghal McKinney MLA. John Dallat MLA and Joe Byrne MLA are members of the Regional Development Committee, working on an Inquiry into the benefits of cycling to the economy.

Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV)
TUV

MLAs: 1 (108) MPs: 0 (18)

Current Assembly term manifesto [Full text (PDF)]:
N/A

Latest cycling policy:
N/A

Explicit targets for cycling:
N/A

Track record:
N/A

Current cycling work of note:
N/A

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)
UUP

MLAs: 13 (108) MPs: 0 (18)

Current Assembly term manifesto [Full text (PDF)]:
N/A

Latest cycling policy:
[Proposals for Assembly Programme for Government 2011-15 (PDF)]
By 2015, 36% of primary school pupils and 22% of secondary school pupils should be walking or cycling to school.

Development of an Active Travel Strategy to promote walking and cycling.

[Local Government Manifesto 2014. Lisburn and Castlereagh]
[Car Parking] The Council should encourage the use of other more sustainable forms of transport by ensuring adequate parking provision for cycles, motor cycles and coaches.

Explicit targets for cycling:
N/A

Track record:
Danny Kennedy MLA is the current Regional Development Minister, in office since 2011.

The Minister has established a Cycling Unit within DRD to lead on active travel issues. Plans are at an advanced stage for a cycling and walking bridge across the River Lagan at the Gasworks site in BelfastThe Minister has declared his intention to launch a “cycling revolution” for Northern Ireland, with study trips to Copenhagen and Malmo in 2014. A cycling masterplan for Northern Ireland is expected to be published in June 2014.

Current cycling work of note:
Sandra Overend MLA is a member of Northern Ireland Assembly All Party Group on Cycling. Ross Hussey MLA is a member of the Regional Development Committee, working on an Inquiry into the benefits of cycling to the economy.

United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)
UKIP

MLAs: (108) MPs: 0 (18)

Current Assembly term manifesto:
N/A

Latest cycling policy:
N/A

Explicit targets for cycling:
N/A

Track record:
N/A

Current cycling work of note:
David McNarry MLA is a member of the Regional Development Committee, working on an Inquiry into the benefits of cycling to the economy.

4 thoughts on “Election Cycle

  1. In the European Parliament Diane Dodds of the DUP, voted with UKIP (and BNP) against tighter regulation of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV), restricting their size, improving design and giving the driver a better view of pedestrians and cyclists near the vehicle. The UKIP have a blanket policy opposing any EU regulation impacting on the UK, even if the regulations are clearly beneficial to UK citizens. Diane Dodds has not stated why she is opposed to making HGV safer for pedestrians and cyclists to be around.

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