Hundreds cycle on Bike to Work Day
Sinn Féin Transport Minister Conor Murphy and Sinn Féin Mayor of Belfast Tom Hartley hosted a cycle event for hundreds of commuters in Belfast this morning in the Bike2Work Day event which is part of Travelwise Bike Week 2008.
Several hundred cyclists took to the cycle lanes and paths across Belfast and throughout the north to highlight the health, financial and environmental benefits of cycling, especially in light of the almost weekly current increases in fuel costs.
Public and private sector bodies across Belfast - including Phoenix Natural Gas, Queen's University and PSNI - cycled from home to meet at the Gasworks site, Ormeau Road and on to the city centre for a hearty breakfast at the Department for Regional Development (DRD) Headquarters in Adelaide Street.
Speaking at the event organised by the DRD's Roads Service, Conor Murphy said:
"Although everyone certainly seems to be enjoying themselves, there are some serious messages behind the fun event. Today's aim is to highlight the health, environmental and financial benefits of cycling, especially on the journey to and from work.
"It's important that everyone plays their part in helping to solve the growing congestion and pollution in our towns and cities. Cycling is a natural choice for many, it's free, it's healthy, it reduces the number of cars on our roads which in turn cuts down on the levels of exhaust emissions.
"I am committed to improving the cycle infrastructure in the north so more people might choose to travel by bike and not car. In under ten years Roads Service has provided over 700km of infrastructure including cycle lanes and tracks. DRD will be spending over £400,000 on further development of cycle routes in Belfast, Bangor, Lisburn and Carrick. With fuel costs soaring and the family purse not stretching as far as it used to cycling makes sense as it cuts down on unnecessary costs."
Mayor of Belfast Tom Hartley, who is a keen cyclist, said:
"I am delighted that there has been such interest in the Bike Week this year. The importance of this event has become more relevant than ever before with the impact of fuel increases which have been a continual burden for everyone. With the increasing cost of fuel and rising carbon dioxide emissions in 2008, I would encourage both public and private sector organisation's to consider how they can reduce the usage of their vehicles and encourage staff to embrace initiatives such as TravelWise NI's Bike Week." ENDS
Notes to Editors
Throughout the week local authorities, public and private sector employees and cycling organisations are organising a series of cycling events across the country. Events are taking place in Belfast, Derry, Newry, Coleraine, Dungannon, Limavady, Portstewart, Newcastle and Strabane. Information on these events can be found at www.travelwiseni.com
- Bike Week 2008 runs from Saturday 14 to Sunday 22 June to allow for family events to be organised for the weekends.
- Bike2Work as part of Bike Week is being organised under the Travelwise NI campaign to encourage commuters to swap their cars for bicycles for even one day during the week.
- The Travelwise NI initiative aims to promote sustainable modes of transport. Travelwise NI is an initiative of the DRD's Roads Service that promotes sustainable modes of transport such as cycling, walking, car-sharing and public transport to employers, commuters and schools.