A CORK city councillor has called for a dedicated full-time cycling officer to be appointed in a bid to encourage people to cycle more.
Speaking at Monday night's full council meeting, Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said that a full-time cycling officer would be timely, given the progress to cycling infrastructure around the city.
"The cycling lane segregation is most welcome and making the city in an overall sense more pedestrian is more positive.
"I think the challenge for us going forward is keeping the momentum going in 2021 and beyond.
"The money that we’re getting is not going to stay with us always in terms of the very generous packages we’re getting from central government.
"I do want to return to a point that I made last year that we probably do need a full-time cycling officer in place in the council.
"I say that because of the momentum we’re building around cycling," he said.
Mr McCarthy said that at present, this is a part time post where the officer is in charge of cycling along with a number of other responsibilities.
"I do think we need someone to encourage education and awareness if we do want that cultural change to get people on their bicycles," he said.
His comments came as works on new cycle lanes and works to refurbish existing cycle lanes in the city continues.
As part of Cork City Council’s 'Re-Imagining Cork City' project, up to €2 million is being invested in the city’s cycling infrastructure, with support from the National Transport Authority (NTA).
Mr McCarthy said a full-time cycling officer could liaise even closer with the cycling community, create a stronger cycling to school development programme and develop a stronger narrative around the positives of cycling.
"Even with the CMATS (Cork metropolitan area transport strategy), I know cycling is a part of CMATS.
"A cycling officer could actually do a lot of work in preparing for that," he added.
"For me, I’d like to see a stronger cycling strategy emerge from this and perhaps the appointment of a cycling officer or someone who is already in situ that can move to this role within the council operation," the Cork City South-East councillor concluded.
Cork City Council's Director of Infrastructure Development Gerry O'Beirne said that the council would hope to see a "multi-angle plan for cycling and pedestrian improvements in the city that could be funded by the commitments that are in the programme for Government and in the funding that’s now in the national budget".
"We’d also hope that that funding would support an expansion within the local authorities like Cork," he added.