Green Councillor becomes Ireland’s first ‘Bicycle Mayor’

Source: Green Party

Cllr Donna Cooney is named as 50th member of global cycling leadership network and will be supported by Junior Bicycle Mayor

Bicycle Mayors are independent city leaders who bring together all corners of society around new ideas that can accelerate cycling progress. The fast-growing network of Bicycle Mayors is active on every continent – addressing issues around safety, pollution, health, and social inclusion – and Ireland’s first representative has now been appointed in Dublin. It is hoped the appointment will lead to an increase in cycling numbers and investments.

Green Party Cllr Donna Cooney was officially inaugurated as the Bicycle Mayor for Dublin last night in a ceremony at Trinity College; she becomes the world’s 50th Bicycle Mayor. The ceremony took place as part of an event held to kick off Velo-city, the annual international cycling conference that has brought over 1,000 cycling advocates, bike brands, and businesses to Dublin.

Green Party representative for Clontarf Cllr Donna Cooney: “I am really passionate about the opportunity I now have as the Dublin Bicycle Mayor. I want to encourage many more people to cycle, especially women and young people. We must make it more accessible and safe for every age, whether you are a toddler on a balance bike or into your 90s and beyond. Cycling is good for our health, it’s important for the environment, and it’s economical. In Dublin, we need change; and I want to normalise this mode of transportation for work, leisure, and school. It should be something we can all benefit from and enjoy.”

One of Donna’s key objectives will be to support safer cycling for young people. She has already appointed a Junior Bicycle Mayor to assist her in this. Aoife Kelly, aged 10, secured the post by winning the Joyce-Cycle Poetry Competition with her poem ‘My Yellow Fellow’ (about her yellow bike) earlier this year. Aoife will serve as a cycling role model for kids, listen to the challenges young people face, and help Donna to develop new approaches to improve cycling for children. Dublin becomes just the second city to have a Junior Bicycle Mayor, after Amsterdam. Aoife will be officially appointed this morning in a ceremony with other Bicycle Mayors from around the world at Velo-city.

The Bicycle Mayor program is overseen and funded by BYCS, an Amsterdam-based social enterprise that has a mission called 50by30 (which aims to achieve 50% of all city trips by bike by 2030). BYCS works internationally with businesses, governments, and nonprofits to initiate and scale breakthrough ideas around cycling. BYCS is active in Dublin all week as part of Velo-city, operating a pop-up ‘BYCS Lab’ to allow people to share insights, create new ideas, and meet other change-makers. It is also launching its new ‘Impact Index’—a tool to help any city assess the immediate opportunities for cycling interventions (with the City of Amsterdam as its first partner)—as well as hosting a mini summit of its Bicycle Mayors (a number of which are speaking at the conference).

Maud de Vries, CEO of BYCS: “​Increasing cycling helps us to address urgent challenges around climate change, pollution, resource availability, and public health. It also connects communities, empowers people, and stimulates new enterprises. Cycling is more than transportation, it is transformation. Every city can benefit from a Bicycle Mayor to unlock the power of cycling. W​e now have 50 Bicycle Mayors around the world. Together they are having a profound impact. We are delighted to welcome Donna to this dynamic network and hope this leads to improvements for all people living in or visiting Dublin.”

Donna recently became a city councillor in Dublin but her role of Bicycle Mayor will be carried out independently, beyond politics. Becoming a Bicycle Mayor involves signing a commitment to work with and for all members of the community. It is hoped Donna’s appointment will lead to interest from many other cities in Ireland to join the Bicycle Mayor network. Anyone can apply to become a Bicycle Mayor. They are then appointed through a pubic vote or by securing enough support from a cross-section of city stakeholders.

More information on how to become a Bicycle Mayor, how to get one in your city, or how to support the global network can all be found at ​www.bicyclemayor.org

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