It’s official: we have the fewest cyclists in the North

FERMANAGH has the fewest number of cyclists in the North. 
Only 22 percent of people here own a bicycle, compared with 44 percent of people in Lisburn and Castlereagh and 41 percent in Ards and North Down. Fermanagh and Omagh is even lagging behind other districts also considered ‘rural’, such as Mid Ulster where 30 percent of the population have a bike. 
The figures were revealed in an annual cycling survey from the Department of Infrastructure released last week. 
Mark McGirr, chairman of Lakeland Cycle Club, said he believed a campaign aimed to improve road safety for cyclists was needed to improve the number of people cycling locally. 
“We need safer shared roads between motorists and cyclists,” he said. “The best way I could describe it is, if you have someone standing waiting for a train. If you have someone standing on the wrong side of the yellow line and a train goes past, that’s how it feels for a cyclist when a car is overtaking.” 
When asked if new or improved cycle lanes were needed, Mr McGirr said the first step was ensuring the ones we already have are fit for use. 
“The ones we have need to be maintained,” he said. “The main issue is debris such as bottles, glass and stones are sitting in them. That causes issues for them if they are riding alone.”
Mr McGirr added cycling was a very rewarding sport, and encouraged people to give it a go. 
“It’s a great way of keeping yourself healthy without the same impact as running,” he said. “There is also a massive social aspect, because you can ride and have a chat with the person riding beside you.” 
In attempt to get a new generation into cycling, later in the year Lakeland Cycling are planning to set up a children’s cycling group. Keep an eye on the club’s Facebook page for more details. 

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