The “Active Travel Mullingar” project, is an initiative of and being part-funded by Westmeath County Council and grant assisted by the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport, with the training and educational aspects of the project being delivered by Westmeath Sports Partnership, as strategic partners to the project.
Active Travel Mullingar has seen a vast array of activity in 2011.
Westmeath County Council, have upgraded the Canal feeder water course from Harbour Quay to the Mullingar Castlepollard Road at Lough Sheever. This section, approximately 1km in length, links with the existing Royal Canal cycling network. A further section is proposed to be constructed in 2012.
As part of the educational strand of the project Westmeath Sports Partnership delivered cycling training to local schools, both primary and secondary. The training is called Bike Start Cycle Training and is delivered over the course of 4-6 1 hour sessions within school time with bicycles, helmets and tutors provided. The aim of this training is to encourage younger cyclists to use the cycling infrastructure of Mullingar in a safe and competent manner. This is a key strategy of the Active Travel Mullingar project both in terms of increased numbers cycling and road safety.
In 2011 training was delivered to Gaelscoil Mullingar, St Marys CBS, St Kennys N.S, St Bridgets Special School, the National Learning Network, Mullingar Resource Centre, Loreto College, Mullingar Community College and St Finians College with a total of 415 students trained. Each participant who completed their training received a cycling helmet and a certificate of cycling competence. To compliment the cycle training, bike shelters have also been installed in some schools. In 2011, St Kennys N.S, the Gaelscoil Mullingar and Mullingar Community College were selected to receive bike shelters. We hope these shelters will encourage students to use the skills learned through cycle training and commute to school on their bicycles. The plans for 2012 are already afoot with new group’s eager to sign up for training and the next section of the cycle lane to be constructed.
For more information on Active Travel Mullingar visit the website at www.activetravelmullingar.ie or check out their Facebook page www.facebook.com/ActiveTravelMullingar