Northern Ireland’s Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has won the 2016 Fréd Award for Most Engaged Politician of the Year on cycling matters. Winners across eight categories have been announced as voted for by the cycling public.
Chris has been Infrastructure Minister since May 2016, but due to the fall of the Executive and Assembly he has just 4 weeks left in post. The public vote recognised the remarkable progress in everyday cycling since last summer, with a Greenways Strategy and Belfast Bicycle Network Plan launched, as well as a culture embedded within the Department of people-focused transport, rather than vehicle-focused.
— Thomas McConaghie (@thisthomas) December 2, 2016
Velo Café Magasin picks up the prestigious award for Best Local Bike Shop for the second year in a row – the only returning winner this year.
Retiring East Belfast MLA Sammy Douglas wins the special Fréd of the Year Award in recognition of his outstanding work as a champion of cycling and greenways over the years, including the Comber Greenway which gets this year’s Good Infrastructure Award.
Testing out bikes with volunteers & children at the Ballymac Friendship Centre, bicycle training event in Pitt Park. pic.twitter.com/sW6Kz6vBNq
— Sammy Douglas (@sammydougs) March 20, 2016
Steven Patterson (Sustrans) said of Sammy’s impact and legacy:
“It’s fair to say that in the history of the Northern Ireland Assembly no politician has cycled so many urban miles as Sammy D. One of the advantages of having a local Assembly is our access to local politicians. As long as you are prepared to turn up at 7am at the Holywood Arches Sammy D was happy for a constituency meeting while cycling the greenways of the east.
“Sammy has some notable achievements – ss Peter Robinson’s community advisor he was a key voice in keeping the Comber Greenway as a cycle and walking route, not as a route for Bus Rapid Transport (which is now rightly using the Upper Newtownards Road). Sammy has supported many Sustrans projects from the Comber Greenway to the community projects with the Mens Group in Ballybeen.
“In his role within East Side Partnership, Sammy has been the Project Champion of the wonderful Connswater Community Greenway both as a concept project and now as it’s being delivered. Sammy comes from a community development background and is keen on linking all sides of the city. There is a memorable photo of Sammy and the then Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Tom Hartley, cycling a tandem in Orangefield Park on his beloved Connswater Greenway.
“So Sammy we wish you well as you stand down from being an MLA and thank you for all you have done for people who will benefit for years to come on the greenways of East Belfast. You have left a great legacy and we thank you.”
Sammy’s work championing the Comber Greenway is shown by the public’s pride in this great facility, which gets this year’s Good Infrastructure Award.
The other side of that coin is the Bad Infrastructure award, our equivalent of a Razzie. Advisory Cycle Lanes have joined Cyclesaurus and two-time winner Belfast City Centre in gaining the most ire of the cycling public.
The Auction Rooms in Maghera win the coveted Best Cycling Cafe Award from two-wheeled customers, while the efforts of Belfast Health and Social Care Trust in promoting cycling have gained the attention and respect of their staff who turned out to vote them the Best Employer for cycling in 2016.
The public votes have been tallied and verified; who's about to receive the first Fréd Award for services rendered to local cycling in 2016? pic.twitter.com/is97oe17ZE
— NI Greenways (@nigreenways) February 1, 2017
BEST LOCAL BIKE SHOP
WINNER: Velo Café Magasin
RUNNER-UP: McConveys and Chain Reaction
NOTABLE: Dave Kane, Kinnings, CicliSport Moneymore, Norm’s Bikes Belfast, Belfast Bicycle Workshop.
WINNER: Grand Fondo
RUNNER-UP: Bikes Beach BBQ
NOTABLE: Ciclovia, Lap the Lough, Causeway Sportive.,Sperrín 600, Red Bull Fox Hunt, Piccolo Fondo, Cinecycle, UCX & Kinning CX League, Killinchy 150.
WINNER: Comber Greenway
RUNNER-UP: Lagan Towpath
Notable: Connswater Greenway, Newry Canal, Castleward, Craigavon, Davagh Forest & Rostrevor MTB trails, Royal Victoria Hospital cycle parking, Allstate diversion on River Lagan, Sam Thompson Bridge.
WINNER: Advisory Cycle Lanes
NOTABLE: Generally badly implemented and policed cycle lanes are causing the most concern, followed closely by the Albert Bridge and Belfast city centre.
WINNER: Auction Rooms Maghera
RUNNER-UP: 5A Stranmills
NOTABLE: Velo Café Magasin, Lock Keeper’s Inn, JACK Holywood Arches, Harrisons Greyabbey, Gilbert Fayre, Allens of Caledon.
WINNER: Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
NOTABLE: Liberty IT, CitiBank, Portview Construction, Fitzwilliam Hotel, IBM, PSNI.
WINNER: Chris Hazzard MLA
RUNNER-UP: Chris Lyttle MLA
NOTABLE: Sammy Douglas MLA, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA, Peter Weir MLA, Philip McGuigan MLA.
FRÉD OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Sammy Douglas MLA
RUNNER-UP: Michael McBride (Belfast HSCT)
NOTABLE: Drew Murray (Killinchy CC), Brendan McCartan (Phoenix CC), Martin Grimley (Ulster Cyclocross League), Toby Watson (VC Glendale), Danny Blondiel (Belgian Project), Sustrans staff, Paul Irwin (Kingmoss CC), NI Greenways.
As well as the main voting categories, we left the platform open for voters to express their wishes for anything to do with cycling in 2017. Here’s all of the responses we received:
VOTER’S WISHES FOR 2017
“A Belfast to Bangor “cycleable” Greenway needs to happen soon and we need “Staying alive at 1.5″ advertisements in the Press/TV/Billboards etc. (some fecking chance though).”
“Expansion of safe cycling routes across Belfast and improved enforcement to prevent parking in cycle lanes.”
“More cyclists, more awareness, less accidents.”
“More cycle lanes and enforcement of clear-zones…too many are out of use.”
“I hope for more bike events for kids and families.”
“I hope Stephen Nolan shuts the fuck up about “bikes v cars” on a slow news day to boost flagging listener figures.”
“I hope we appoint a Dane/Dutch/German as the head of Road Planning.”
“I wish the Tories, UKIP and Trump the best of luck as they attempt to time-travel back to 1954.”
“Continued education of other road users to be considerate of cyclists and give them room on the road.”
“Access to more city-style bicycles such as the dutch or danish to encourage more relaxed upright commuting to ease congestion. And that bike ownership would outstrip cars by the end of the year! ;-)”
“More bike, more lanes, more people.”
“More bike lanes.”
“More imagination and support in Belfast . Monthly ciclovia events.”
“Better cycle infrastructure.”
“Rollout of Belfast Cycle Network.”
“Creation of excellent design standards that are the base for the next cycle infra.”
“Much more investment.”
“A comprehensive improvement to establish a network of safe greenways and cyclepaths for Belfast and Northern Ireland and a year for everyone to just calm the hell down about roads.”
“No cars parked in cycle lanes!!”
“Convert all disused railways to a) railways or b) greenways.”
“I hope to see more biking infrastructure in North Belfast. Along the Antrim Road is probably the least catered for arterial route for cycling and anyone who isn’t very confident is put off using it.”
“More segregated cycle lanes, everywhere!”
“To get faster!!”
“Fully segregated bike lanes in Belfast east West and North and south.”
“Better cycling infrastructure and fewer cycling deaths.”
“Increased spending on infrastructure and a public information campaign from Stormont correcting the myths some drivers believe about cycling. Also zero tolerance enforcement by PSNI of any traffic violations ranging from front fog lights when not needed through to close passes.”
“Cycle further than I ever have.”
“Better cycling infrastructure.”
“To see the Mourne greenway become a reality.”
“Greenways feasibility studies obtain funding to take to construction.”
“More dangerous and inconsiderate drivers being prosecuted.”
“More cycleways, safer cycling.”
“A safer year on the road where no cyclists loses their life.”
“I would like safer roads for cyclists!”
“More cycle lanes.”
“Health, wealth and safety to all cyclists.”
“Improved driver education and/or enforcement of poor driving and space provision.”
“Extend Belfast public bike hire scheme out to Stranmillis.”
“Hopefully the Connswater Greenway will deliver on the early promise.”
“To keep cycling.”
“A smartphone app to report (bust) people parking in bus/cycle lanes!”
“Belfast city closed street events – monthly.”
“When I’m on my bike I want to feel welcomed and valued in my city.. Oh and I’d like a brown springy Brooks saddle.”
“I’d love to see a safe way to cycle across the Albert Bridge. I’d really like to see cycle lanes not be full of parked cars. I’d love to see people free to jump on their bikes without feeling like they need to be bedecked in hi-vis & helmets. And I’d really love to see mindsets changing so that people realise the roads belong to cyclists as much as everyone else – because otherwise, parents are never going to have the confidence to
let their kids cycle independently.”
“Fast and +ve feasibility studies into the wider proposed greenway network.”
“More dedicated bike lanes.”
“New velodrome in NI.”
“A bigger better Fred Fest/Bike week.”
“More cycle Greenways on Ireland.”
“Better advertising on bike safety for road users like the one RTE promote.”
“Signage on roads tell motorists to keep a safe passing distance.”
“Introduction of cycling lanes & smooth hard shoulders for cycling on the major roads.”
“Non money making Giro legacy event, not the Gran Fondo that just lines pockets of organisers.”
“Make more irresponsible cyclists responsible for their own actions by enforcing the laws they are bound by.”