Cargobike Dad looks at the current consultation on Belfast’s Linen Quarter and finds very little consideration of bicycle movements, too much use of (increasingly discredited) shared space designs over reducing overall traffic levels and access – find out more and get your responses in to Belfast City Council by 11th March 2016..

Happy birthday John Boyd Dunlop

On 5 February 1840 John Boyd Dunlop was born in North Ayrshire, Scotland. After moving to Downpatrick in 1867 and setting up a successful veterinary business in May Street Belfast, he created the first practical application of a pneumatic tyre for his son’s bicycle in 1887.


Dunlop moved to commercial production of this replacement for hard rubber tyres, and Belfast racer Willie Hume debuted the invention (to cat-calls of “sausage tyres”) and would shock the cycling world with his domination of racing meets in Belfast and Liverpool in 1889.

The success of the pneumatic tyre was to revolutionise transport across the world and would go on to be a key driver in social upheavals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Local cycling activist Roy White had this to say on John Boyd Dunlop’s impact as the Giro d’Italia was rolling into Belfast in 2014:

“Creating a faster bicycle is significant enough, particularly when the cream of the cycling world is descending on Belfast.

“But the real legacy of Dunlop … was in helping to enable cycling for all, male and female, young and old, fast and slow.”

Belfast is rightly proud of this legacy and, due to Dunlop’s innovation, our unique place in the history of cycling.

Happy birthday JBD!

Lots of information about John Boyd Dunlop’s legacy to cycling and Belfast:

John Boyd Dunlop (Wikipedia)

Dunlop and Hume: Belfast’s Contribution to Modern Cycling (Discover Northern Ireland)

John Boyd Dunlop – (re-)inventor of the pneumatic tyre (Culture Northern Ireland)

Early history of Dunlop tyres (Dunlop)

Cycling history made in Belfast (Elcyclista)

Once in a lifetime Giro opportunity wasted? (NI Greenways)

Giro d’Italia Belfast route to pass site of Dunlop tyre revolution (BBC)

Belfast to honour Dunlop and Hume at Giro Celebration (CTC)

How Northern Ireland played its part in transforming the cycling world (News Letter)

Belfast’s role in development of modern cycling celebrated (Belfast City Council)

The radio show


I like the bit where people with chronic entitlement issues phone up the radio show about their fine for a traffic offence, proceed to freely declare to thousands of listeners how incapable they are of safely operating a motor vehicle on our urban streets and, with no obvious sign of self-awareness, honestly believe it to be someone else’s responsibility.

“Anti-motor car Taliban” ruining Belfast soitis

Sammy Wilson (DUP MP for East Antrim) reckons that the Department for Regional Development (Minister Michelle McIlveen, DUP MLA for Strangford) is waging a “war against motorists” in Belfast city centre with bus lanes and new 20mph speed limits.

On the Stephen Nolan Show debating the new 20mph zone and Sammy’s spin on it are architect and planner Arthur Acheson and commentator Ian Parsley.

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Sammy is being Sammy and playing up to his self-image as Jeremy Clarkson-lite. Sammy’s also a former Environment Minister who thinks man-made climate change is a “con”. Sums up Northern Ireland really.

Arthur’s points about traffic being able to self-regulate through courteous behaviour is slightly barmy in the real world. Letting buses pull out at bus stops won’t help them speed past congested traffic, so bus lanes aren’t going anywhere.

Also see: usual tropes about car tax, motorists paying for roads, people refusing to shop in Belfast because they can’t drive safely, people admitting they don’t know how to drive safely (fined for being in an operational bus lane), “cyclists” don’t pay tax and insurance, the bureaucrats are looking to get more money from drivers, “motorists are very careful at looking all around them” – and a rake of taxi men phoning up the show ‘cos they’re so busy.

Boil down the Belfast on the Move project to it’s key targets and it’s a success – less cars travelling through Belfast city centre, but more overall people entering the city centre as folk have shifted to walking, cycling, buses and trains.

The new 20mph zone is another step along the road towards a really vibrant, liveable city centre which isn’t dominated by fast, impatient traffic with ‘no business being there‘. If it makes Belfast’s streets more attractive to people considering signing up to Belfast Bikes or bringing their own bicycle into town, it’s a great idea.

Facebook comments cringe factor: 8/10

“If the war on terrorists was anywhere near as strong as the war on motorists…there would be no terror left in the world.”

“I will never go into Belfast to do shopping or socialise again, I cannot be bothered with the hassle of bus lanes and 20mph speed limits.”

Report: “Cyclist injured in crash with van on Belfast’s Ormeau Road”

A van being driven on the Ormeau Road knocked a man off his bicycle this morning:

“Police said the man was involved in a collision with a van at the junction of the road with Haywood Avenue on Wednesday morning.

He was knocked off his bike and taken to hospital. His injuries were described as not life-threatening.”
Full story on the Belfast Telegraph website.


It’s long been the case that the Ormeau Road has been the centre of cycling activity in Belfast, and continues to lead the way in these days of increased cycling levels.

Although the traffic-free pathways along the Lagan have supported this cycling hotpot, it’s time to look at building on this success by tackling a dedicated cycleway project along the actual arterial route of the Ormeau Road itself.

Every crash involving someone cycling on the Ormeau road reminds us all of Michael Caulfield who was killed after being struck by a lorry in 2011 and Northern Ireland’s first ghost bike locked to the Ormeau Bridge in his memory.