In a newly launched project called Bicycle Heroes, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City Council and partners will this year work with children from DEIS schools to design cycle routes from their schools to Trinity.
The project will enable young people aged 10 to 15 to tackle urban challenges head-on. It will give city-building tools to children who have a unique perspective on their surroundings that often goes unheard. The project, which is also being undertaken in Lisbon and Rome, is supported by EIT Urban Mobility, an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology, a body of the European Union.
Dublin Bicycle Mayor Donna Cooney, project manager of the Bicycle Heroes programme, will co-ordinate workshops for children from DEIS primary and secondary schools during 2022. The children will create solutions to local cycling barriers on the route from their school to Trinity, before approaching Dublin City Council with their ideas.
The project, which is also being undertaken in Lisbon and Rome, is supported by EIT Urban Mobility, an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology, a body of the European Union. The organisations involved locally are Dublin City Council’s Safe Routes to School and School Zones initiative, the Healthy Trinity initiative, researchers from Trinity’s School of Civil Engineering and the Trinity Access Programme.
Brian Caulfield, Associate Professor in Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at Trinity, said:
The cities across the world that Dublin is trying to emulate in cycling numbers have been promoting cycling to and with children for decades and it has been shown that these early interventions can result in lifelong cycling habits.
Donna Cooney, Dublin Bicycle Mayor, said:
I’m so excited about coordinating the first Bicycle Heroes project in Dublin with partners Trinity College and Dublin City Council. We will be working with groups of children aged 10 to 15 years, to give them the tools to enable them to reimagine their city space to meet their needs. Children will be empowered by designing, exhibiting and presenting to transport engineers, planners and decision makers to influence the design of Dublin City spaces for their own future active transport needs.
The Bicycle Heroes programme has been piloted by coordinating organisation BYCS in the Netherlands over the last five years. Nearly 10,000 children have taken part in the initial awareness and problem-solving phase of the programme, leading to the selection of approximately 150 Bicycle Heroes. Participating municipalities and institutions have expressed interest in implementing a number of the selected ideas.
This 2022 project builds on these successes, taking what has worked well to a Europe-wide level.
Schools Mobility Outreach Officer for Dublin City Council, Niamh Ní Cholmain, said:
Bicycle Heroes complements Dublin City Councils School Mobility Programme which has seen the installation of almost 70 School Zones in the past 18 months.
“School Zones demarcate an area of public space around school entrances where the dropping off or collecting of children using cars is discouraged. It also ties in with our Safe Routes to School Project which looks beyond the school gate and aims to increase the number of students who walk or cycle to school by providing safe walking and cycling routes to school. It is essential that children influence the design of these schemes – they are the ones who are most affected and they are the voice of the future.