Ennis & the wider county has the potential to support a community bike scheme. A scheme for the county could be based on the successful bike schemes in Limerick and Galway & the Clonakilty based West Cork Community Cycle Scheme. I believe there are lots of benefits to having a scheme like this running in Ennis and the rest of the county. As we see every year there is an increase in the number of tourists that want a green alternative to driving around to see the sights. Developing rental stations in the different towns and villages around the county where you can drop off and pick up a bike easily and conveniently could give Clare the opportunity to market itself more distinctly to this environmentally conscious tourist. This is especially relevant as Failte Ireland are aggressively marketing walking and cycling routes here in the county and promoting them as offshoots of the Wild Atlantic Way, we need to be finding more ways to boost the tourist spend in the County and attracting people to stay longer, with 1.5 Million tourists flocking to the Cliffs last year too many of them just get back on the bus or into the car and head away, making little to no impact on the wider Clare economy, this needs to change. Here in Ennis and in Shannon there is scope for people cycling to work or the shops instead of bringing the car, this sort of healthy activity is great exercise and allows people save money and time.”
While there is some concern that Ennis or Shannon by itself would not be a realistic target for a scheme like this due to population size I believe that this is not the case. There is an idea out there that a scheme like this needs to be in a city to work but that’s not the case. A great example of this is the scheme running in Clonakilty which has a population of around 4,500 people and has been running for several years now. It has worked in conjunction with a few local businesses to find locations and storage for the bikes and has become a launch pad for further tourism in West Cork. There is no reason that a collaborative scheme like this cannot be gotten off the ground, all it needs is a central stakeholder & I believe that Clare County Council could fill that role.