Two weeks ago, on 18 April, a 19 year old man, Mr. Harry Boland, was knocked down and killed while cycling on the Stillorgan dual carriageway. His death was a terrible tragedy for his family. I offer my condolences to his parents, brother, extended family and all of his friends. I bring forward this Topical Issue and mention the death of Mr. Harry Boland because, unfortunately, his tragic death meant that he was the sixth cyclist to be killed on the roads this year. It is regrettable that the number of deaths of cyclists on the roads has increased in the past two years. In 2017, 15 cyclists were killed on the roads, an increase on the ten killed in 2016. So far this year six cyclists have lost their lives.
I raise this Topical Issue to ask the Government and, in particular, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Shane Ross, who I am pleased to see in the Chamber to devote more attention to improving the safety of cyclists on the roads and more resources to ensuring there is sufficient infrastructure in place to protect them. If we are serious about protecting cyclists, we must increase the level of Government investment in cycling infrastructure. I cycle around the city and it is a very efficient and environmentally friendly way of travelling around it, but, regrettably, I cannot say it is very safe. The biggest threat to cyclists is posed by the proximity of very large vehicles. To diminish that threat, we must segregate and protect cyclists from large vehicles. Unfortunately, the level of investment by the Government in cycling infrastructure shows that it is not devoted to improving the safety of cyclists. The Minister may or may not be aware that approximately 95,000 people cycle in Dublin each day. I am sure there are very large numbers of cyclists throughout the rest of the country. We know from an answer given by the Minister to my colleague, Deputy Robert Troy, that the level of investment in cycling infrastructure has decreased significantly in recent years. The Government spent €16.3 million on cycling infrastructure in 2011 and €18.8 million in 2015.
Regrettably, in 2017, the Minister's first full year in charge of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, only €7 million was spent on improving cycling infrastructure. I also know from my colleague, Deputy Troy, that the Minister has announced that this year only €8 million will be devoted to cycling infrastructure. It is a derisory amount. It marks a significant decrease in the amount of money Government is spending on cycling infrastructure.
If the Government is serious about trying to promote cycling and ensure that cycling is encouraged among our population, it must play its part in trying to make cycling safer. There always will be dangers and threats on the road but it is imperative that the Government tries to ensure that cycling is made safer for citizens who use it. The Minister and his Department should be aiming for 10% of his budget to be spent on cycling and walking facilities. In fact, the United Nations recommends that it should be in the region of 20%.
I would like to hear a commitment from the Minister that steps will be made to spend more of the resources of the State on making cycling safer.