They will also hear concerns that using a bike “should not be the preserve of the brave and the foolhardy”.

Safety fears will be highlighted by cycling activist groups when they appear at the Oireachtas Transport Committee tomorrow.

Dr Damien Ó Tuama of the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network – which runs the website – will outline their hope that using bikes will be a normal part of life for people of all ages and abilities, as it is in other European countries.

But his statement says: “We are particularly conscious that in many parts of Ireland – and in rural Ireland especially – that the numbers of children cycling to school have fallen off a cliff”.

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He will point to data showing that just 694 secondary school girls cycled to school in 2016 while census data from 1986 shows the number was more than 19,000 at that time.

His organisation wants to see investment in high-quality cycling infrastructure and initiatives to increase safety.

Mr Ó Tuama is to welcome the crackdown on motorists caught dangerously overtaking cyclists that saw higher fines of €120 introduced last week for the new separate offence.

He will say that the impact on driver behaviour will be “critically linked with the enforcement of the new regulations by An Garda Síochána.”

Ian Begley: ‘Even if new overtaking law is enforced, cyclists are still putting their lives at risk every time they use the road’

Meanwhile, a statement from activist group I BIKE Dublin points out that in the Netherlands 75pc of secondary school students cycle to school – but in Ireland the figure is just 2.1pc.

It also says: “Cycling in Dublin should not be the preserve of the brave and the foolhardy.

“We should aspire to a city where people of all ages and abilities can choose to cycle.”

The statement says cycling infrastructure is relatively cheap to build and has a very high return on investment.

It also says: “Tens of thousands of people get on their bikes in Dublin every day.

“Tens of thousands more would do so if they felt it was safe.”

The Committee will also hear from officials from the National Transport Authority and the Department of Transport on safety initiatives and investments the government has been making in cycling.

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Online Editors