Parents and children in Dublin, Limerick and Galway have protested this morning calling for an accelerated roll out of safe cycling infrastructure.

The cyclebus groups in Limerick, Galway, Dublin 12, Dublin 8, Clontarf, Grace Park, Dublin 7 and Dublin 14 say their children are at risk every time they cycle to school because of a lack of safe infrastructure for cycling to school.

The Department of Transport is rolling out the Safe Routes to School programme and earlier this week announced the first round of funding with 170 schools identified.

However, this will be dependent on implementation by local authorities and the cycling groups say they are not moving fast enough.

Aodhán King of the D12 Cyclebus, which brings families together to cycle to Riverview National School, says that while South Dublin County Council has engaged and allocated €345,000 to the route - it could be years before the infrastructure is put in place.

The group said it could and should be done within months.

Cyclebus groups say that families banding together for safety l shows a failure to provide for active travel.

Mr King said: "Our roads are dangerous places for young cyclists, particularly in areas of high traffic congestion such as Dublin 12.

"But there is also a high demand and appetite in these areas for cycling and other alternative modes of travel. It is about enabling safe and convenient travel within our communities, to schools, shops, sports clubs."

He said the Department of Transport, the National Transport Authority and councils need to "lead with a cohesive vision for communities, and not be restricted by local authority boundaries".

Hildegarde Naughton, the Minister of State responsible for Safe Routes to School programme, has been cycling with some of the cyclebuses this week.

"The level of interest in this scheme has been really positive with one-in-four schools expressing an interest in the programme," she said.

"Crucially, this scheme is led by schools and students who wish to promote active travel to the classroom. It is now the job of Government and Local Authorities to embrace this enthusiasm through the provision of safe walking and cycling infrastructure.

"The Safe Routes to School programme will function on a rolling basis, meaning as soon as work is completed at one school, work on the next eligible school will commence," she added.

"Our vision with this programme is that, in time as the scheme progresses, all students will have the option to cycle, scoot or walk to school safely," she said.