Cyclists 'dance with death' in Highland capital

Links to business and retail parks should be improved, say Greens

by Tom Henry   July 21, 2009  

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Cyclists ‘dance with death’ if they choose to commute to business and retail parks on the edge of Inverness, a Green Party activist has said.

Eleanor Scott says the Green Party is calling for major investment to improve cycling links between the centre of the city and Inverness Retail Park and Stoneyfield Business Park, describing the ride at the moment as ‘ghastly’.

She said thousands of would-be cyclists who would use their bikes to commute to work or visit shops were deterred by the existing road layout.

There is no dedicated cycle path along Millburn Road, while riders have to use pavements on the interchange to cross two of four slip roads from the busy A9 Inverness-Perth road, three of which are not signalled.

Mrs Scott said: “Travelling to the retail park should not be a dance with death for cyclists. There should be a proper route.”

As well as cycling paths, Mrs Scott said there should be investment in bridges or underpasses on the interchange to ensure the safe passage of two-wheeled travellers.

She said: “Money needs to be spent that should have been spent in the first place.

“It is a ghastly ride at the moment and one that I don’t think many parents would allow their children on.

“Cycling and walking should not simply be treated as leisure pursuits but as ways of travelling between two places.”

Chris Scatchard, a member of the Inverness Transition Towns movement and Friends of the Earth Scotland, said concerns about the inadequate provision of cycling routes had been raised at a Transition Towns meeting held in the city earlier this month.

He said: “We need to encourage more people to use bikes, and there needs to be better routes going out to the retail park.”

Last month, Liberal Democrat politicians in the city pledged to lobby Highland Council to introduce measures to make Inverness more cycle-friendly.

Inverness MP Danny Alexander and city councillors Hamish Wood and David Henderson said they were looking at a range of initiatives, including cycle-to-work schemes, safe routes to schools and boosting the number of designated cycle paths.