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New £733,000 Inverness cycle path under safety review after concerns

"Cycling community needs to have confidence in the safety of the route" says MSP...

A cycle lane that cost three quarters of a million pounds to build is undergoing an urgent safety review agter is was found that parked cars and bins obstruct the path.

The £733,000 route is designed to take cyclists safely from the city centre to a new education and business campus beyond the busy A9 road in Beechwood.

But cyclists say that the route is inadequate as it is blocked by parked cars on the Raigmore Estate, and too narrow to accommodate bikes and cars on King Duncan Road.

Having initially argued that the path did meet safety standards, Highland Council is now to review it next week, both during the day and at night.

Independent MSP John Finnie told the Inverness Courier he was ‘delighted’, and reiterated his suggestion that the road be widened to allow more space for cycle lanes.

He said: "I requested that representatives from the Highland Cycling Campaign be invited to take part and am pleased that this has been agreed.

"Active travel is forming an increasing part of our daily commutes and ensuring that the safety of all road users is of paramount importance.

"I look forward to seeing the results of the independent engineer’s audit and working with the council and the campaign to ensure that the cycling community can have confidence in the safety of the route."

Earlier this year we reported how Scottish Green Party politicians were warning that a £3 billion project to upgrade the Perth to Inverness stretch of the A9 into dual carriageway failed to provide for cyclists.

The party’s Perth branch said it had been told by Transport Scotland that plans for the road do not include cycle paths on both sides.

The new road is “unlikely to have parallel cycle routes” due to “environmental impacts and costs”, Transport Scotland told the Greens.

Alison Johnstone Green MSP and co-convener of Holyrood’s cross-party group on cycling, said she was concerned the conversion of the road to dual carriageway could make it harder for people living along the route to get from A to B by bicycle.

She said that the Scottish government was “under enormous pressure” to increase the number of journeys being made by bicycle.

“It would be monumentally daft if they spent £3bn on a dual carriageway that did not incorporate better cycle infrastructure for Perthshire and Highland communities along the route, not to mention the opportunities for cycle tourism,” said Ms Johnstone.

Roger Humphry of Perth Greens added: “Dualling of the A9 gives an opportunity to improve facilities for walking and cycling but we have no confidence this will happen.”

Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch SNP MSP Dave Thompson dismissed claims that cycle routes would be too expensive as “nonsense”.

Ms Johnstone warned that there was a risk of additional costs if cycle routes were not included in the project’s design.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said the Scottish Government is “actively engaged” with “non-motorised” users to consider the dual carriageway’s design.

Transport Scotland said it was listening to feedback on the A9 project, and said the responses made it clear that people wanted cycling facilities close to the road and also safe crossing points.

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a_to_the_j | 9 years ago

its clear that the £733,000 budget was spent on £730,000 on management & admin (i.e. business lunches and hotels away in Copenhagen to study cycling lanes) and 3,000 spent on some paint, signs, 2 dropped kerbs, and an email to the Council to say its completed.

Zen Biker Maniac | 9 years ago

This latest audit is a Stage Three Road Safety Audit. It is simply to confirm that the construction is a faithful implementation of the design and that no inherent road safety defect have been built in and is a normal part of any road project.

It will not address whether the best route was chosen in the first place or whether it was designed properly. I would not expect anything in the report to change the minds of those who recently branded it 'suicidal'.

The section along Millburn Road is a shared path. There's a review here:

The ('suicidal') section on King Duncan's Road and the remaining part through Raigmore Estate are simply painted on the road. It's a start but Inverness needs a whole lot better.

The Ranty Highwayman did an excellent analysis here:

dotdash | 9 years ago

I've been saying for a while that town planners should be forced to ride the routes they create, and if they can't ride then the most important thing to them needs to travel the route.

You would soon see an improvement in town planning.

harrybav | 9 years ago

Good to see the top of the lands in the news.

I'm reminded of Edinburgh's impressively-named Quality Bike Corridor. Parked cars all the way, disappears whenever the road narrows, just a nonsense bit of paint letting them resurface the road using bike budgets.

Kim | 9 years ago

It says a lot about Transport Scotland that they care more about the environmental impact of the cycle path, than they do about the dual carriageway. But then this is an organisation who's Chief Executive thinks that golf is a form of active travel, no seriously, I was at a conference where he said so...

a_to_the_j | 9 years ago

Highland Councils, and its neighbors (Moray!) are terrible with cycling issues & plans -
A96 dualling Inv. to Aberdeen.- no provision for cycle lane, too costly, still will have to use the single lane unlit backroads to get from A to B which currently extends the distance by at least 6km's on my commute - and the new A96 plans make this more difficult because they are not putting in underpasses to the backroads, instead redirecting them to follow along the new a96 until it meets a junction on the A96.
*OR* they just say they are making the road a dead-end

A9 dualling - no extra provisions at all for cycling.

Towns too, 2 examples Nairn & Forres 2 cycle lanes goes east along a96 and stop in the middle of nowhere!

getting from A to B by bike is a joke up here if you want to afford heavily used A roads with logging lorries, trucks vans and cars all travelling at high speed.

the infamous grouse | 9 years ago

for some reason they didn't want to improve the two existing routes ... probably because of the ridiculous amount of cash spent on the stupid 'footbridge'.

old perth road is the only way to avoid congested climbs, yet it's a terrible surface for bikes and leads to the perilous fluke roundabout.

bikebot | 9 years ago

"cycling community"?

Why not simply "cyclists need to have confidence in the safety of the route", though maybe that MSP also refers to the "driving community".

CarlosFerreiro | 9 years ago
davann | 9 years ago

The part going up the hill on king Duncan's road is an absolute joke.

mad_scot_rider | 9 years ago

Woulda been cheaper for them to build it right in the first place - typical cooncil numpties - to eager to get literally *anything* achieved with their name on it before elections roll around

Das | 9 years ago

Without sounding flippant, all cycle paths are blocked by parked cars. And yes the A9 upgrade should include cycle paths, if not on both side, at least one side.

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