Call for cycle ban on danger roads

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By Hugh Boag

A call has been made for mass cycle events on Arran to be banned because the island’s roads are too dangerous.

‘Arran aspires to be a world class island, but how can this happen when we have third world roads,’ Shiskine representative Marilyn Woods said at Arran community council this week.

And she urged the council to ‘oppose in the strongest possible terms’ any applications for major cycle events which came before them due to the state of the island’s roads which she said were ‘not fit for purpose’.

‘There could be serious consequences for any of these cycling events. There is a danger to life and limb for the participants and if there was an accident North Ayrshire Council have got to be culpable.’

Mrs Woods told the meeting in Lamlash Golf Club on Tuesday: ‘The roads are in a disgusting state, they are like a cart and track in some places, it is just ridiculous.’ She said there were at 20 areas of concern in and around the Shiskine area with a total of 390 potholes being counted.

She was supported by Whiting Bay representative Peter Randell who said he had raised in the past his concern for the safety of competitors taking part in road cycling contests, but had been assured these were time trials and not racing events. ‘The only safety precaution I have seen is purple lines being painted round pot holes,’ he said.

Arran police sergeant Dougie Robertson said it was incumbent on cyclists, as with all road users, to be to be aware of the road conditions.

Arran is hugely popular for cycling events from major competitions, round island charity cycles, to visiting bike clubs. Some are off-road while others use the islands fragile road network, which has been left in serious need of repair after the severe winter weather.

But island officer Gus MacLeod explained that very few events required a licence and a lot of privately planned events did not even let the council know they were happening. However there are moves to require formal events to give the council notification which will be circulated among interested parties.

A meeting is planned for next week to raise awareness of sporting events including cycling, running and swimming and the ultra events, which include a combination of all three. All the emergency services and the community council will be involved.

Meanwhile, the Arran roads repair programme for 2018/19 costing £800,000 is being finalised, amid concerns that the island needs ‘many millions’ to put the roads in order.