Oban-Inverness cycle route gets the ‘shovel ready’ green light

Transport Minister, Keith Brown, has announced today [2nd January 2013] funding of almost £4 million [£3.9m] towards the development of the National Cycle Network.

Three quarters of this [£3m] will be spent on a dedicated cycle track between Oban and Inverness.

A further £400,000 is to be spent on making cycling to school safer and  more attractive for children.

The funding is part of the capital projects investment announced by Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney, in December 2012.

Keith Brown describes 2012 as being ‘a fantastic year for cycling in Scotland’, with the Olympic success of the sport itself, of the UK-wide team and of spectacularly inspirational athletes like Scotland’s Chris Hoy leading to a huge surge in interest in cycling both for recreation and as a way of getting around.

The Transport Minister is on the record as having committed himself to cycling more himself in getting to work in the coming year.

Mischief makes it irresistible to advise him to stay away from the climb up to Rest and Be Thankful on Argyll’s unpredictable A83 – lest he find himself suddenly inspecting at close quarters the emergency route below, destined as a relief track when landslides clobber the trunk road. A cyclist would be swept over the barrier and down the hill in no time in these circumstances.

Mr Brown says: ‘In the Highlands and Argyll & Bute, we are committing £3m to fast track the National Cycle Network ‘Route 78′ between Oban and Inverness.

‘The Great Glen cycle path will be an iconic route which will boost the local economy through additional tourism. Indeed it will – and bang on message in adding to Scotland’s USP of activity tourism in breathtakingly beautiful surroundings.

Michael Russell, SNP MSP for Argyll and Bute says: ‘I welcome this commitment to route 78, and particularly the cycle route to be created between Oban and Appin, to link a remote community off the main Oban to Fort William section of the larger route.

‘This news is a terrific start to 2013 and demonstrates a clear commitment by the SNP Government’s to the areas tourist potential.’

The funding forms part of a £205m programme of capital projects announced by Finance Secretary John Swinney on 19th December, assisted by additional funding of £369 million for ‘shovel ready’ capital projects granted to Scotland by UK Chancellor George Osborne.

This grant is aimed to protect economic recovery in the short term to 2014-15 and contribute to the infrastructure necessary to facilitate Scotland’s long term economic growth,

With an accompanying reduction in Scotland’s capital budget of 26% over the period to 2014-15 the overall uplift to Scotland of the additional finance for capital projects is £330 million.

Route 78 has a ring about it. [Which one is Route 66?] Some fit cycling fanatic of a musician will surely come up with a song to promote it? But anyone set to start composing should wait first to ride the route when it’s ready – and then see, literally, how it plays.

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22 Responses to Oban-Inverness cycle route gets the ‘shovel ready’ green light

  1. I’m confused by Michael Russell’s comment, because I could have sworn that large stretches of the route between Oban and Ballachulish, including in the Appin area, are already complete – and Sustrans, with Argyll & Bute Council and Transport Scotland, hope to finish the missing stretches by 2014.
    They’e apparently continuing land negotiations, and I very much hope that the lion’s share of this new government money to ‘fast track’ the route will be invested in the physical infrastructure and doesn’t signal the opportunity for some of the landowners to line their pockets – if you think I’m imagining trouble where none exists, remember the past scandals over public money doled out to ‘fat cat’ rural landowners supposedly in the national interest.

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  2. Like Robert, and as a regular traveller along the route, I believe most of it was completed some time ago. Exactly what are the SNP claiming now? – Something that will be done that’s been done already or simply filling in the gaps with huge sums of money?

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  3. Great news in these difficult times that £3m is being made to complete remaining sections of cycleway.

    The route will be great for leisure and tourism in addition to the provision of a bit of much needed work during construction.

    In relation to costs I wonder how many folks know what the average cost of a dedicated cycleway is taking into account the construction elements involved.

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  4. We were in Scotland two years ago and would have loved to have done some bicycling but shipping our bikes over was a bit expensive and complicated and we didn’t find them available to rent. We ride a bike trail here in Cincinnati Ohio that extetnds from the Ohio River front in downtown Cincinnati to beyond Dayton Ohio and I belive will ultimately extend to Cleveland Ohio. I am 76 years old and ride most days when the weather permits. Yesterday I rode a little over 11 miles in 30 degree F temps with snow covering several hundred meters of the trail. Same today but with 30 mph winds so I will not ride.
    I enjoy getting the local news bits from you guys as I slso enjoy an occasional taste of Campbeltown Scotch.
    My roots on my mother’s side are Campbeltown (their name was Henry) and if my health holds I hope to visit there. Who knows maybe I’ll do your bike trail.
    Keep up the good work with the web site I enjoy it.

    Bill Reed

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  5. Well, this is one bunny that is not so happy with extra funds been pumped into cycling routes. If it was mandatory that cyclists use the cycle paths and not the roads, then i would not have a problem with it, but to waste millions of tax payers pounds on cycle routes that cyclists do not really use – is outrageous. If the police introduced a fine for cyclists using the road and not the cycle paths, would work out, and justify the monies spent on cylce paths. Cyclists are a massive danger on our roads, to themselves and car drivers.

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    • The cycle routes we are talking about are not just for cyclists, they are also for safe routes to schools, and for the use of the whole community. You should get out and see for yourself how well they are used by children, elderly people who appreciate a safe, well maintained path surface, dog walkers, families out for a sunday bike ride, local nursery schools for outings, wheelchair users etc. This is all from my use and experience of the stretches near Benderloch, Barcaldine and Appin. Magnify that along the whole length and you will see the value.

      The only downside is that as a result of the other ‘traffic’ on the routes and the fact that they take scenic and often meandering routes due to land use, land ownership and geology issues the cycle paths aren’t always the first choice of serious cyclists and commuters.

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      • That is just my point exactly. Due to the other traffic on the road, e.g. cyclists riding on the roads instead of using the cycle tracks, holds up the traffic. Folk travellling at 50 miles an hour on the road are now forced to travel even less than 30 miles an hour. Hours have to all slow down, and have to wait for a safe place to overtake. It is just pure selfishness for cyclists to be on the road.

        With regard to the cycle track been used by other modes of mobilty, then that can easily be rectified, a line can be painted in the middle of the track to divide cyclists from other forms of mobility.

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    • Cyclists are a massive danger to car drivers! How? Have NEVER heard of an incident of a car and bike collision where the car came off worse. I cannot be bothered with folk like you. I am fed up being told to get road tax; I have it. I am fed up being told to ride on the pavement – I am MEANT to ride on the road. If drivers were considerate of cyclists my life would be safer and we maybe wouldn’t need to build cycle paths.

      I am so angry – drive with due care and attention – you have a legal responsibility to

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      • I do drive with due care and attention and if I did happen to hit a sheep on the road, I would take it to the vet and pay the farmer for injuring his sheep – and that would be that.

        If I happen to have a collision with a cyclist then they would bleat like mad, i would be charged with dangerous driving, etc etc.

        This country cannot justify spending money on cycle tracks and cyclists do not use them…..
        Yes, I will continue my campaign until the roads become safer and step no. 1 will be no bicycles on trunk roads…

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        • If you hit a cyclist then I should hope that you are charged with dangerous driving … as long as it is proven that you were at fault. And I love the fact that you compare cyclists with sheep …. just shows how much respect you give to other road users!

          And yes, there are some cyclists that do act selfishly and dangerously, I am happy to admit that …. but the vast majority are careful and considerate, mainly because they are the ones that would be badly injured if there were an accident. And you can say the same about car drivers, there are a minority that are selfish and dangerous.

          I used to have to cycle on a trunk road to get to work as I could not afford a car. It was the most terrifying time as cars and lorries squeezed past pushing me closer and closer to the kerb and into potholes. Especially in rural areas where there are few buses for some people cycling is the only option.

          Can you honestly tell me that you are such an important person that you can’t slow down on your journey for the safety of other road users! I’m sure that extra 2 minutes that you save by forcing a cyclist into the ditch is well worth it.

          If there was a cycle path alongside every major route in the country then you would have some right to claim that cyclists should not be on the roads, but until that day then you are showing yourself up to be a truly selfish and dangerous driver and I am appalled by your views.

          And my apologies to Way-Ahead – I totally agree with your comment but clicked on the wrong hand so registered a ‘dislike’ by mistake.

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          • The whole point, Stooshie, is that cyclists should be required to use cycle paths where they exist – that’s surely perfectly reasonable and you’re just generating a sanctimonious smoke screen. The A82 south of Tarbet is the most obvious example that I know where lots of recreational cyclists scorn the use of the cycle route. Most of this road is relatively wide with hard shoulders, and perhaps they justify their behaviour by arguing that this makes it safe for cycling – but I have my doubts.

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  6. Some cyclists are a danger to pedestrians especially in towns and cities. Rather than wait for traffic lights to turn to green they cycle down the pavements just to save time.
    Here in Islay there have been instances of a cyclist holding up traffic on a single track road and not using the passing place to let the vehicle(s) past. I have also seen cyclists cycling two and three abreast on a single carriageway road holding up the traffic behind. These cyclists seem to think they are above the law and can do whatever they please yet if a cyclist is in an accident with a vehicle “all hell breaks loose”.

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    • Have to agree with you on that one Treble. Its the same here in the Oban area.

      The thing is the govt banned horse and traps racing on the roads, so why on earthy do they allow cyclists 2 and more racing abreasts on the road….does not make sense.

      Surely its more dangerous having cyclists on our roads than horse and traps?

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  7. I too have issues with ‘some cyclists’ there is nothing worse than a group (usually) of club cyclists, more often than not at weekends spread across the road sometimes in three’s and on rare occasions 4 abreast. They think they are the only one’s allowed to be on the road and often give glaring looks if you dare to pass them, and often they shout abuse. They have no consideration for the motorist as they think they are beyond the law, (maybe because they have no form of identification as cars and motorbikes etc have to conform with the law ie: registration plates) Road trials for cyclists should also be banned from the roads as the same conditions apply, the only difference is the speed they travel at and their focus on the time rather than what is happening on the road.
    It does not surprise me that there are accidents, in fact I am surprised there not more accidents, of course it is the motorist that is always to blame!
    Also meant to say that if cyclist paths are built or exist it should be a legal requirement that they should be used and not ridden on the public highway, failure to do so if caught they should be subject to a fine that is deemed appropriate by legislation and the courts. After all other motorized road users can be be brought to court for next to nothing.

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  8. I think that cyclists should pay Road Tax.
    It would not be too difficult to fit a tax disc holder on to the frame of the bicycle. On the tax disc should be the name, address and post code of the registered bike owner.
    In country places the local police will know which cyclists are breaking the law and the police should take action.
    You only need one well publicised court case involving a cyclist not adhering to the Highway Code and the rest will soon get the message.

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  9. I agree that where there is a cycle track, cyclists should be required to use it.

    The daftest example of the need for this I have come across was on the A82 beside Loch Lomond a few years ago. I encountered a unicyclist wobbling his way along the edge of the northbound carriageway.

    Mind you it is all very well introducing a new law but a waste of time if the Police cannot be bothered enforcing it. Take as an example the same road on a nice Sunday evening in summer time. Big queues of vehicles build up but the motorcyclists just drive south on the northbound carriageway, causing vehicle drivers to take avoiding action. No sign of the boys in blue taking any action on this.

    Which really goes to show that road tax for cyclists would be a waste of time as it is no guarantee of law compliance. It would be impossible to read the Post Code etc. of a passing cyclist.

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    • It’s not helped by half-baked schemes like ABC’s ‘cyclepath’ between Garelochhead and Helensburgh(and perhaps elsewhere too for all I know); for clarity and for the benefit of ABC’s roads department, painting a metre-wide red stripe(including the gutter) at the edge of the road is not a cyclepath, it’s a farcical waste of money.

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  10. Anti-social behaviour by cyclists is, as with any group of road users, a problem involving a small minority and all this talk of road tax and registration plates is just plain silly. How many car drivers have been killed or seriously injured by a cyclist? A bit of minor inconvenience and delay is the worst you can expect.

    Most cyclists who have to use trunk roads would be delighted to switch to cycle paths where they are available – cycling on a trunk road is not an enjoyable experience. It is bitterly disappointing how long it is taking to complete these networks – primarily a result of unending wrangles with landowners rather than lack of funds.

    However, some cyclists are training for road races/time trials etc., and need to use the road. I don’t think it’s so much that they are ‘disdainful’ of cycle paths, but that the paths are not designed for the type of riding they do – they are shared-use paths for slower cycling, walking and horse riders.

    Cycle paths will take most of the commuter and leisure cyclists off the road, improving their safety and motorists’ convenience, but at the end of the day, cyclists have just as much right to the road (except motorways) as any other road user – a basic principle of the Highway Code.

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  11. Perhaps it is more difficult to read a tax disc on a bicycle, however the cyclists would be contributing to up keep of the roads which is something they do not do at present.

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