‘Tis the season – when, whenever we’ve had frost or snow overnight, a cyclist takes to two wheels with the greatest of trepidation. The online magazine, City Cycling has launched a campaign to remind elected councillors that pedestrians and cyclists need safe paths and pavements too.
The glory of cycling in Dumfries and Galloway lies in its quiet back roads and network of cycle routes but, come the winter, these become a liability due to black ice or uncleared snow. We recognise that the council cannot clear and grit every tiny road but if the back roads and cycle paths – such as the Maxwelltown railway path and the Caledonian Cycleway – aren’t cleared then it often leaves us with no option but to cycle down the major trunk roads – or leave the bike at home.
Given that we can expect frost and snow now for up to four months in the winter, this is more than just a minor inconvenience. For those of us who rely on our bikes for transport, fitness or just plain sanity, it can be a major hazard. And we feel that Dumfries, as a ‘Smarter Choices’ town should be setting a better example by prioritising active travel as well as major roads and bus routes. Last year and the year before, even walking around the town centre became hazardous, forcing people to walk in the streets or even trapping older people in their homes for fear of slipping on the ice. This year, winter has come later so we can hope there will be adequate grit and salt supplies to prevent this from happening. We hope to see clear roads and safe cycling and walking on the town’s pavements, cycle tracks, and the whole of the National Cycling Network including the on road sections.
You can contact the council here if you’d like to add your voice to this request.