As we put in place our final preparations for the start of the Bike Message Challenge next week, we’ve been out delivering packs to all the participating locations (and there are amazingly well over 100 of them so it’s been quite a task!). Most are bang in the centre of town but if one of them is the Hazelbrook Dental Practice on the Glasgow Road – for yes, even getting your teeth seen to can count as an errand for our challenge – which gave us the chance to try out the new cycle path between College Road and the Glasgow Road for the first time:
The new bits are actually pretty nicely done (you see we can say nice things about the council occasionally) – wide, gentle curves and well lit. At the other end, the council have even resisted to the temptation to put up a ‘cyclists dismount’ sign and invite us to rejoin the carriageway instead
The problem is, the carriageway in question is the Glasgow Road, which is effectively a dual carriageway although if you can find a gap in the traffic, you can nip across to the other side if you can …
This is the problem with the council’s current attitude of only building cycle paths where it’s easy instead of where they’re needed. The path was already mostly there, it just had some steps so it was a matter of bypassing them to make it accessible to bikes, wheelchairs and buggies. It’s just that – unless you’re going to the dentist (which is right next door the the path) or are brave enough to tackle the Glasgow Road – then it doesn’t really add much to Dumfries’s cycling network.
One day, maybe, all these little bits of path will join up and we’ll have a complete network – but that’s going to mean a bit more than just plucking the low hanging fruit. Wouldn’t it be great to see a path of that quality actually plugging the real gaps, such as along Brooms Road – or joining Collin to Dumfries.
We can dream eh?