Sustainable Transport at Work in D & B
Many people will have noticed blue signs in the village numbered 83 and 77 giving mileages to Bankfoot and Pitlochry. Many will know that the signs are particularly for cyclists. Less will know that the signed routes form a UK wide network of quiet country roads and cycle paths called the National Cycle Network. Route 77, for example, goes all the way from Pitlochry to Dundee. At Logierait Bridge it meets route 7, which links Inverness to Sunderland. And route 83 is the local route which doubles back from Logierait and Ballinluig alongside the A9 to Dunkeld. If you want to explore the full network, have a look at www.sustrans.org.uk
So who is accountable for the condition of these cycleways? Well, there is small but active local group who check the signage, keep the overhanging vegetation pruned back and some litter picking. We also do some heavier path widening, mud clearing and flood drainage. Okay, it’s not perfect, but be assured that without our efforts the path would be in a far worse state. Technically speaking Bear are responsible for the upkeep of cycle paths alongside the A9, but in practise we have found it very difficult to persuade them to fulfil their responsibilities.
So can you help? Most certainly! You can pick up litter and nip back vegetation any time you like. Or if you prefer to work with the local group, sign up as a volunteer with Sustrans.
And what else do Sustrans do? They fund cycle training in schools particularly through their iBike project. And importantly they have money to fund community link projects. Could be an improved link for commuters to the local station, or to make a safer path for children cycling or walking to school. As a result of this, Perth and Kinross Council have become far more receptive to undertake infrastructure projects. In other parts of the county, for instance, you may come across “Green Roads”. By the narrow and twisty nature of these roads, traffic will already be slowed down, but lower speed limits will be formalised and signs in place indicating the routes to be friendly for cyclists, walkers and horse riders.
And what else does the local group do? For the past two years we have been auditing the plants and animals (mainly butterflies and bees) on the station cycle path. Sustrans is recognising the value to wildlife of the cycle paths in their Greener Greenways project, and have been amazed at the enthusiasm the project has engendered amongst the volunteers. So the next time you see us in our yellow jackets shovelling mud or counting bees, say “hi”, or better still come and join us!
Me? I’m off this Summer to cycle The Way of the Roses from Morecombe to Bridlington. Signed all the way with little blue signs.
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