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Findhorn-based commuter calls for cycle path on Forres bypass

By Garry McCartney

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A LOCAL supermarket worker is calling for a new cycle path to make commuting more safe and environmentally friendly.

Tesco delivery driver Harry Cooksley (72) from Findhorn takes his bicycle to work via the village-Forres cycle path then down the bypass to the superstore on Nairn Road.

Harry setting off on the bypass.
Harry setting off on the bypass.

He said: “The cycle path from Findhorn to Findhorn Road is good, but there is none through Forres so I cycle down the A96. It’s easier and quicker than going through High Street, which is narrow in places and can be busy with buses, pedestrians and cars. While cycling down the A96 might be considered more dangerous, I wear high-visibility clothing and keep to the left of the white line at the edge of the road. I have never experienced a vehicle coming uncomfortably close.”

Harry believes there is adequate space for a cycle path by the white line.
Harry believes there is adequate space for a cycle path by the white line.

Mr Cooksley believes there is ample space along the east side of the bypass for a safe cycle route, and is calling for Transport Scotland to make the addition ASAP.

Forres bypass was constructed more than 30 years ago to alleviate the traffic in the town. However, Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland is currently investigating a new dualled carriageway from Inverness to Aberdeen, which will feature a section from Hardmuir to Fochabers to the north of Forres.

Regarding an upgrade to the existing bypass, a Transport Scotland spokesman said: “There are proposals for active travel facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians, as part of the A96 Dualling Hardmuir to Fochabers scheme.”

Harry pointed out that adding cycle paths to the current road system would have immediate and long-term benefits for cyclists, as opposed to having them next to a dual carriageway with increased traffic speed and exhaust fumes.

He said: “If I have to wait until the dualling of the A96, I suspect I’ll have long past cycled through the pearly gates. Having such a good cycle path from Findhorn to Forres is very frustrating to find no safe route for cyclists at that point. The government and local authorities are very keen to encourage us to walk or cycle instead of using cars, but there is little joined-up thinking in making that happen.”

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