Highland residents are threatening to take “assertive action” against events which will put hundreds of cyclists on a collision course on a major route.
Lochaber residents and businesses have dubbed the situation – which threatens traffic chaos on the A82 Inverness to Glasgow trunk road – “cycling madness”.
They are angry that 800 cyclists taking part in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain (RAB) 2014 Lands End to John O’Groats event are travelling north on the busy trunk road on Friday, September 12, and the following day.
And another 266 cyclists taking part in the Rat Race Coast to Coast event between Nairn and Ballachulish would be heading in the opposite direction on the road on the Saturday.
They have pleaded unsuccessfully for something to be done to alleviate the “inevitable” hold-ups, which they believe could lead to accidents as a result of motorists becoming frustrated at delays.
A local businesswoman has now issued a rallying cry for “assertive action” to be taken against the events.
Anita Nicholls, who runs a management training company with her husband Simon, said the organisers seemed to regard their community as “a playground” and did not appreciate the need for people to live, work and run businesses.
She said: “I am great supporter of tourism as a key element of boosting the local economy, but not to the detriment of local business and the health and wellbeing of Lochaber residents.”
And she is now calling for locals to join her in taking action against the events.
Mrs Nicholls said: “I am willing to put my time and expertise into organising assertive action which stays within the law, but frustrates this event and shows the strength and resilience of the Lochaber community in the face of massive disruption and a lack of meaningful negotiation.
“If anyone else is interested in helping to plan this action and take part, I should be very glad to hear from them.”
Mrs Nicholls would not say what form the “assertive action” would take.
Stewart MacLean, of the A82 Partnership, said: “As an organisation we would not wish to get involved in any demonstration or ‘assertive’ action.”
A spokesman for the organisers of the coast to coast event said: “We have liaised with the organisers of the RAB on the interaction of both events for this year, which occurs at a location off the A82.”
He added that the company was “comfortable with the management of such occurrences”.
And RAB orgainsers Threshold Sports said: “We are working with the key local authorities to minimise disruption as much as possible and will continue to do so until the event has passed through the area.”