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A campaign pushing for more safe cycling routes in Inverness is gathering speed after its first trial run

Cyclists using the Spaces for People measures below Inverness Castle.
Cyclists using the Spaces for People measures below Inverness Castle.

The wheels are already in motion.

Now campaigners hope efforts to encourage more safe cycling in Inverness will gain speed in the lead up to the COP26 climate summit.

The Kidical Mass event attracted 50 cyclists, from toddlers to people in their 70s, to cycle together around the city.

The gathering was a trial run for a larger event planned on October 2.

Pressing for sustainable travel options

Organisers say it is hoped to get people excited about cycling and to improve confidence on the roads.

They also want to highlight the rights of cyclists and to press for sustainable travel options for non-drivers.

Last week, Inverness councillors discussed the controversial Spaces for People scheme which includes additional areas for walkers, cyclists and wheelchair users.

They decided to generally retain the scheme in Academy Street but to work with disability groups on alternative temporary measures.

The Kidical Mass event attracted cyclists of all ages

However, a one-way system around the castle, including a contraflow cycle lane, was scrapped.

The campaigners said: “We are at a critical point where the decisions and changes that are made now will have an enormous impact upon our future.

“It is essential that our leaders weigh up the arguments of local people and business with expert advice and scientific evidence.

“What is clear is that we must make it easier and safer to choose walking, wheeling and cycling.

“Especially for short journeys such as school run, daily commutes and shopping trips.”

Encouraging people to cycle

Kat Heath, one of the event organisers, regularly cycles into Inverness from Bunchrew with her six-month-old son.

She said: “The response to the event was incredible. I expected to get about 10 cyclists, but 50 turned up.

“The idea of Kidical Mass is that cycling should be fun. We should be able to get out on to the streets safely without anxiety.

“COP26 has people thinking about cycling. I hope it will encourage parents to come out with their kids to cycle.

Kat Heath cycles into the city with her son

“I was devastated to hear we are losing shared spaces. They are not perfect but they keep me and my son safe.

“I was horrified that they are prioritising cars when we’ve just had a UN report raising concern about the state the world right now.

“If they see so many people wanting to have safe places to cycle, hopefully it will show them they need to listen to all their constituents not just some of them.”

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