A Moray cycling enthusiast has urged road bosses to incorporate bike paths into a major roads project to boost tourism.
Neil Joronim believes combining the cycle paths development with the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road is a lucrative tourism opportunity, and suggested they could even be linked with the Aberdeen bypass and Stonehaven coastal road.
He said he was disappointed after attending recent public exhibitions of proposed routes for the project, as he claims Transport Scotland seemed to be overlooking cycle ways altogether.
Mr Jeronim, of Dyke, near Forres, voiced his concerns to the Scottish Government this week in letters to both First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Finance Secretary John Swinney.
Last night, he said: “Transport Scotland don’t seem to be very cyclist-friendly.
“When I went to the last meeting in Inverness, it seemed they had dropped any ideas of including cycling provision in the dualling of the A96.
“It’s a shame because we know people want it.
“I have written to Mr Swinney about it because it would be a minimum of four times as expensive doing it after the road was complete.
“With some foresight, we could join an A96 path to the Aberdeen bypass, and even onto the A92 path, and we would then have a long distance cycle way, which could have the same effect as the
West Highland Way had in regards to business and tourism.”
A Transport Scotland spokeswoman yesterday maintained they had not ruled the idea out and were looking into ways it could be incorporated.
She said: “Suitable provision for all users, including cyclists, is an important part of the A96 dualling programme, and this is currently being progressed as part of the design development of the preferred option for this scheme.
“We recognise the contribution local and user groups can play and, as such, we have set up community council and non-motorised user forums to provide updates on emerging proposals and also to seek vital feedback.
“Over the coming months we will continue to engage with these forums.”