Cyclists ‘chaining bikes to trees’

Cyclists are chaining their bikes to trees, lampposts, benches and even the coloured poles at Limavady’s Arts Centre because there are no bike stands in the town, it has been claimed.

Limavady’s deputy mayor, SDLP Councillor Orla Beattie says it’s “unbelievable” to think that Limavady town doesn’t have such secure facilities.

“Limavady is a town which is surrounded by areas of outstanding natural beauty and miles of beautiful coastline. Surely, it would be an ideal location for cyclists to visit and we should be seizing every opportunity to encourage people to visit our borough and town,” she said.

Colr. Beattie says several cyclists have raised the issue and all agree that bike stands would be welcome.

“Cyclists have been forced to chain their bikes, some of which are worth a lot of money, to lampposts, benches and even to the coloured poles outside the Arts and Cultural Centre,” she said.

Among them is Ballykelly man, 78-year-old Aubrey Hamilton, who cycles as often as six days a week.

“I love to cycle. I find it very relaxing and most days would cycle about 10 miles around Aghanloo, Myroe and into Limavady, but there is nowhere safe to chain your bike,” he explained.

“I have to use a tree or a lamppost and most times I have to ask someone to keep an eye on the bike when I go into a shop to do a message. Bike stands are badly needed in Limavady.”

Peter Cromie of Roe Valley Cycles in Limavady agrees and believes it would encourage more cyclists to make a stop in the town.

“The local cycling clubs are huge. Foyle has over a 100, so does the Roe Valley Cycling Club and Coleraine too. Most of the towns in England have bicycle stands these days,” he said. “I’m not saying we should have row upon row of bike stands, but half a dozen wouldn’t go amiss.”

Some cyclists who come into Limavady to do errands, or meet someone for a coffee, leave their bikes at Roe Valley Cycles as there is nowhere else they deem safe enough for them to do so.

“Where do you leave a bike in Limavady?” asked Mr. Cromie. “Unless you know someone who can keep it for you there isn’t anywhere really. I do think bike stands are badly needed.”

Colr. Beattie says an increasing number of people seem to be cycling “and this can only be a good thing”.

“Currently the Chief Executive of the Council is gathering information regarding the installation of bike stands and suitable locations. I think that to install bike stands is a relatively simple thing to do for our cyclists when you look at how well equipped neighbouring towns are in terms of cycle lanes and cycle paths,” she said.

The SDLP woman believes Council has a fantastic opportunity to promote cycling in the Borough and should take advantage of the fact that National Bike Week is 16th-24th June and its aim this year is to promote ‘everyday cycling for everyone’.

A Council spokesperson said: “The Director for Development has agreed to check if there was a provision for this in council’s Regeneration plan and the Chief Executive said Roads Service would need to be consulted on the request. This is still ongoing.”

SDLP MLA John Dallat and Colr. Beattie have both submitted questions to the Assembly asking Sustrans about whether they have plans for cycle lanes in Limavady.