A councillor in Orkney has raised concerns about tourist cyclists coming to the island on cruise ships and urged the police to start charging them as part of an operation originally meant to tackle "anti-social driving", with the chair of the meeting confirming that measures will be put in place from next year to deal with the rider and ease the tension with the locals.
The agenda was raised by councillor Mellissa Thomson at the council's Police and Fire Sub-committee, while discussing Police Scotland's Fair Warn campaign.
The Fair Warn campaign was introduced in Orkney earlier this year to deal with anti-social and inconsiderate driving and parking behaviour. The officers have sent 47 letters to offending motorists in the last four months since the operation began.
However, Councillor Thomson asked local Chief Inspector Scott Robertson: "I am particularly interested in your Fair Warn campaign. I hadn’t understood much about it before but I’m getting it now. Is this just about vehicles or are we heading into motorbikes and push bikes?"
She added: "You probably know where I’m heading with this."
A chuckling Robertson told the councillor that it applied to motor vehicles and motorbikes, but not cycles.
Councillor Thomson then questioned: "So there’s no way you’ll be writing to people who are on push bikes who are running around unsafe at the moment and coming off cruises?"
Inspector Robertson replied: "You will be aware that myself and the chair and others have had some really good discussions with regard to the cruise ships and the cyclists coming off them.
"I don’t want to preempt it but we hope to have something in place for the next season."
The committee's chair Councillor David Dawson added that it was too late to get something in place for this year. He said it wouldn’t be effective as there are only a few more visits planned from ships carrying push-bikes, but assured Thomson that they will have "something for next season".
At which point, Councillor Sandy Cowie also chimed in, saying: "The laws around cycling seem to be fairly weak.
"I discovered the other day that you can’t actually break the speed limit on a bicycle regardless of how fast you go. Speed limits, apparently, don’t apply. But you can be charged with furious cycling. I think that’s the term."
Inspector Robertson told him that he wasn't sure if he had ever heard the term "furious cycling" but they could charge people with careless and dangerous cycling in Scotland.
The Press and Journal reports that there has been friction between Orcadians and liner passengers who take to the roads in large cycle groups during this summer, with the "behaviour of some cyclists and the hazards these large groups can pose to motorists" being a point of contention.
Every year, hundreds of people visit the island archipelago located off the north eastern coast of Scotland. In 2023, over 200 ships are expected as part of the cruise liner season. Even more are expected next year, with 253 advanced bookings already made.
Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.