Orkney council and police hope to ease tensions between locals and cycling cruise liner passengers.
The frustration caused by bicycle-riding cruise liner passengers appeared to raise its head in Orkney Islands Council chamber on Tuesday, with the police and council confident that “something” will be in place to ease tensions for next season’s liner season.
There has been some friction between Orcadians and liner passengers who take to the roads in large cycle groups during this summer.
The behaviour of some cyclists and the hazards these large groups can pose to motorists has been a point of contention this year.
During a meeting of the local council’s police and fire sub-committee, one of the councillors subtly raised the issue.
Councillor Mellissa Thomson asked Police Scotland’s local area commander Ch insp Scott Robertson for more information on their Fair Warn campaign.
The campaign’s goal is to tackle anti-social and inconsiderate driving and parking in the region. The councillor asked if this also applied to motorcyclists and push-bikes.
She added: “You probably know where I’m headed with this.”
Mrs Thomson was told it only applied to motor vehicles.
She asked: “So, there’s no way you’ll be writing to any people that are on push bikes, running around unsafe at the moment…care of a certain cruise ship.”
Ch insp 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.”
Chair of the sub-committee, councillor David Dawson backed this up.
He also said 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.
Over 200 ships are expected as part of Orkney’s 2023 cruise liner season. Even more are expected next year, with 253 advanced bookings already made.
Councillor Sandy Cowie also weighed in during today’s meeting. He asked about the specific laws that apply to cyclists.
He said: “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.”
Ch insp Robertson said he wasn’t sure if he’d ever heard the term “furious cycling.”
However, he confirmed that cyclists can be charged with careless and dangerous cycling.