Row over new bollards on Stephen's Brae as critics claim they make it difficult for disabled people to access the High Street
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A row has broken out over the installation of permanent bollards in Inverness city centre with critics moving to claim it will disadvantage wheelchairs users and pose safety concerns.
The new permanent bollards on Stephen's Brae have already sparked a flurry of complaints from members of the public.
It is understood they were installed to put an end to some cyclists coming down the short hill that leads onto Inverness High Street at speed.
However, the new bollards appear to be impassable to those using trikes and even wheelchairs and have already caused one accident, sparking calls for their removal.
According to local Councillor Emma Roddick, Sustrans Scotland recommends a distance of at least 1.5 metres between bollards on cycle routes to allow cyclists with disabilities and trikes or trailers to pass through.
She said the distance between these bollards and the fact they are locked in place prevents many people from easily accessing the street at all – including wheelchair users or those who use trikes.
Cllr Roddick has been using an e-trike to deliver food to those in need during the pandemic but now she cannot get past.
“The recently-installed bollards are not set wide enough apart, making it impossible for wheelchair, mobility scooter or trike users to pass through Stephen’s Brae,” she said.
“The e-trike from Cycling UK which I use to deliver food and other necessities to individuals and families affected by Covid doesn’t fit through.
“I have received multiple complaints about the bollards, including from a bike user who expected that they would open when pushed as they did last time.
“She crashed into them and flew off her bike as a result. This is clearly a safety issue as well as an accessibility one.
“This street is part of the National Cycle Network, and we cannot prevent cyclists from using it. These bollards should be removed as soon as possible and an alternative found which will allow all pedestrians and cyclists to share the space.”
Senior development officer at Cycling UK Brendan Dougan said; "Stephen’s Brae is an important route for people walking, cycling and wheeling.
"The static bollards present a considerable barrier, especially for people on non-standard cycles, people who use mobility aids, and those with prams or trailers.
"They make the route difficult or impossible to use for some of our most vulnerable and least-included citizens.
"We'd encourage the council to work with these groups to come up with a more accessible solution."