A motorbike event that has the potential to bring thousands of tourists into the area may have to be cancelled due what an organiser has described as the “quite dangerous” roads.
Glen Stansfield, from Creetown, worked as an adviser to the Newton Stewart Rotary Club’s Wheelie Good Bike show in August. He said: “Last year the A712 [New Galloway to Newton Stewart] route was used for the ride in. But if someone has an accident, they could sue us for taking them along that route.
“We have to think carefully about that. We want to attract people to Newton Stewart but we don’t want to bring them in on roads that are really quite dangerous.”
Last year the A712 played a major part in the day as the meeting point for the bikes was New Galloway. The riders then travelled to Newton Stewart along the road to avoid having hundreds of bikers on the A75 Euro route.
Mr Stansfield added that the show had attracted between 150 and 200 bikers and around 2000 people to the town and could have a positive impact on the local economy.
He said: “This event has the potential to be really enormous. The tourist board wants people to come to the area but the infrastructure isn’t good enough. The resurfacing that was done on the road was half-hearted. We know they are struggling to make ends meet but the roads should be a priority.”
Under the Freedom of Information Act, Mr Stansfield received the following statistics from Dumfries and Galloway Council: “The total amount paid for claims between 1st April 2010 and 31st March 2011 due to poor road maintenance is £33,347.34. Please note this is the total cost of these claims and not necessarily just compensation payments to claimants. The funding spent on roads by Dumfries and Galloway Council in 2010/11 was £15.7 million and the forecasted expenditure for 2011/12 is £13.6 million.” The council also confirmed there was no ring-fencing of budgets any more so each council has to determine what amount to allocate to roads each year.
Local businessman and biker Iain Crosbie will soon present a petition with around 200 signatures to Alistair Speedie, the council’s director of planning and environment services, highlighting the deteriorating condition of the A712.
Jim McDowall, from the Motorwise breakdown recovery service, based in Minnigaff, said he had been called out 43 times this year to assist bikers who had come to grief on the road from skidding on loose chippings or hitting hidden pot-holes.