Sustrans cyclepath hits brick wall

"Developer" blocks path in Derry, Northern Ireland

A major Sustrans traffic-free trail in the Northern Ireland city of Derry has been completely blocked using prefabricated concrete bricks, effectively cutting off traffic-free access for cyclists to Derry city centre.

The cycle path, which runs along the river Foyle from Prehen to the Craigavon Bridge, had to be closed to the public last week after the obstruction was discovered by walkers.

The Derry Journal reported that "a developer" was responsible for placing the obstruction there. Sinn Féin Councillor Lyn Fleming was quoted as saying, "I have been contacted by a number of people from the area who are concerned about this. The cycle path and walkway are used every day by dozens of people to get into the city centre. Whoever took it upon themselves to put these bollards there would need to remove them."

A spokesperson for Derry council told BikeRadar, "The Council is not in a position to provide the name of the contractor involved. Meetings arranged for later this week are aimed at getting the obstruction removed and reopening access to the area."

But it seems the case may be more complicated than might first appear, as the Council spokesperson explained, "The path ... was never asserted as a right of way or public path. It is hoped that these meetings will assist the Council in assuring that any new developments at the site will provide adequate access to the path," hinting that the letter of the law may not be on the side of cyclists looking for the path to reopen.

As well as being a local commuting route, the traffic-free trail is part of Sustrans' 236 mile Ballyshannon to Ballycastle touring route which links Eire's Atlantic coast with Northern Ireland's North Sea, via Lough Erne and the River Foyle.    

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