Letters to the Editor
Fire and Rescue
Dear An Tirisdeach,
I think we would all agree that the Tiree Fire & Rescue Station does not have the full range of facilities that we would expect of a modern facility.
There was intent at one stage to work in partnership with the airport to try and develop a Volunteer Station to meet current standards but unfortunately agreement could not be reached at that time.
I am aware there is a meeting to be held in June between the Area Fire Commander and his Head of Property Services to see what can be done to effect improvements on Tiree, either by building an extension or providing robust portable accommodation to provide additional facilities such as a lecture room, toilets, showers and more dignity than is presently offered.
The vast majority of fire cover in Argyll & Bute is provided by Retained and Volunteer staff and the Service takes it`s responsibilities to such staff very seriously. This can be confirmed by observing the general standard of accommodation throughout Argyll & Bute. Unfortunately, the accommodation in Tiree is not yet up to this standard but we will see what can be done to improve things.
Councillor Donald Macdonald Ward 5 – Oban North & Lorn Argyll & Bute Council
Dear An Tirisdeach, Regarding your observations about mainlanders cycling habits and their lack of road sense, a few pointers.
Firstly, while there are some worrying spectacles amongst the cycling visitors it would also be fair to say that there are some pretty wearisome car drivers on the road too, and not all of them from the mainland.
I should know I am one of them – more often looking to the geese instead of where I’m going.
Poor cycling and poor car driving combined are not very relaxing to look at. However, one should bear in mind that cyclists have every bit as much right to be on the road as car drivers and the bicycle was there before the car.
As far as hold ups and appointment’s are concerned, it’s summer, the tourists are here so you simply have to set off earlier. Nothing new there and let us bear in mind it isn’t just cyclists you can get stuck behind – slow moving vehicles and livestock provide the same joys. Anyone who has ever been to Holland will have observed the extensive cycle ways built there – cyclists and cars never mingle. This could be achieved in Scotland too, however, it should be noted that the Dutch spend much less of their tax revenue on foreign military adventures so might be able to afford such plans all the easier.
Regards, Peter Isaacson
Dear An Tirisdeach,
At last I feel I am no longer alone in my frustration at driving around Tiree during the summer months. I have come to the conclusion that many of the cyclists (though not all Dr. Todd’s family of four children are exemplary in their road safety) get off the ferry and leave their sensible heads on it.
Tiree can be a difficult place to drive when one is unfamiliar with ‘the pockets’ system. It becomes unbearable when watching a small child wobble all over the place while parents seem to have lost all sense of potential danger. I cycle myself, and on a good day prefer bike to car but at no point do I forget that four wheeled vehicles can appear out of nowhere. Complete safety is an illusion, for that reason I think cycling, road safety leaflets should be in all lodgings pertaining to tourism.
Name & address withheld
I think it’s an excellent idea to make leaflets about safe bike riding on Tiree to all road users who might benefit from them, but what should this advice consist of?
A bike is a noble form of transport, healthy and planet saving and might be accorded the same kind of relative esteem that sail and motor powered water transport enjoy: that is, on the water, steam gives way to sail. Thus nature takes precedence over the piston engine: so a car should give way to lung legs and personal effort. We motorists do not hold an unassailable right to the public highway. On Tiree, residents and visitors alike might be expected to extend a little generosity to those not used to riding a bike on such narrow roads.
The safety of small children is of course paramount. Is it is not beyond all of us to add a little extra time to our journeys in the summer to allow for visitors on bikes, as would be necessary in any busy holiday location? My suggestions, given that to my mind it is much safer for cyclists to continue pedalling at the prospect of an approaching car than to wobble or crash to a panicky stop, are therefore:
- For oncoming cyclists:The motorist waits in a pocket to allow oncoming cyclists safely past
- For cyclists ahead:The motorist drives slowly a safe distance behind cyclists who are ahead, waiting for a pocket on either side of the road that is wide enough to allow overtaking without causing alarm or danger.
There are probably other considerations. But surely there is nothing but good to be gained by all of us from some agreed, public “Rules of the Road”? And we need to be proactive. I cannot bear to contemplate how utterly appalled we would all be by the injury or death of a child (or anyone) cycling on the roads of Tiree, whoever might be behind the wheel. And a patient courteous and gracious accommodation of our cycling visitors would surely do nothing but enhance Tiree’s reputation as a wonderful place for a holiday