A Skye councillor fears the lack of speed-easing measures on the island’s busiest road could force local communities out of the area.
Calum MacLeod has campaigned against dangerous driving on the A87 Invergarry to Uig road for years, but to no avail.
The A87 goes by the 60mph national speed limit, and the councillor has said little thought is spared for those living in close proximity to the road.
Designed in the 60s, the road was not built to cater to the dramatic increase in traffic Skye has seen in recent years.
He likened the way some motorists use it to “Wacky Races,” saying the areas of Strollamus, Dunan, Arddorch and Luib are some of the most “adversely affected”.
Increased tourist numbers during the rise of staycations have meant those living along the road are more impacted by speedy drivers than ever.
‘Potential detriment to health and wellbeing’
Many who live along the A87 have had near misses with fast drivers, and some working dogs have even been hit by passing cars.
Mr MacLeod explained the dangerous nature of these areas is driving locals out of them – making the existing issue of housing on the island worse.
He said: “It further exacerbates the issue that we have with housing here. A lot of the houses along the road now are holiday lets because a lot of people don’t want to live beside it.
“In my lifetime I’ve seen a lot of the communities disappear.
“The A87 is a trunk road with a 60mph limit, this often does not reflect the actual driving speed adhered to, being consequently incompatible to a community feeling safe.”
Mr MacLeod added dangerous driving has become so bad that it is now a “potential detriment to health and wellbeing”, with many of his constituents unable to have peace of mind.
No speed checking measures have ever been in place in the worst affected areas, according to Mr MacLeod, making any necessary action “long overlooked and increasingly overdue”.
Last year it looked like things were going to improve with plans for deployment of traffic police, but lockdown brought that to a halt.
Nearby examples of where these measures have already been put in place are Breakish and Inverinate – which Mr MacLead has hailed as “undoubted” improvement to local residents’ quality of life.
‘I recognise fully the detrimental affect’
Determined to see a change on the island, Mr MacLeod has raised the issue of fast driving on the A87 at ward meetings, area committee meetings and with the police.
In a recent email to Sergeant Ross McCartney, the councillor suggested that 40mph speed limits could be put in place in certain areas to make those living close to the road feel safer.
He is keen for the voices of the community to be central in the decision process surrounding traffic calming measures.
He wrote: “I would happily facilitate if you wished any community members wishing to represent their concerns directly, be it through a community meeting or even to action a petition.”
Sgt McCartney responded that the road policing which was delayed due to lockdown would still go ahead and efforts would be focused on the areas most impacted by these issues.
He said: “I recognise fully the detrimental affect these issues can have on our communities and impact on daily lives.
“We have a number of road policing deployments planned in Skye and Lochalsh over the coming months and I will ensure that the villages you have mentioned feature in these deployments.
“These deployments are in addition to local officers carrying out speed checks when able as part of our local policing patrol plan.
“With regards to breaking down figures to identify hotspots, we deploy/focus resources on areas identified by communities as potential hotspots.”
Mr MacLeod hopes that action will be taken sooner rather than later.
He is also considering raising a motion with the council if the proposed measures either do not go ahead or are not sufficient in dealing with the issue.