THE death of a cyclist on a stretch of road near Cardross was “entirely avoidable” - and could have been prevented if a cycle path project linking the village with Helensburgh had been completed, according to a local resident.

Dumbarton man Colin McCourt, 40, died at the scene of a collision involving a car on the A814 on Tuesday, November 10.

The tragedy has prompted renewed pleas to Argyll and Bute Council for the long-running cycle path saga to finally be completed.

The idea was first proposed almost two decades ago, but the most recent progress report, published in September, said that the project faces further delays - and the entire scheme now has an estimated completion date of early 2027.

READ MORE: Helensburgh cycle path could face even more delays, report warns

The project was previously branded “an embarrassment to the council” by the late Liberal Democrat councillor Ellen Morton, while the local authority’s depute leader, Councillor Gary Mulvaney, claimed “the Great Wall of China would be built quicker than this”.

Jay Thundercliffe, who lives in the village’s Darleith Road, said: “It troubles me that this man [Colin McCourt] would probably be alive if Argyll and Bute Council were more competent in creating the cycle network, which really should have been in place 20 years ago.

“I wince every time I see someone on a bicycle on that stretch of the A814.

“This was an accident that has been coming for a long time - and could have been entirely avoidable.”

Fellow Cardross resident David Galloway agreed that pressure is now mounting on the local authority to put an end to the saga.

READ MORE: Cyclist from Dumbarton named as victim of fatal crash near Cardross

“This cycle path debacle has been on the go for years and years,” he said. “There have been detailed consultations both written and face-to-face and no progress seems to have been made.

“I live in Cardross, I am a cyclist and I do use that route.

“I always select the cycle track from Colgrain to Helensburgh, but I am always on edge in the section between Cardross and Colgrain.

“The section from Cardross to Dumbarton is also in desperate need of completion.

“I understand that the appropriate councils did receive central funding for these projects, but they have never been completed.

“It is tragic that a predictable incident like the one last week seems to be the trigger to bring it back into focus.

READ MORE: Cycling still on the up in Helensburgh, according to new data

“One slight concern is that the hard-bitten cyclists will likely still use the main road, even if a custom track was available.

“I know several friends who use the route regularly and would definitely use a cycle path.

“I do agree that the councils are not free from blame. Surely there is no excuse - there must now be serious moral pressure for the council and other relevant groups to get this issue finalised without delay.”

Cardross Community Council convener Patrick Trust told the Advertiser a new group called CardrossCAN has been set up to try and “stimulate the council to proceed with urgency”.

He called the current cycle path schedule “unacceptable”.

Helensburgh and Lomond South councillor Richard Trail, a firm advocate of the health benefits from active travel in the area, maintained that “cycling needs safe routes”, but highlighted the “long, slow process” in delivering the local project.

READ MORE: Scrap Helensburgh-Dumbarton cycle path project, pleads councillor

He said: “The Helensburgh to Cardross cycle path has been a long-running saga. It is a source of frustration to all who are involved in delivering it.

“There have been long-running difficulties with landowners to reach agreement on the land purchase.

“The second public consultation has required a change in the route of the missing section to run alongside the railway line.

“The design work on the missing section is expected to start shortly.

“The negotiations with the land owners will then start, and when they are concluded, funding for the construction will be sought from Sustrans. It is a long, slow process.

“The need for the cycle path has been brought sharply into focus by the sad death of Mr McCourt in the collision on the A814.

“The new path, when completed, will provide a safe route for cyclists. However not every cyclist will choose to use the route.

“As motorists are only too aware, some cyclists will continue to use the main road.

“We have still some way to go in acknowledging that cycling needs safe routes and has a role to play in improving our health.”

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