Motorists fuming at cycle event jam

Sky Ride on Blackpool promenade.
Sky Ride on Blackpool promenade.
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MOTORISTS have been left furious after facing gridlock on Blackpool’s streets as event road closures sliced the town in half.

Blackpool Football Club’s team doctor was among those caught up in the traffic chaos as thousands of cyclists made the most of vehicle-free streets for the resort’s first ever Sky Ride event.

But while there was fun for those on two wheels, thousands of motorists heading to Bloomfield Road to watch Blackpool FC take on Peterborough faced frustration and delays.

The club’s team doctor was just one of a number of fans who were forced to park up close to Blackpool Victoria Hospital and walk to the ground in a bid to beat the traffic, while other drivers across the town faced long queues.

A spokesman for Blackpool Football Club said: “We did our best to notify supporters they needed to set off in good time however we are aware of a number of people – including our team doctor – who got caught in traffic around Victoria Hospital and decided it would be quicker to park up and walk.

“However, we understand the Sky Ride event was a success.”

And dozens of people have taken to The Gazette’s website to complain about the chaos caused by the event, which saw key routes including Church Street, West Park Drive and part of the Promenade sealed off to traffic.

Lee Bragg said: “On Hornby Road it was madness. In the end drivers stopped obeying the lights and just started pushing their way through.”

And Cjack added: “This isn’t a dig at cyclists, it’s a condemnation of the idiot organisers who brought a town to a standstill and put public safety at risk.

“I’ve done the Manchester to Blackpool cycle ride a couple of times – a larger event which doesn’t cause the mayhem we saw on Sunday.”

The ride gave cyclists the opportunity to travel on traffic-free streets between Stanley Park and the Promenade, and more than 7,500 riders took part which bosses said proved the success of the event.

Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council cabinet member for tourism and culture, said: “Everybody who I spoke to at the event had a really good time and enjoyed the opportunity to cycle at their leisure along the traffic free streets.

“We will take into account everyone’s views before deciding if we will hold a similar event in the future.

“The date for this year’s Sky Ride was booked months ago and it was unfortunate the Blackpool FC match was then also rearranged to the same date.

“We recognise there was some road congestion due to the numbers travelling both to the football ground and to Stanley Park and appreciate how frustrating it can be.

“As a council, we worked to publicise the event and make people aware of the road closures in advance, and liaised with the football club to advise people to set off to the match earlier than usual to compensate for the road closures.”