Parking and tailbacks put damper on some bank holiday getaways

Some day-trippers turned back from a number of Northern Ireland’s seaside resorts and attractions on Monday as the combination of bank holiday sunshine and post-Covid lockdown enthusiasm led to miles of traffic tailbacks.

Monday, 31st May 2021, 8:11 pm
Traffic at Helen's Bay, Co Down on bank holiday Monday. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Vehicle breakdowns and road collisions close to some popular hotspots added to the frustration for those worst affected, however, the PSNI said there were no major issues beyond some localised disruption.

A broken down car at the Helen’s Bay traffic lights, on the main road between Belfast and Bangor, caused serious delays for a short time but the carriageway was fully open again within an hour.

Later in the afternoon, traffic on a main route to the north coast was severely disrupted following a collision on the Frosses Road near Ballymoney.

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Shortly before 4pm, Causeway Coast and Glens PSNI said the road had been blocked in the vicinity of Knock Road and that, as a result, heavy traffic was affecting motorists on the Ballybogey Road.

All of the north coast and Co Down beauty spots were reported to be extremely busy again yesterday following large crowds flocking to them on Sunday.

One motorist who contacted the News Letter said they were inching towards Tyrella beach in Co Down in a mile-long tailback before deciding to find somewhere quieter for a family day out. Another reported a wait of more than one hour to exit Portstewart due to traffic at a standstill on the road to Portrush.

In Co Down, parking was particularly chaotic around Crawfordsburn prompting traffic wards to issue a number of fixed penalty notices for various offences.

The high volume of traffic has prompted the PSNI to issue a reminder for motorists to exercise extra care – particularly in rural areas where agricultural vehicles are present and greater numbers of people are walking and cycling on country roads.

Superintendent Gary Busch said “significant numbers of people” have been detected speeding and drink driving, and added: “All drivers should be mindful of greater numbers of people crossing roads or walking along country roads, particularly close to reopened outdoor hospitality venues, parks, green spaces and public amenities.

“Pedestrians must pay attention to their environment, whether that means not getting distracted by friends or mobile devices, or being especially careful when walking on country roads by walking on the right, facing oncoming traffic and by wearing highly visible clothing.”

• Anyone visiting beauty spots this summer is being urged to “arrive early, park responsibly and use official parking.”

The ‘Right Side of Outside’ campaign appeal is being made by the Walk NI group and Cool FM’s Pete Snodden.

It asks day-trippers to travel in the morning, to seek out access to quieter sites, and to be mindful not to harm the natural landscape or disturb wildlife and, “if you arrive somewhere and it is busy, have a ‘Plan B’ ready; there is no shortage of spectacular places to spend the day outdoors”.

See www.walkNI.com or search #RightSideofOutside.