CYCLING freeways and quiet ways as well as cutting Oxford’s remaining 30mph speed limits to 20mph are the cornerstone of a new manifesto from campaigners.
Cyclox members created a new group called Cycletopia and this week handed in a vision it hopes Oxfordshire County Council will use for its future transport plans.
Among the ideas are:
- New cycle freeways on major routes but separated from the rest of the traffic
- A rise to a quarter of all journeys being by bike
- Quiet Ways for more recreational cycling
- The equivalent of £10 per person per year in taxation to pay for it.
Cycletopia commissioned the study behind its cycling vision from sustainable transport charity Sustrans and cycling charity CTC, to complement two official cycling plans the county council is currently preparing for Oxford and the wider county.
Group member and chairman of Cyclox Simon Hunt said: “We are calling for a cycling revolution in Oxford.
“For the first time the authorities are looking as if they are going to plan strategically in a joined-up way. Knowing a bit about the council’s plans we have a decent expectation that this will get somewhere.”
An all-party parliamentary cycling group last year concluded cities should be able to get 30 to 40 per cent of all journeys made by bike for an investment of £10-£20 per person per year, “sustained for some decades”.
In the 2011 census, 17 per cent of Oxford residents – 11,900 – said they travelled to work by bicycle, compared with 15 per cent – 8,900 – in 2001.
Mr Hunt, 68, a retired Oxford University lecturer, said there needed to be a city-wide 20mph speed limit to get more people on bikes.
He said: “When a vehicle hits a pedestrian at 30mph, there is a 50/50 chance that person will die.
“If it hits at 20, the survival rate is 95 per cent. Anecdotally, you have to accept that people say they don’t cycle, or won’t let their children cycle to school, because it’s unsafe.”
Mr Hunt said that there would also be more safety in numbers if 30 per cent of commuters cycled, creating a wider cycling culture.
In 2012, 304 cyclists, including 31 children, in Oxfordshire were killed or seriously injured.
County council leader Ian Hudspeth said he welcomed the cycling vision for Oxford but would not be lowering all city roads to 20mph.
Mr Hudspeth said: “On Morrell Avenue, which we made 20mph, we are being told that it is not being obeyed.
“If we did that with arterial roads, it would undermine speed limits everywhere.
Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood said she was “very pleased” to support Oxford’s Vision for Cycling.
She said: “In addition to promoting good health and carbon-reduction, cycling has the welcome effect of reducing the number of cars on our roads. We must continue to invest in our cycling infrastructure.”
Oxford City Council has this year employed a dedicated Oxford cycling needs officer from the county’s highways team.
Leader Bob Price said: “We would like to see more funds and officer time to planing cycle improvement measures in the city.”
WHAT THAY WANT TO SEE
- Set a target to increase cycling to 25 per cent of all trips by 2020 and 30 per cent of journeys to work.
- Commit at least £10 per head per year to deliver the plan
- Engage an inspirational cycling champion to lead the transformation.
- Create cycling freeways, left, – high quality, joined-up routes on main roads into Oxford and within the city, segregated from motor traffic
- Cycling neighbourhoods – a walking and cycling plan for every neighbourhood with 20mph speed limits on all roads in the city.