POTHOLES, overhanging branches and brambles are just some of the hazards lying in wait for cyclists in Oxford, according to a Green councillor.
Craig Simmons, who represents St Mary’s ward on Oxford City Council , has been training to take part in a 90-mile charity cycle ride.
And riding round large sections of the city’s cycle network has left him less than impressed.
He said: “I cycle a lot because I don’t have a car, but most of the time I stay on the roads.
“But since I have been training for this race I have been cycling on routes around the city such as the ring road and I have found that there are areas, such as near the Botley Interchange, where they are overgrown.
“Even the towpath is overgrown. I almost fell off my bike after the wheel got caught in a pothole and I had a branch hit me on the head.”
Mr Simmons said some of the routes are poorly signed, particularly along the ring road near Banbury Road.
Other routes were almost impassable as they were so overgrown.
Richard Mann, of Oxford cycling campaign group Cyclox , said: “Routes being overgrown is a perennial problem but the council is fairly active at cutting it back.”
Earlier this year Oxford City councillors voted to spend more than £800,000 on improving the city’s cycling infrastructure to get more people out of their cars and on their bikes.
The four-year plan includes improving cycle lanes, building new bridges and removing some barriers along cycle routes.
Mr Simmons said he had written to Rodney Rose, Oxfordshire County Council ’s cabinet member for transport, to suggest there could be more investment in cycle lanes and tracks because of renewed interest following the Olympics.
He said: “Fitness reasons are paramount for most people when they take up cycling, even if they are not environmentally aware.
“We are trying to encourage more people on to their bikes, which is good for them and for the planet. It is a good time to review our cycling infrastructure.”
Mr Rose said: “We have received Cllr Simmons’ letter and will look at the concerns raised. Cycle paths are maintained by the county and city council and work is generally carried out on a priority basis.”
Other danger areas highlighted by cycling campaigners in the city include the Botley Road railway bridge and the junction of Broad Street and Parks Road – both the scene of fatal accidents. Earlier this year, cycling lobby group Sustrans branded Botley Road one of the most dangerous in the country for cyclists.