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Oxfordshire cycle path campaigners hopeful of bike path cash (+ video)

Bike Safe hopes DfT can help finance route from Eynsham into Oxford

Cycling campaigners in Oxfordshire who have been fighting for an off-road cycle path on a busy road are hopeful that it may open next year.

The group Bike Safe has been campaigning for a grass verge of a 3.1 mile stretch of the A4044 between Eynsham and the western approach to Oxford to be turned into a shared use path for cyclists and pedestrians.

In 2011, they made a video showing some of the hazards that people on bike or on foot face on the road.

Now, the group is hopeful that money from the Department of Transport(DfT) plus a contribution from Doric, which hopes to develop the West Way shopping centre in west Oxford, says the Oxford Mail.

It has said it will donate £80,000 to Bike Safe should the £100 million development secure planning permission in December.

Ian Leggett, chair of Bike Safe, said: “The survey of the land between Eynsham and Botley will enable us to identify where the route will go.

“If we can get planning permission sorted by the spring there’s no reason why we can’t have this completed and ready to use this time next year.”

The charity believes the 3.1 mile (5km) stretch of 50mph single track carriageway between Eynsham and Dean Court via Farmoor along the B4044 is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.

He says that the government’s recently announced draft Cycling Delivery Plan, which invites local authorities to make “expressions of interest” over plans for infrastructure, may bring the cycle path a step closer.

“I feel more confident now,” said Mr Leggett. “I think the cycling delivery programme is a really good thing.

“The opportunity is now there for local authorities who to want to do some serious investment in improving cycling and walking.

“We have written to Oxfordshire County Council urging them to submit an expression of interest and we hope they take this great opportunity.”

David Nimmo Smith, the county council’s cabinet member for transport, said: “I would like the county to put in an expression of interest.

“We need the details of the government’s plan first but if it means funds could come in for cycling improvements then we are up for it.

“One of our officers is going to a meeting next week,” he added.

Published last month, the government's Cycling Delivery Plan received a lukewarm reception from much of the cycling community, with CTC describing it as "derisory."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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