A group in Oxfordshire campaigning for a safe cycling and walking route along a busy road have been told by the police and local council that they cannot hold a planned Sunday afternoon ride there next month – because it is too dangerous.
Bike Safe has been fighting for the route on the B4044 between the village of Eynsham and Botley on the western fringe of Oxford for five years now.
The ride along the 5 kilometre stretch of road, which passes through Farmoor, was to have formed part of a Fun Day Out the group is organising in Eynsham.
However, on its website, the group says: “Oxfordshire County Council and Thames Valley Police have declared that the B4044 is too dangerous for our planned Sunday afternoon cycle ride, walk or run from Botley to Eynsham on September 11th.”
Far from expressing disappointment, however, campaigners say that the attitude of the authorities reinforces the need for a safe route for people on foot or on two wheels.
They said: “We agree and look forward to the opening of the B4044 Community path which will give us a safe route for cyclists, runners and walkers to travel between the west of Oxford and the village of Eynsham, on Sunday afternoons or any other day or time of the week.”
The Fun Day Out will continue in Eynsham itself however, including the Eynsham Unlocked discovery trail, a Pokemon hunt, Morris dancing, a barbecue at the Queen’s Head pub and live music at The Swan in the evening.
In 2011, Bike Safe produced a video showing why they believe the path is needed.
In the past, the two MPs whose constituencies the road runs through – Nicola Blackwood, who represents Oxford West and Abingdon, and former Prime Minister David Cameron, the member for Witney – have expressed support for the plans.
But despite Mr Cameron promising a “cycling revolution” while he was in Number 10 Downing Street, his own constituents are still left waiting for what they maintain is an urgently needed route.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.