Ride supporting safe cycle route cancelled - because road is too dangerous

Campaigners say stance of police and council in Oxfordshire shows exactly why off-road path is needed

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.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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