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Cycling campaigners in Oxfordshire unveil vision for £120 million cycle route network

Safe routes between homes, workplaces and transport hubs would save £112m a year in healthcare and travel time costs, they say

Cycling campaigners in Oxfordshire have unveiled their vision for a 366-mile network of cycle routes that would provide safe and direct links for people on bikes travelling between towns, workplaces and transport hubs across the county.

The Oxfordshire Cycling Network says that it would take between 15 and 20 years to build the network, and estimates the cost at £120 million.

It envisages that cycle paths would be at least three metres in width and built to Dutch or German standards, separated from the main carriageway by a grass verge in the countryside, and with physical separation from motor vehicles in urban areas.

But it adds that by increasing levels of cycling in the county from the current 3 per cent to 10 per cent, there would be a £112 million annual benefit due to reduced healthcare costs and time saved travelling because of reduced congestion.

Robin Tucker, chair of Oxfordshire Cycling Network and a member of member of Oxfordshire County Council’s Active Travel Steering Group and the Local Enterprise Partnership, said the aim is to provide routes people feel safe riding on, irrespective of age or ability.

He explained: “Our vision is that people of all abilities can choose to cycle anywhere, feeling safe and comfortable.

“Instead of stop-starting in traffic jams, fretting about where to park, I can bike the five miles from home to Abingdon more quickly and more predictably. Plus, I will have done my exercise for the day.”

Regarding the estimated cost, which equates to a spend of roughly £10 per person per year, he said: “It’s three pence a day each, which doesn’t sound much, but it would transform transport and health in Oxfordshire.”

“Our financial model shows a seven-fold return on investment over 20 years, which is two or three times better than most road investments.”

Simon Hunt, chair of Cyclox, the local cycling campaign for the city of Oxford, said: “All ages, all abilities. These are the four As of best-practice standards for cycling. The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark – and even Cambridge – have shown that this works. Now let’s bring similar 4A benefits to Oxfordshire.”

Oxfordshire Cycling Network will be lobbying candidates ahead of May’s local council elections to support the proposals as well as back Cycling UK’s Space for Cycling campaign, and on 22 April, campaigners will meet outside County Hall in Oxford to press their case.

Ian Leggett, chair of Bike Safe, said: “26% of adults in Oxfordshire cycle, so that’s 140,000 potential voters, and many more” – almost half a million people, according to Oxfordshire Cycling Network –  “who would love to cycle if they had a good safe option.”

Oxfordshire Cycling Network, which brings together almost 30 organisations that campaign for better walking and cycling facilities, has drawn up this map of a proposed network that it says “is a starting point for discussions with the County Council and the public about its shape, its benefits and its costs.”

Oxfordshire Cycling Network proposed map.jpg


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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severs1966 | 7 years ago

Unless has suddenly become a religious website, it's a bit pointless writing a news article stating that some people had a vision.

A beautiful diagram that could be titled "Things that will never happen" is also of questionable value.

We live in a country that builds international airports more frequently than useful cycle infrastructure. Where lots of politicians pretend to be planning to build cycle paradises, but none are (yes, that includes you, Mr Khan, or "liar of the year" as you are also known).

dassie | 7 years ago
1 like

The B4044 Oxford to Eynsham, across Swinford toll is part of this proposed network.  OCC may even be of the opinion this particular section is 'not safe for cycling',  and a consequence they may even prevent organised cycling events from occurring on said route.  OCC may even have landowners willing to allow the construction of good quality cycling infrastructure along the B4044, but still  they apparently lack the will power and resources to make any positive moves in the right direction.  I regularly cycle part of this B4044 section, and even IF a cycle route was ever to be constructed, given the record of the authorities in designing paths that cyclists would actually want to cycle on, OCC would need to try particularly hard to get it right, and actually spend time doing serious consultations with cycling bodies, and LISTENING to them...

emishi55 | 7 years ago

There is no reason not to make ths happen.

Just the right people pushing at the right time at the right door.


London should be leading the way with the evolution of the original Go Dutch campaign -

though the phrase 'mini-Holland' seems to be too toxic for the Khan administration, over keen not to cause too much friction with petrophiles - and happy to shout from the side lines at the government's inaction.

Say what you like about Ken or Boris (and I used to say a lot about Boris epecially when he dismantled the WE), they did at least have the courage of their convictions to get things done and installed (Congestion Charge / CS routes).

Sadik & co not only lets the London side down, but by allowing momentum to drop (and the vacuum to conveniently be filled by shouters and shisters - Learmond Criqui and all), he fails the rest of the UK that includes schemes such as this.

So, campaigners need to remember when rekindling that energy to fight the carcinogenic, carnage causing, monstrous traffic foe, their actions spread far beyond the boroughs of London.


But likewise - Oxford, in if they could get this scheme to become reality sooner rather than later, would also show how regional council officers and engineers wouldn't need to travel across the North Sea for examples of best practise.     


Grahamd | 7 years ago

Nothing wrong with ambition and good intentions. I used to regularly cycle in Oxfordshire 30+ years ago and the provision then was better than any areas I have cycled in since. Building on this looks feasible.

ktache | 7 years ago
1 like

yes, makes my head hurt.

Zebulebu | 7 years ago

Agreed. Never happen.

Also, be nice if hadn't posted the picture upside-down...

kitsunegari | 7 years ago
1 like

Pie in the sky dreamland.

I'd love to see it happen, but the UK is the wrong country to be proposing it in.

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