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‘Cyclists riding irresponsibly’ the only transport-related problem in Oxford city centre according to council survey

Active travel campaigners urge people to write to council flagging up other issues in consultation

Active travel campaigners in Oxford are urging people to complain to the city council over what are being described as “biased questions” in its survey on public attitudes regarding the city centre, with “Cyclists riding irresponsibly” being the only transport-related issue highlighted.

The Public Attitude Survey on the City Centre consultation was launched last November and closes this Sunday 12 January.

It is billed as “the first stage in a wider piece of work that will see the City Council create a vision for the whole city centre, including transport into and around the city centre, retail and tourism, and street furniture and public toilets.”

However, Oxford’s Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT) has put in a complaint to the council over what it sees as a “disproportionate focus on the negative behaviour of cyclists above the problems posed by any other form of transport.”

The complaint is based on the fact that there is only one transport-related issue that respondents to the survey are prompted to address, namely “‘Cyclists riding irresponsibly.”

CoHSAT, whose members include the Oxford Civic Society, Oxfordshire Liveable Streets, the Oxford Pedestrians Association and cycling campaign groups Cyclox and the Oxfordshire Cycling Network, has produced a template letter that people can send to the council as it stands, or adapt to add their own views.

The letter, which can be found on the Cyclox website, points out that other issues that the questionnaire could have addressed might include “dangerous driving, air pollution, noise from traffic difficulty crossing the road, the amount of city centre space taken by motor traffic, the amount of city centre space taken by parking, irresponsible and illegal parking, goods vehicles loading and unloading and loading freight, pedestrians walking irresponsibly, scooters being used irresponsibly and mobility scooters being used irresponsibly.”

It adds: “As such the Survey can not hope to give credible answers in this area. But we are more concerned about the attitudes it will develop and reinforce among respondents by encouraging them to think about negative behaviours of cyclists in an imbalanced way.

“This is a retrograde step from a Council that we generally consider to be supportive of cycling.”

Last month, See.Sense, the Northern Ireland-based smart bicycle light brand, announced a partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, which is the relevant highways agency for the vast majority of roads within the county and in the city of Oxford.

Under the partnership, some 300 cyclists living in the area were given the opportunity to but a See.Sense ACE rear light at two-thirds off the usual price, with the data captured by the device over a year-long trial helping inform decisions about where cycling infrastructure is most needed.

> See.Sense partners with Oxfordshire County Council to find out where cycling infrastructure needed


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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