Oxfordshire County Council says it has come to an agreement with the University of Oxford to allow riders to access a diversion across university land while a popular cycle route nearby is shut for bridge refurbishment works. Cyclists in the city had criticised the previous diversion, saying it was "too long and too dangerous", and questioning why the university had not allowed them access to a short and safe route rather than sending them to a notoriously dangerous roundabout.
The access comes with the caveat that cyclists will be allowed only to push their bicycles through the University Parks, via High Bridge, dismounting and walking rather than riding, and can only access the route during school commuting hours (Monday to Friday 7am-9am and 3pm to 5pm).
Outside of the specified times, the council says the university will not permit cyclists "whether dismounted or otherwise". The route will reportedly be marshalled by volunteers during its hours of operation too.
Oxfordshire County Council's cabinet member for highway management hailed the "excellent news", saying it is important "that a solution has been found to make it safer for cyclists, especially schoolchildren, to continue to be able to use their bikes while Marston cycle path is closed for essential repairs".
The University of Oxford's local and global engagement officer said they had "tried to balance" protecting children and vulnerable cyclists' safety while "respecting University Parks' no-cycling rules".
Professor Alexander Betts said: "We are delighted that the university and the councils have been able to work together to find a practical solution. It's important that we support school children and other vulnerable cyclists to be able to get around our city safely.
[The new diversion: Oxfordshire County Council]
"We've tried to balance this against respecting University Parks' no-cycling rules, which we know are incredibly important for the many pedestrians who use the Parks."
Last month we reported that Oxford cyclists had raised safety concerns about a diversion which directed riders to a notoriously dangerous roundabout while a cycle path in the city is closed for 10 weeks for repairs.
The cycle route between Marston and Oxford city centre was closed from 14 August, Oxfordshire County Council saying it is "carrying out essential refurbishment work" to two bridges.
However, the original diversion sent riders to their destination via the Plain roundabout, a junction where last March a University of Oxford researcher, Dr Ling Felce, was killed when she was run over by an unlicensed, uninsured and drugged lorry driver who was jailed in September for eight years.
The council and campaigners welcomed subsequent safety improvements to the roundabout, however questions about the diversion's routing remained, with a local cycling campaign group calling for the alternative route to instead pass through University Parks, something that has now been agreed between the relevant authorities.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.