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Oxfordshire County Council responds to recent fatalities involving cyclists

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Oxfordshire County Council responds to recent fatalities involving cyclists
Oxfordshire County Council has responded to recent fatalities involving cyclists. Image: Entrance to Oxford Parkway Station with temporary safety measures in place.

Oxfordshire County Council has responded to recent fatalities involving cyclists and concerns around wider cycling safety issues.

In a statement on the Council’s website, the Council said it is: “…committed to doing all in its power, to prevent any recurrence of the recent tragic accidents involving cyclists. Three women have lost their lives on our roads in the space of six months, the latest in a sad litany.

“Following the fatal accident at Oxford Parkway Station on 08 February 2022, Dr Alison Hill, Chair of cycling campaign group Cyclox, delivered a petition demanding action and making a series of detailed recommendations.

“In response, the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Councillor Liz Leffman, asked the Council’s Cycling Champion, Councillor Andrew Gant, to chair a working group to drive actions.

“Before the group even met, another cyclist was killed at The Plain in Oxford on 1 March. The remit of the group, therefore, took in this location alongside others, as well as wider safety issues.”

According to the statement, the working group includes Councillor Jemima Hunt, Cycling Champion at Oxford City Council, Councillor Tim Bearder, Cabinet Member for Highways Management at Oxfordshire County Council, leading figures from membership organisations in the cycling and active travel fields, senior county council officers, and elected members of the city, district and parish councils for the specific locations under discussion. It has met regularly and continues to do so.

Discussions have included short-term actions to deliver immediate improvements at locations of concern, along with longer-term and more significant changes.

These discussions are taking into account alignment with planned schemes and initiatives such as the Central Oxfordshire Transport Strategy – due to the fact these will deliver significant changes in patterns of road use in and around Oxford – and, more broadly, with other programmes, including the Housing Infrastructure Funding (HIF) and growth deal schemes.

The statement adds that the group will not rush decisions on ideas that may turn out not to be compatible with these plans.

Specific sites under discussion are:

  • Headley Way/London Road, Oxford: Plans to improve safety for cyclists through the junction are at the design stage and will be made public soon.
  • Oxford Road/Oxford Parkway Station, Water Eaton: Temporary barriers are in place to reduce capacity and lower vehicle speeds in the southbound slipway, and additional signage is in place. A more fundamental redesign of the junction to improve legibility for cyclists is under review. Officers have also engaged with haulage operators working out of the HS2 base at Oxford Parkway to make them aware of cyclist safety.
  • The Plain, Oxford: Additional signage is in place, and there are plans to try to improve the alignment between Cowley Road and Iffley Road. Discussions are being held on road markings and potential options to better protect cyclists. Parking and loading restrictions, along with options to eliminate illegal parking (such as installing bollards and/or cycle parking racks on the island between Sainsbury’s and Magdalen College School’s junior school), are being pursued.

More widely, a review of provision for cyclists at junctions, with the identification of key principles and locations, is taking place.

The group has also noted and warmly welcomed the unequivocal public commitment from Councillor Leffman, Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy at Oxfordshire County Council, Councillor Duncan Enright, and others to the principle of Vision Zero, which commits to eliminating road fatalities through adoption and implementation of design policy.

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