Oxfordshire County Council has 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, according to the council.
Following the fatal accident at Oxford Parkway Station on 8 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, Cllr 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.
The working group includes Oxford City Council’s Cycling Champion, Cllr Jemima Hunt, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, Cllr Tim Bearder, leading figures from membership organisations in the cycling and active travel fields, senior county council officers, and elected members of 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 need to take into account and align 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 group will not rush decisions on ideas which may turn out not 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 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 had 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 identification of key principles and locations, is taking place.
The group has also noted and warmly welcomed the unequivocal public commitment from Cllr Leffman, county council Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy, Cllr Duncan Enright, and others to the principle of Vision Zero, which commits to eliminating road fatalities through adoption and implementation of design policy.