Press release – re-design Hythe Bridge Street and George Street junction

press_release-01PRESS RELEASE  8 December 2015

“Paint and prayers not enough”: 1,000-plus petitioners call for redesign of dangerous junction

Oxfordshire County Council will today receive a petition signed by more than 1,000 people urging a redesign of an Oxford city centre road junction that exposes bike users to unacceptable levels of risk.

The petition, which will be presented at the 8 December council meeting by Pratima Mitchell and James Young, urges the council “to re-design the potentially lethal crossing facility for bikes on Hythe Bridge Street and George Street”. The petition has been endorsed and supported by Cyclox, Oxford’s cycling campaign group, which been drawing attention to the risk that the junction presents to bike users since the present road layout was first introduced.

The petition explains the dangers that cyclists face while using the junction: “There are far too many cyclists to be safely accommodated in the “waiting” area in the middle of the crossing. Fast-turning lorries and cars swing round from two directions into Hythe Bridge and miss cyclists by inches. It is also not clear when it is safe for bikes to cross over into George Street.”

Councillors are being asked to consider how the hundreds of cyclists who travel from the station and Botley Road to town each day can be kept safe. The petition also suggests the use of a cycle-specific traffic light as a potential solution.

Simon Hunt, chair of Cyclox, has been expressing Cyclox’s wholehearted support for the petition and its aims.

“Throughout 2015, Hythe Bridge Street has been a dreadful place to be travelling however you do it, whether in a motor vehicle or on foot or by pedal power, whether eastwards into town or westwards,” he said. “For people who cycle – and especially those who would give cycling a go but daren’t because of the risks – it has been worse than awful.

“It feels very risky and exposed in the cyclists’ ‘teardrop’ storage box  defined solely by white paint on the road; and in truth it is. There have been five collisions officially recorded between cyclists and vehicles in the ten months to October and Cyclox knows of others that went unrecorded.  This is ten times the previous collision rate there.

“Paint and prayers are simply not good enough. We urge a fundamental solution, not just tinkering. If Hythe Bridge Street were given over to people on foot and on bikes, the issue of this junction and the problem of accessing the shared space on the new Frideswide Square layout at the other end of Hythe Bridge Street, would be solved.  A closure to vehicles could be tried experimentally in the first instance at minimal cost. Cyclox urges the leaders of the county council to be bold and overcome your instinctive reflexes.”

For further information and comment contact: Simon Hunt, chair of Cyclox, via 07989 869995 and cycloxchair@gmail.com; or Jonny Ives, Cyclox communications co-ordinator, on 0788 413 7282 or via jonathan@quarrycomms.co.uk