Latest Cyclox Circular

Cyclox Circular, August 2017

Most recent On Yer Bike

Forthcoming Events

Tuesday 19th September  7.30 St Michael’s in the Northgate  Showcase of cycling photos – all welcome, refreshments

A show-and-tell of cycling photography in Oxford. We have invited famous hill climb champion Tejvan Pettinger and local photographer Kamyar Adil each to give a brief presentation of the favourite photographs they’ve taken, maybe selecting two or three to concentrate on and “talk the audience through” the photographic inspiration behind them, as well as offering tricks and tips about the photographer’s art.  We also want you to send or bring your best cycling photos with a simple competition to find photos that celebrate the joy of cycling.  We’ll highlight the winning entries at the meeting.

Ideally please could Cyclox members upload their photos to https://goo.gl/photos/gR8Ci3iMuBKSxzYs7 before Saturday, 16th September?  Include your name or a pseudonym in the filename.  Cyclox would like your permission for us to use your photos – please let us know if you would rather we didn’t.

Cyclenation-CyclingUK Autumn Conference, 10th and 11th November 2017 (Friday and Saturday) Rose Hill Community Centre Oxford, 2017.  ‘SHIFTING GEAR: A RADICAL CHANGE FOR CYCLING’

All Cyclox members and cycle activists welcome.   Registration essential: opens in September.  Bring your bike if you want to join a rideabout on the Saturday.  We’ll be looking for volunteers who’d host campaigners from outside Oxford to stay over the Friday and/or Saturday nights.  More in a later newsletter.

Summary of Cyclox events in 2017 

Those in bold are our regular meetings at 7.30pm on Tuesdays in St Michael in the Northgate church hall.

19th September Cyclox Members’ Photo competition – show off your cycling photos
October 2017 date TBC Film competition winner announced and all films screened
10th 11th November “Shifting Gear” Conference: Rose Hill Community Centre Oxford
28th November
Note change of date
Cyclox AGM Peter Headicar Emeritus Reader in Transport Planning, Brookes and Reading Univ.

News and Reports

Newly-elected East Oxford MP Anneliese Dodds at the Cyclox stall in Broad St.

While we would resist saying that the Cyclox Hustings were the tipping point for the candidates, we were very grateful that all the candidates gave their time for the evening and honoured that the successful candidate found time in her first week as an MP to visit the Cyclox stall in Broad St.

Andrew Gilligan looking at cycling in Oxford (and MK and Cambridge)

Ex TfL Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan has been appointed by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to advise on fully realising the potential for cycling to support the Cambridge to Oxford growth corridor.  He will consider how the existing infrastructure can be used better, and what more could be done to help local residents get on their bikes to deliver a step-change in cycling so that “more people choose two wheels over four”.  Cyclox chair Simon Hunt has met with him a few times already. Bristol prove that there are clear benefits from sustained investment in cycling.

Cycling with children

Four years ago Danny Yee asked Cyclox for advice on moving children around by bike, and now offers his write-up of the Wee-Ride he’s been using since then, and he makes another request for advice on successors to it (unfortunately it doesn’t seem possible to fit a tag-along, which would be my first choice).    Includes obligatory rant about cycling infrastructure.

Corporate membership

Cyclox is grateful to Oxford Health who plugged our new corporate membership deal in their weekly staff email.  Hopefully this will bring in some new members – the weekly email goes to all 6000 or so Oxford Health staff, and even though it’s holiday season and halfway down the list of news, it should still get a bit of notice… As well as potential new members, there is a wider benefit, as it raises awareness of Cyclox.

If you would like your workplace to consider this, email andy.chivers@gmail.com to ask for more details.

Summertown cycle routes

Oxford Civic Society and Summertown Area Committee representative Neil MacLennan is asking for our views on cycle routes in Summertown St Margaret’s ward and surrounding links. They particularly want to know of any sections of existing routes that are not up to standard and need revising. The other area that needs careful consideration is the new development of Diamond Place. Access by bicycle from all directions needs to be part of a well thought out travel plan. Do we need routes from the west or can we rely on unmarked, relatively quiet residential roads? Examples of a good ‘mesh of provision’ inevitably come from the Netherlands, Delft in particular. The Cycling Embassy of GB have published this earlier evaluation of the Delft Network. Let us know your thoughts.

Bollards

James Dawton reported that the rising bollard in Turl St is finally working (well, it was up briefly, but it’s been down for long periods since). From the High St end there were a total of 3 notices warning drivers the bollard was in operation, so hopefully the message gets through! Does anyone know if the Oriel Square and Broad St bollards are working?

Close pass policing starts in London

You will have seen previous reports on this police initiative and evidence of its effectiveness. Crowdfunding by CyclingUK members has funded the close pass mat for several police forces including Thames Valley so hopefully we will benefit here soon.

Fear of close passes puts would-be cyclists off, and thanks to this report by Lynn Sloman we know more about how to get more people cycling.  Lynn will be speaking at our November conference.

Botley Road Cycle Super Route ‘A cycle route is only as good as its worst section’

Cyclox forum has been discussing the proposals for Botley Road and notes that, at the difficult bit from Binsey Lane to the railway bridge, only on-carriageway cycle lanes are proposed. Widening the road to allow a proper segregated cycle lane might involve removing front gardens which would be a challenge.  A similar consideration was rejected when the bus gate was installed with the lights arranged to allow traffic through, but changing red when a bus comes along.

The plans for the railway bridge have the main road lower than now (so standard height double deckers can go under the bridge). There would be segregated separate off-carriageway footways and cycleways in each direction. These would be higher than the road when under the railway bridge, so less downhill and uphill to go under the bridge. This would be good but needs effective links to the Frideswide square off-road cycle area, especially with all the extra buses going down there to the proposed bus interchange.

The new station needs two extra bridges (for the new tracks/platforms) either side of the existing bridge, and the existing bridge would be replaced by one approx 1.5 times the span of the current bridge.

Charter for Safer Cycling, and Action Plan

Thank you to all members who responded to our request for suggestions to improve safety for cyclists. If you have other suggestions, please send them to us by the end of next week, or see us at our our stall at the brilliant Elder Stubbs Festival on Saturday August 19th.

Dockless bike hire

The dockless bike sharing company called Ofo is coming to Oxford and they aim to launch their hi-vis bright yellow bikes soon.  The challenge is to avoid having bikes left so they obstruct pavements and pedestrians. To this end, a Code of Conduct for dockless bikes has been developed by the City and County Councils, Oxford University, Cyclox and others which all dockless bicycle companies must sign. Ofo has engaged the Pedestrian Association, Civic Society, Cyclox and others who see the potential if good behaviours are followed and the system managed properly.  Cyclox has suggested that placing some Ofo bikes in one of the three socially-deprived areas of Oxford (Barton, Rose HIll or the Leys), would be worth trying as an  experiment.

Campaigns and Consultations

Iffley Road 20mph

We got a little interest from members in this proposal, but not enough to justify asking for a review. Simon Hunt feels we should go further and proposes to couple it with –

(i) requiring a Toucan crossing at James St junction for safe crossing of Iffley Road by users of LCN Route SE, inbound

(ii) sorting out the confusion of signage at The Plain

(iii) dealing with on-street-parking on outbound cycle lane, outside The Cape of Good Hope

He calculates the likely costs:

Signing the 20mph limit – a few thousand £ (perhaps ten?), mostly for the legal fees for a TRO, some for signage.

Toucan: £50K plus sort out signage: trivial ££ but significant time negotiating with Sustrans.

How high up our priority list should this be? Further comments welcome.

East West cycling in Oxford

With the Westgate Queen St cycling in day time problem, Simon Hunt has prepared three routes using Map-o-meter, for simple visualisation, with gradients.  All shown as West –> East,

(1) via Park End St, Queen St & High St.  Distance 1.49km

(2a) via George St, Broad St, Queens Lane   Distance 1.66 km

(2b) via George St, Broad St, Longwall   Distance 1.72km

There is a table for you to make comments and identify cycling-hostile sections (junctions where high vehicle flows cross the cyclist’s path; friction areas e.g. with pedestrians).  If anyone knows the vehicles/day flows, please add them.

Botley shops and Westway

Cyclox has written strongly objecting to this application, which concerns the arrangements during the period of construction. Neither the Transport Statement nor the Design and Access Statement make any mention of cyclists or cycling. The needs of bike users are simply not addressed at all. We feel there are repeated instances of poor or absent planning.

At other construction sites in Oxford, the builders Mace have been much more proactive in planning for bike users, but this application was thoroughly flawed and should have been rejected.

Cornucopia of consultations

There are at least 7 current live consultations, which is a bit of a challenge with holidays as well. We have made a few headline comments with each one and members are welcome to make their own responses, and we will cover the substantive ones in more detail in future newsletters. Note Riverside Routes consultation ends 18th August.

  1. Proposed 20mph speed limit on a short section of Woodstock Rd outside the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, and on Windmill Road – we are in favour
  2. Proposed Speed Limits Southern Ring Road Slips & Kennington Road
  3. Riverside Routes:  Western section, New Hinksey through Osney Mead; and Towpath routes southwards to Kennington Bridge We feel the remaining pinch points south of Folly Bridge will reduce any benefit.  We have repeatedly condemned spending £2m to build a new bridge so close to the existing Gasworks and Grandpont/Pipebridge crossings of the Thames.   In 2015, the County Council won the largest grant it has ever got for cycling from the Department for Transport, £3.3mn.  To be spending more than half of it on this unnecessary bridge is a travesty of priority-setting.
  4. Public Consultation on rebuilding Oxford Station.  Consultations don’t get more important than this.   The draft proposal is for 100% of cycle parking to be 2,450 cycle spaces, underground as two-tier stands. This is great in terms of getting lots of parking in a small space, but there should also be provision for parking for Cargo Bikes, Tandems, Tricycles, etc. We also think bike racks should continue to be available at ground level.  You’re strongly encouraged to respond to this once-in-a-lifetime chance to make your own comment on the Station Masterplan before August 25th.  Your local library has a copy.  Look especially at page 39, showing the proposed cycling and walking access to and through the development.
  1. Oxford City’s Local Plan Proposal Among other issues, Cyclox has argued for improved cycle parking provision, particularly considering different settings: also for a cycle Quietway network to link together public recreation spaces, leisure centres, sports facilities and so on, away from arterial and connector roads
  2. Oxfordshire Infrastructure Strategy – Cyclox response is being developed.
  3. Review of A44 and A4260 (A4165) corridor – James Dawton has provided a detailed response:

Cutteslowe Roundabout Cyclox has complained about inadequate segregated crossing facilities for cyclists on Cutteslowe roundabout. We argue for a demarcated space for cyclist on the carriageway of the southern exit and a review of the bus lane entering the roundabout from the north. We suggest a survey to demonstrate the number of cyclists preferring to instead remain on the road.

Narrow cycle lanes: There are several areas in the vicinity of central pedestrian refuges where the on-road cycle lane narrows to an unacceptable degree.

Poor surfacing: Areas falling short of the County Council’s criteria for action that are nonetheless a persistent source of discomfort and danger to cyclists.

Poor segregated track: Where cycle track is segregated from the road (namely north of Cutteslowe Roundabout), the design does not adhere to modern infrastructure principles.

Oxford Parkway station: Cyclox argues that connectivity southwards towards Oxford, and northwards to Kidlington is lamentable. The Kidlington roundabout is a major obstacle to pedestrian and cycle access to this fine new station and to the Park & Ride buses into town.

And another thing

Encouraging E-bikes

Cyclox is supportive of e-bikes as they are likely to get more people out of cars and onto bikes. The risk that some cyclists will give up using their legs is real but not a reason for discouraging e-bikes. Conversations we have with users confirm the appreciation of increased range and coping with hills that they achieve. You can ask your MP for support to a change of rules so that the Government can support e-bikes as it does electric cars.

An early example of shifting the blame to the victim

In the days when cars were viewed with suspicion and mistrust, there was a petition signed by 42,000 people in Cincinnati in 1923 to limit the speed of cars mechanically to 25mph (40kph). Though the petition failed, an alarmed auto industry scrambled to shift the blame for pedestrian casualties from drivers to walkers.’

Try this when you need to cycle a new route

There are so many apps to help with route planning, but (Oxford-specific) Cyclestreets, also at Cycling UK, has more features than most, allowing you to choose between “fastest”, “balanced” or “quietest”. It also shows cycle parking spots, with the number of spaces at each.

Oxford has something to aim for

We are delighted that Oxford now has ‘A Cycling City’ on its signs at the entrance to the city, but could we produce a video like these from New York, Cambridge or Copenhagen?

Talking of videos, remember to get your entry into the Cyclox Cycling Shorts film competition.

Safe routes to school

We asked members for their priority for improving cycling in Oxford. One mother of school age children makes this plea:

“I would like to suggest that EVERY school in Oxford ensures that there are safe cycling routes to their schools. This includes primary and secondary schools. Right now I can tell you that there are several schools lacking this access and this needs to be addressed. If one expects Universities to do this I think it should start for much younger children – not only for healthier lifestyles but also to encourage eco-friendly ways to get around.” 

She also urges Cyclox to go into schools and talk more about cycling around in Oxford and the safety aspects. We don’t have the resources to do this, but are pressing the county council to fund genuine Bikeability training for schools.

GWR and bikes

Some members felt GWR were let off the hook by our recent On Yer Bike article which invited cyclists to try the rail company, at least for journeys going west from Oxford. One member pointed out: “You didn’t book the return in advance.  You weren’t in a hurry.  You weren’t on a busy route. Now try taking your bike to London and returning some time before about midnight.   You can’t book in advance because you don’t know what train you might get, and you can’t rely on the ticket office finding you a space. And what would you have done if you’d cycled from Worcester to, let’s say, Pershore, and discovered that it is an unmanned station? GWR are running those 6 bike spaces empty on nearly every train, which is stupid.   I’ve gone from taking my bike to London when I go to never taking my bike, and that is replicated by many former GWR users.

Have you tried taking your bike on GWR? Tell us your experience.  If you want to test-drive their new online booking system, tell contact@cyclox.org.  They’re looking to recruit a few volunteers to try it out and provide feedback.

Upcycle

Cycling is a prime example of efficient use of resources, so this bike based venture to collect your unwanted goods deserves our support. Oxford Circular Collective offer a collection service for products and materials that you no longer need. They use a bike for collections and aim to make use of the items in a way that retains their highest value.

Pedalling On

Pedalling On  aims to help those in the 55+ age group re-discover the pleasure and benefits of cycling.  To help them achieve this Pedalling On are providing:

  • ‘Try-It’ sessions in conjunction with Oxfordshire Wheels for All
  • And some short, confidence building rides starting now
  • Rides are at pace of the slowest rider

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