London cycling adviser to help make Oxford 'world class’ for cyclists

The National Infrastructure Commission has tasked Andrew Gilligan, former Cycling Commissioner for London, to work with local councils and local organisations to create a vision of what is required for cycling to become a “super attractive” mode of transport in Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge. Mr Gilligan will provide advice over the summer on how the existing infrastructure can be used better, and what more could be done to help local residents to get on their bikes.  Andrew Gilligan joined Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council and Cllr Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council in the city yesterday (8 August) to try out the latest electric bikes next to the famous Radcliffe Camera.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Oxfordshire County Council is investing millions of pounds on cycle route improvements and will continue to do so in future. Our Local Transport Plan is an ambitious 20 year strategy, which in Oxford includes cycle route improvements to provide safe and direct access to a range of destinations. Over the last few years the county council has also delivered a number of schemes that support more cycling including at Frideswide Square and The Plain roundabout.

“We are currently implementing a £12.5m package of improvements as part of the ‘Access to Headington’ project that will deliver new and improved cycle routes and priority as well as a number of innovative cycle features such as segregated ‘hybrid’ cycle lanes and cycle pre-signals. All of these improvements are designed to help people move around the county in a healthy way while supporting Oxfordshire’s thriving economy. We also have a programme of cycling projects across the county, including a £4.5m package of schemes in Science Vale. “We want to make cycling accessible to everyone in Oxfordshire, regardless of age, background or cycling experience.”

Councillor Bob Price, the Leader of Oxford City Council: “We are delighted to welcome Andrew Gilligan to Oxford, our cycling city where already thousands of people commute to work by bike. We will show him our aspirations run much higher – we want Oxford to become not just the UK’s cycling capital, but an international model that inspires cities across the world to promote cycling as a means to tackle pollution and congestion, and keep people healthy. The City and County Councils have spent significant amounts in recent years to improve cycling infrastructure across Oxford, but funding from the National Infrastructure Commission will allow a significant step change. We want to see more segregated and car-free cycling lanes that link transport hubs with employment sites, and more cycle parking in the city centre and at park and ride sites, to further encourage people to commute by bike. For a city with what is essentially a medieval street plan that’s challenging; but with the right backing it is achievable.”

Pic.1 (l-r) Cllr Hudspeth, Andrew Gilligan and Cllr Price. Pic.2 Cllr Price, Andrew Gilligan, and Cllr Hudspeth.

The e-bikes were kindly on loan for Mr Gilligan’s visit by a local retailer Bike Zone, located on St Michael’s Street in Oxford. Both Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council are keen to encourage greater use of e-bikes, which are ideal for less confident cyclists and people keen to improve their health but concerned about their fitness to cycle.