Cyclists and election candidates from all over Oxfordshire joined forces in the bright sunshine to discuss their plans for a bicycle network for the entire county. They all met up outside the County Hall and came from their homes on their bikes.
The people there were able to ask the candidates questions about their plans for cycling if they were elected in the May county council elections. This event was organised by Oxfordshire Cycling Network (OCN) who also presented their £120m vision to create a 366-mile cycle network across Oxfordshire.
Chairman of the OCN Robin Tucker said: “Our proposal for a county-wide cycling network has had a fantastic response from the public and from local politicians across the political spectrum. So many people and politicians can see the potential for cycling to improve health, the environment and transport across our county.
“We have given them both the opportunity to express their support, both in person at this event, and electronically through Cycling UK’s Vote Bike web page.
“I think this brings back some of the engaging aspects of democracy we are at risk of losing, by linking local elections to something with such great public enthusiasm as cycling.”
On Saturday, sixteen lobbies in the UK held an event to support the Space for Cycling campaign, which seeks to make cycling accessible to people all over the country. Candidates from all political parties were present, pledging to invest in and improve the county’s cycling infrastructure.
At the event, members of the Oxfordshire Cycling Network, made up of 29 cycling and supportive organisations, shared their plans for a strategic cycle network across Oxfordshire. This network would include routes connecting Didcot, Harwell, Milton Park, and Culham, an upgrade of the A40 between Oxford and Eynsham, and new cycle tracks in Botley Road, Banbury Road, Woodstock Road, and the B4044 between Eynsham and Botley.
Chairman of Cyclox, Simon Hunt said: “Since launching our vision of an all ages, all abilities cycle network, we have had a huge positive response from Faringdon to Thame and from Witney to Wallingford. Now we are asking our future councillors to support this wide desire and help turn it into reality.”
Cyclists from many different groups gathered together to celebrate International Mother Earth Day. Some of the groups included BikeSafe, Farcycles from Faringdon, CTC Wallingford, Cycling UK Wantage, and Isis Cyclists from Oxford.
Kath Cochrane, of the Windrush Bike Project, which also rallied behind the event, said: “In Oxfordshire, there are 140,000 adults of voting age who cycle, and many more who would if they felt safer.
“That’s an average of at least 2,300 per division, and enough to shift the outcome in almost every seat on the council. We’re helping these people to give their local politicians a strong mandate to create space for safe and practical cycling.”