Active travel campaigners in Oxford are urging people to complain to the city council over what are being described as “biased questions” in its survey on public attitudes regarding the city centre, with “Cyclists riding irresponsibly” being the only transport-related issue highlighted.
The Public Attitude Survey on the City Centre consultation was launched last November and closes this Sunday 12 January.
It is billed as “the first stage in a wider piece of work that will see the City Council create a vision for the whole city centre, including transport into and around the city centre, retail and tourism, and street furniture and public toilets.”
However, Oxford’s Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT) has put in a complaint to the council over what it sees as a “disproportionate focus on the negative behaviour of cyclists above the problems posed by any other form of transport.”
The complaint is based on the fact that there is only one transport-related issue that respondents to the survey are prompted to address, namely “‘Cyclists riding irresponsibly.”
CoHSAT, whose members include the Oxford Civic Society, Oxfordshire Liveable Streets, the Oxford Pedestrians Association and cycling campaign groups Cyclox and the Oxfordshire Cycling Network, has produced a template letter that people can send to the council as it stands, or adapt to add their own views.
The letter, which can be found on the Cyclox website, points out that other issues that the questionnaire could have addressed might include “dangerous driving, air pollution, noise from traffic difficulty crossing the road, the amount of city centre space taken by motor traffic, the amount of city centre space taken by parking, irresponsible and illegal parking, goods vehicles loading and unloading and loading freight, pedestrians walking irresponsibly, scooters being used irresponsibly and mobility scooters being used irresponsibly.”
It adds: “As such the Survey can not hope to give credible answers in this area. But we are more concerned about the attitudes it will develop and reinforce among respondents by encouraging them to think about negative behaviours of cyclists in an imbalanced way.
“This is a retrograde step from a Council that we generally consider to be supportive of cycling.”
Last month, See.Sense, the Northern Ireland-based smart bicycle light brand, announced a partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, which is the relevant highways agency for the vast majority of roads within the county and in the city of Oxford.
Under the partnership, some 300 cyclists living in the area were given the opportunity to but a See.Sense ACE rear light at two-thirds off the usual price, with the data captured by the device over a year-long trial helping inform decisions about where cycling infrastructure is most needed.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.