Agenda item

Agenda item

Report of the Cycling Review Group

The Scrutiny Committee has submitted a report from the Cycling Review Group which includes the suggested City Executive Board response provided by the Portfolio Holder.


Recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee to the City Executive Board:


That the City Executive Board states whether it agrees or disagrees with the following recommendations:


1.    That the City Council’s unallocated cycling capital budget (approx. £110k over two years) should be used to fund the lower cost Cycling Review Group wish-list items in order of priority.  The highest priority is signing City Council route 5, extending to Littlemore and the Leys Pool.  This should include signing cyclists onto this route from key destinations such as Oxford Business Park, Vue Cinema and Oxford Academy.


2.    That the wish-list of cycling improvement projects drawn up by the Cycling Review Group, with advice from Cyclox and Sustrans, should be used to decide how future City and County Council funding for cycling improvements is spent.  Flexibility should be applied so that new opportunities can also be funded where this is appropriate. 


3.    That the City Council encourages the police and Direct Services to proactively send reusable abandoned bikes to Broken Spoke and other bike shops that are happy to take part, so that as many of these bikes as possible can be refurbished and reused locally. 


4.    That the City Council ensures that developer funding can be used to contribute to cycling improvements where appropriate, including by:

a)    Ensuring that the City Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) list is consistent with funding the higher cost cycling improvement projects set out in our wish-list, next time the CIL list is reviewed;

b)    Using CIL funding as a local contribution to attract match funding, for example from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, for cycling improvement schemes in accordance with the Council’s CIL list (often these will be part of wider transport improvement schemes);

c)    Alerting Ward Members when significant sums (we suggest >£5k) of the ‘neighbourhood portion’ of CIL have been allocated to their local area.  We would encourage members to consider spending this funding on lower cost cycling improvement schemes from our wish-list where possible.


5.    That the City Council ensures that its planning policies are consistent with its vision for Oxford to become one of the great cycling cities of Europe, including by:

a)    Ensuring that cycling routes and provision are considered and included in all major new developments, prioritising cycling and pedestrian access;

b)    Reviewing and updating planning policies relating to cycle parking standards for non-residential cycle parking, as part of the next full or partial review of the Local Plan.


6.    That the Council Leader or Board Member for Planning and Transport writes to the County Council and requests that they do the following in consultation with the City Council:

a)    Implement the Cycle Super Routes and Cycle Premium Routes as soon as possible;

b)    Bring together cycling organisations, county highways planners and highway engineers to agree a set of specifications for cycle infrastructure design in Oxford, drawing on findings from the London Cycling Campaign.  This should include priority phasing of traffic lights for cyclists;

c)    Consider how cycle routes can be signed more consistently and what the standard should be.  We suggest that destinations and distances, rather than route numbers, should be shown on cycle signage;

d)    Agree that highway maintenance works should not be signed off until they are safe and suitable for cycling;

e)    Work with Government and other local authorities to implement the All Party Parliamentary Group recommendation to achieve a £10 per head of population investment in cycling.


7.    That the City Council nominates a Member Cycling Champion (a Councillor) to lead on work to improve cycling in Oxford at a political level and maximise the City Council’s influence.


8.    That the City Council brings forward proposals for additional staffing resources to enable the City Council to engage proactively with cycling groups, work smarter with the County Council, and support the member champion (see recommendation 7).  We would suggest 1 FTE dedicated to cycling, with a creative solution to funding this post which may involve other organisations.  This role should include:

a)    Supporting the Member Cycling Champion (see recommendation 6) in convening a forum of the different cycling groups and representatives of other stakeholders such as schools to co-ordinate efforts and agree a common position when lobbying for cycling improvement schemes;

b)    Engaging with the County Council to maximise the City Council’s influence as LTP4 is put into practice;

c)    Influencing the development of a set of specifications for cycle infrastructure design in Oxford (see recommendation 5e);

d)    Monitoring the County Council’s Highway Asset Management Strategy (road repairs) to identify opportunities for cycling provision to be improved during planned maintenance works (we have identified 4 such projects); 

e)    Examining existing evidence on what works for improving cycling take up;

f)     Promoting active travel to school through Bikeability training and advocacy, particularly at the beginning of every academic year.  Excellence in this area should be recognised perhaps through the Lord Mayor/Member Champion going in to schools to give prizes, or inviting winners to attend civic events.

g)    Identifying ways to change motorists’ behaviour.


9.    That the City Council promotes positive images of cycling in Council literature, particularly the soon to be signed route to Blackbird Leys pool.




The Scrutiny Officer submitted a report (previously circulated, now appended) which detailed the findings and recommendations of the cross-party Cycling Review Group, and the City Executive Board responses to those recommendations.


Cllr Upton, Chair of the Cycling Review Group presented the report.  She said that the first meeting of the Cycling Forum had taken place on 9 September 2015 and that this promised to be fertile ground for further progress and initiatives.  She urged the Board to support the case for a dedicated “cycling officer” either as a City Council post or through some joint funded arrangement with either the County Council, the NHS and the universities.  In discussion the Board concluded that it would be a better use of limited resources to support and develop the role of the Cycling Forum and joint working with other organisations.


The Board noted that there had been no response from the County Council with regard to the Council motion on cyling which was passed at the meeting on 14 December 2014.


With reference to the Cycling Review Group recommendations the Executive Board Member for Planning, Transport and Regulatory Services confirmed that the Council would accept and progress Recommendation 1 on signage as a “quick fix”. He said that the Board was generally supportive of the recommendations and that where there was “agreement in part” this was because there was further work needed on the details and costings of the recommendation before it could be accepted. Similarly it was important to focus the limited resources on those recommendations where the Council had most control and the greatest chance of success.


The Board commended the Scrutiny Cycling Review Group on an excellent piece of review work and thorough report.


The City Executive Board resolved to:


1.    Agree the following recommendations from the Cycling Review Group: Recommendations 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9.


2.    Agree in part the following recommendations from the Cycling Review Group: Recommendations 1, 2 and 8.

Supporting documents: