Image showing protestors with bicycles

Protest on Parks Road after cycle lane closure

The cycleway is closed until December 2021

A protest was held on Tuesday this week against the closure of the Parks Road cycleway.

James Cox, Oxford Liberal Democrats county council candidate for University Parks and Walton Manor, and local residents stood with their bicycles in protest against the closure. 

The closure is due to refurbishment of the Oxford Museum of Natural History and is expected to last until December 2021, which has led to concerns about cyclists’ safety

While pedestrians have been provided with a temporary tarmac surface for the 60m stretch, cyclists instead have to dismount or head onto the carriageway. This work is part of plans to repair and waterproof the basement of the Museum which extends under the cycleway.

In a statement to The Oxford Tab, James Cox said: “The closure has been a fiasco, with both Oxford University and the Conservative-led County Council failing to take responsibility. Closing the path has put cyclists’ safety and welfare at risk forcing cyclists onto a busy road.

“This road is dangerous. Residents and commuters have already reported near misses and the County Council has a duty of care to all road users, not just drivers.

“Liberal Democrats are fighting for a fairer, greener, more caring Oxford. We will improve and promote active travel in Oxford, ensuring that cyclists can travel safely across the city. As County Councillor for University Parks, I will champion cyclists and get safe routes open.”

The university, when they announced the closures, had already taken preemptive safety measures to ensure the welfare of cyclists and pedestrians. 

For pedestrians, they said: “The footway is being moved to a temporary tarmac surface on the grass verge because the pavement along the east side of Parks Road will be narrowed to accommodate the construction works.”

For cyclists, on the other hand: “Temporary cycle barriers have been installed as a safety requirement because these works are about to take place. They are designed to stop cyclists from carrying on and mixing with pedestrians on the narrowed footway. Cyclists are directed to either dismount to remain on the footpath or divert onto the carriageway.”

Alongside this, reflective tape and additional signage were also put up.

This comes just months after Liam Walker, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Highways Delivery and Operations, had to resign over an anti-cycling Tweet. In the tweet, Walker agreed with another user who said those who support cycling should move to the Netherlands.

Featured Image: Matthew Schaffel

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