You report that bus companies would like their buses to be allowed back into Cornmarket Street thus eliminating the only fully-pedestrianised street in the city of Oxford. This is not acceptable.
However, the city council should reconsider its time-limited ban on cycling in Queen Street.
The Dutch CROW manual on road design quality for cyclists recommends assessing whether cycling should be allowed in a pedestrianised street according to the level of pedestrian use.
Where pedestrian levels are less than 100 per metre per hour, the manual recommends combining cyclists and pedestrians without restrictions.
At levels of between 100 and 200 pedestrians per hour it recommends marking out a separated cycle route. Above 200 no cycling should be allowed.
Cornmarket doesn’t feel like an area I would be comfortable cycling in: it may well come above that 200 per hour level. However, it would be desirable to have the figures for Queen Street to ascertain whether cycling should be allowed there.
A study by the Transport Research Laboratory, which included Oxford’s Queen Street, found only two collisions were recorded there in 15 years and neither of those was between a pedestrian and a cyclist.
In 66 hours of filmed observation at 21 sites (12 sites in the UK and nine in Europe) it found that cyclists adapt their speed to pedestrian density and will dismount if necessary.
The study’s general conclusion was that it was important not to exclude cyclists from pedestrian areas and force them to use more dangerous routes.
Oxford cyclists compelled to use the dangerous cycling gate between George Street and Hythe Bridge Street will doubtless concur.
Dr Hazel Dawe Treasurer
Oxford Green Party
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