CYCLISTS have welcomed a Government-backed report calling for £150m to be spent on Oxford’s roads.

A National Infrastructure Commission report released yesterday called for the money to go towards five high-quality protected cycle routes totalling 17 miles.

Oxfordshire Cycling Network, a group of 29 cycling organisations across the county, said the report was ‘right on the mark’ and said the recommendations should be embraced and funded as soon as possible.

Campaign group Cyclox also backed the report with chairman Simon Hunt describing it as ‘thoroughly warmly welcomed’.

The study, compiled by former Cycling Commissioner for London Andrew Gilligan, revealed that 25 per cent of all commuter journey in Oxford were made by bike but that the road design did not reflect its importance.

He suggested segregated routes include Botley Road, Banbury Road, London Road in Headington, Iffley Road and the Marston cyclepath. Some would extend outside the city boundary to Eynsham, Kidlington and Wheatley.

Oxfordshire Cycling Network chairman Robin Tucker, above, said: “The report states that congestion in Oxford is close to unmanageable and brings pollution and health problems."

He added: “To turn this around we need to start planning around the more people-friendly transport modes of walking and cycling.

“This is no dream - with the practical proposals and advice in this report, we can create a happier, healthier and more mobile Oxford.

“Every additional link will help to solve the problems of traffic congestion and pollution and help people to get about in a happier and healthier way.

“In particular, we support Gilligan’s call for more direct and safe East-West and North-South routes through the city centre.

“The current routes are convoluted and often require turning across traffic.”

Unsafe junctions should also be improved and additional traffic measures such as a congestion charge should also be considered, according to the report.

The study also looked at how routes could be improved in Milton Keynes and Cambridge but recommended that £150m out of £200m should be spent in Oxford.

The county council’s director for planning Susan Halliwell said: “We welcome this report which challenges us all to think about ways to improve the experience and safety for cyclists in Oxford.

“As the report shows, there needs to be significant investment in cycling provision for Oxford - although the measures identified by Andrew Gilligan do not have funding at the moment.”

She added that the council had already secured ‘a lot of’ funding for cycling improvements, including the £12.5m Access to Headington scheme and a £5m for Botley Road, and would continue to push for more.