A 'BIZARRE' council-led order that meant cyclists riding down Queen Street could have faced fines should not be brought back, the city council’s cycling champion said.

Louise Upton, who is also the city council’s board member for Healthy Oxford, said the authority should look to allow cycling in the street between 10am and 6pm.

Between February 2016 and the end of 2018, the city council said it gave 661 people ‘advice’ about not cycling down Queen Street and Cornmarket as part of its Public Spaces Prevention Order (PSPO).

DO PEOPLE TAKE ANY NOTICE? We headed along to Queen Street to find out....

That lapsed at the end of January – but could have led to cyclists being given fines or facing prosecution.

It is thought the rule banning cycling in Queen Street at certain times was first introduced in the mid-1970s.

Dr Upton said she wanted the council to take a ‘more nuanced’ approach to ensure antisocial cycling was dealt with proportionately.

The authority is now preparing to ask people whether it should set up a new PSPO later this year.

READ MORE: How many people have been fined and what for? 

Oxford Mail photographer Ed Nix spotted 19 cyclists riding down Queen Street in just 15 minutes from 12.35pm yesterday, raising questions of how effective a new PSPO tackling cyclists’ behaviour could be.

As part of the last order, people were banned from remaining in public toilets 'without reasonable excuse', urinating or defecating in public or aggressively begging.

Dr Upton told her fellow executive board members: “I find it very bizarre that we have cycling along Queen Street [as something that was prohibited by the PSPO].

"I don’t think it is antisocial to cycle along. You can do it in a social way. Of course, you can do it in an antisocial way, zipping along and speeding past others.”

She added: “But shared spaces work very well in other places and I think we could do that, we could promote it.

"The CRT (Canal & River Trust) has lots of nice lines and things like: 'shared spaces at your pace.'

"I would really like to see a much more nuanced [approach], if you’re going to tackle cycling in this way.”

She said cyclists were ‘horrified’ that ‘the first item’ listed on PSPO notices in the city centre when it was rolled out in early 2016 was the cycling ban.

Warnings regarding defecating or urinating followed.

Tom Hayes, the council's executive board member for Safer, Greener, Environment said the authority will undertake two rounds of consultation to find a ‘settled view’ on what should be prohibited in the city centre.

A major report last year recommended cyclists be allowed to use Queen Street at all times.

Andrew Gilligan, London’s former cycling commissioner, said the some-time cycling ban in Queen Street was leaving a ‘serious hole at the heart’ of Oxford’s cycling network.

He said: “A cycle route is only as good as its weakest point. But most of Oxford’s routes have gaps or barriers, or sections involving heavy traffic. Few cycle lanes join up adequately, exemplified in the city centre.”