A SURGE in cycling is expected in Oxfordshire as lockdown lifts, and preparations are being made to widen cycle paths and footpaths.

According to Oxfordshire County Council, there is a 'concerted plan of action' to clear and prepare Oxfordshire’s network of cycleways and footpaths ready for the expected rises in demand as lockdown is gradually relaxed.

As the people of Oxfordshire look to return to work and school during the Summer, there is expected to be an extra uptick in both cycling and walking.

A recent survey of all 63 Oxfordshire County Councillors found the need to improve cycling infrastructure was a standout priority in terms of how Oxfordshire’s share of the government’s £250m Emergency Active Travel grant fund should be spent.

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Other practical and quick to implement measures include improving signs and sweeping the busiest paths and cycle lanes, keeping plants on verges under control and fixing potholes.

Narrow paths or cycle lanes may also be widened for greater access.

The council hopes this will encourage more people to walk and cycle in the long term as well as help to maintain social distancing during the pandemic.

Yvonne Constance, the council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “In the coming weeks and well beyond, our cycleways and footpaths will form a vital part of our recovery strategy.

"Now that cycling and walking have become so popular, we are committed to enabling residents to continue to cycle and walk as ongoing lifestyle choices.”