TODAY Tuesday 6th November should be a red-letter day for cycling in Oxford and Oxfordshire. Two motions are being discussed at Oxfordshire County Council’s full council, both of which are about cycling and active travel.

The first motion has been brought by Councillor Paul Buckley, Wolvercote and Summertown Division. This motion requests that “This Council accepts the recommendations of the Andrew Gilligan report into how to increase cycling in and around Oxford, commits to implementing them and calls on Cabinet to implement and bid for funding”.

The Gilligan report comes from the National Infrastructure Commission and is about improving cycling in Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge, as part of managing traffic pressure arising from the increase in homes in the “growth arc”. Gilligan suggests that investment of £150m is needed to bring Oxford to world class standards of cycling infrastructure.

The second motion has been brought by Councillor Suzanne Bartington, Witney North & East Division, who is Cycling Champion for the county council. Her motion asks the council to invest for active travel for Oxfordshire. This motion calls for the county council to prioritise a ‘strategic active travel network’, to seek additional funding, and to allocate local transport funds to active travel infrastructure.

Should these motions be accepted the county council will be committing to increasing investment in active travel. While existing policies, like the Local Transport Plan 4 and the Oxford Transport Strategy, put a lot of emphasis on walking and cycling, to date motor traffic has been given priority, and space has not been taken away from it. Investing in active travel, means truly allocating more space to pavements and cycle paths.

A large group of people is gathering at County Hall today to show their support for these two motions, and to encourage their councillors to vote in favour of these two motions. It is vital that both these motions are passed. This will show the strength of support for increasing active travel in the city and the county, with all the concomitant benefits to health and wellbeing in communities in Oxford, through increasing physical activity as part of daily living, and reducing air pollution, while at the same time improving the economy of our beautiful city and county.

Find out if your councillor supported these motions. You can find their email address on the county council website. Write to them to ask how they voted and ask them how they will continue to support active travel and cycling. The more emails and letters they get from their constituents the more they will feel empowered to take this forward. They have influence in two ways. As individual councillors they can vote for change in policy and they can also comment on local developments. Of course, those running the Council set the policy and can set priorities for the county, but councillors have to vote those changes in. Let’s hope as of today we are at a tipping point where the county council truly embraces the importance of active travel and the need to invest in it.