While Oxford’s arterial roads, and those in the market towns, suffer heavy traffic at commuter times, Cowley Road is rammed all day long.

The crawling queues start at 8am and stop-start traffic appears, car after car, until mid-evening. Even outside school and Brookes terms, traffic is slow and relentless. Certain events such as the Friday afternoon mosque time paralyse the local transport network for an hour.

Heavy traffic is stressful not just for drivers but also cyclists, pedestrians and nearby residents. However, it is the invisible spectre of air pollution that should worry us the most. My wife gave birth to a beautiful little girl on Saturday afternoon, so the air our baby breathes matters more than ever to me.

Even modern vehicles emit a lethal cocktail of gases such as nitrous dioxide. Poisonous gases are at toxic levels on Oxford’s congested arterial roads and the east area committee has met to discuss the pollution problems on the St Clements–Magdalen Bridge corridor. County Hall values the individual’s choice to drive, but when that choice renders the road network useless and leaves us all with no choice but to choke on the fumes, what kind of choice is that?

The obvious solution to air pollution is fewer drivers, more cyclists. To get people to change their lifestyles, “soft” measures are the most effective, but time-consuming. Council officers go door-to-door offering tailored “personal travel plans”: when people realise how quickly and cheaply their three-mile commute or school run can be done using a bike, it is amazing how many make the switch. When you consider that 80 per cent of UK journeys are shorter than five miles and 50 per cent are shorter than three miles, you can see the potential for increases in cycling.

The hard measures mean cycle lanes and other infrastructure, to allow any cyclist to feel comfortable and safe. Giving bikes special filters at lights and only requiring bikes to stop where they really need to would make cycling more attractive too.

In Oxfordshire, the big institutions should play their part. Thousands of cars in Oxford belong to students. Brookes in particular needs to do more to discourage students from driving. It should find a way to enforce the rule that students in halls cannot bring cars – hundreds flout this rule.

Oxford University should find a way of making the colleges, those little fiefdoms at the heart of the city, relinquish hundreds of their car parking spaces.

The Post Office seems to be going backwards. It should encourage posties to use those lovely red Pashley bikes to do their rounds, instead of phasing in vans.

The city council has a pathetic record for ensuring new properties are built with the legal number of cycle stands. Some worshippers do cycle to the Manzil Way mosque, which has parking for 100 cars, but there is not a single cycle parking stand. More than five years after the mosque was completed, that’s a disgrace.

Our bright future is obviously two-wheeled. How long must my daughter wait for cycling nirvana?