• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

How Quickways make roads safer for cyclists in Oxford


Aug 20, 2022

Alison Hill, chair of Cyclox, tries out the new Quickway on Morrell Avenue in Oxford and explains how it benefits cyclists.

On Friday, August 12, Morrell Avenue became a Quickway.

Overnight, double yellow lines were painted on both sides of the road, removing on-road car parking, and a cycle lane has been painted on the uphill side of the road.

Whereas before you had to weave your way round parked cars and take care to avoid colliding with vehicles sharing the narrow carriageway, it has instantly become so much more pleasant to ride up and down.

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(Though on my very first ride up there was the inevitable big white van parked on the roadside straddling the new cycle lane!)

Within the last month Iffley Road and Warneford Lane have also turned into Quickways, and Cowley Road/Oxford Road and Marston Road will also get the Quickways makeover very soon.

Warneford Lane has had an even more radical treatment, creating one lane for traffic each side of the central reservation and providing a wonderful full width carriageway for cycling protected from motor traffic by posts (also called ‘wands’ magically separating cycle riders from motor vehicles).

Prior to this change the cycle path was just right of the door zone with the risk of being ‘doored’ by a driver throwing their door open.

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Those people anxious not to be doored chose to ride in the main carriageway, generating the usual abuse from impatient drivers who couldn’t nip past. It was definitely an unpleasant scary ride dicing with doors or drivers.

The Quickways scheme, which is funded by the Department for Transport’s Active Travel Fund, aims to make cycling along the city’s main roads safer, speedier and more attractive. The changes involve removing parking from these roads, creating cycle paths (mandatory or advisory depending on the amount of road available), improving pedestrian crossings, and reducing speed limits to 20mph. 500 car parking spaces have been removed so far.

Creating safer space to cycle should encourage more people out on to their bikes. And drivers benefit too by not sharing the carriageways.

Katherine Miles uses Warneford lane to cycle her children to nursery. Before the changes she was faced with aggressive encounters and significant risks to herself and her children on a daily basis. She either risked being close-passed or car-doored if she cycled in the advisory cycle lane, or the alternative of cycling in the safer position of the main carriage way resulted in being honked at and verbally abused by drivers tailgating her.

Her journey is now much safer.

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She said: “The segregated cycle lane with wands has removed the stress and anxiety of the nursery run and made it possible for my older daughter to independently cycle alongside me.”

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She added that these changes will revolutionise the journey of those living in the east Oxford low traffic neighbourhoods who will now be able to cycle safely all the way to Cheney School!

The Quickways though are only as good as their weakest link.

So much more needs to be done to ensure continuity across the city’s cycle network.

The government funding didn’t go far enough to tackle junctions and junctions are where most serious collisions occur.

Campaigning on junctions will be a major part of Cyclox’s campaign for Vision Zero (the eradication of any serious collisions) in the coming years, to ensure our cycling network is safe.

Combined with low traffic neighbourhoods, journeys by bike around east Oxford have been made so much easier and so much more pleasant.

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Congratulations to the county council for taking this radical action to make our roads that bit safer. There is still much more to be done but these changes show that the council is committed to change. Success will be when families are happy to cycle with their eight-year-old along any of the main roads in Oxford.

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Andy.ffrench@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF