Joint Cyclox and OxPA meeting
May 27 2010

To Share Or Not To Share?

Chariman: Richard Mann

Graham Smith presented the case for more shared space in Oxford citing examples from the Continent and the US, illustrated with photos including two of an urban scheme in the Netherlands before and after a successful reconfiguration as shared space. Pictures of cyclists and pedestrians in Turl and Catte Streets illustrated shared space in Oxford.

Paul Cullen presented the case for a more cautious approach. He cited examples of concerns voiced to OxPA by elderly and disabled pedestrians whose anxieties limit or even preclude their use of busy areas where they feel vulnerable. In particular the dangers of collisions for pedestrians with fast-moving, heavily-loaded bikes, the different movement patterns of the two modes, (cyclists moving from A to B as quickly as possible, pedestrians, zig-zagging, pausing etc). He argued that cyclists should be campaigning for safe road space, not usurping pavement routes.

Discussion raised points in several areas:

City Centre:
– each road/space needs individual consideration because the function of each is distinct and usage patterns are different
– commuter cycling is fast and competitive
– apparent lack of conflict is based on a biased sample because nervous pedestrians may not be present, being deterred by perceived risk of injury
– Dutch cyclists are not always so easy to share with as reputed
– influence of historical factors in formation of transport policy
– lack of Cycling Officer within the County’s Transport Department indicative of the Council’s unwillingness to make improvements for road users other than car drivers, for whom more serious (especially) budgetary factors apply

Two alternative strategies:
a) exclude cycles from centre as in York
b) disperse cycles to minimise their impact – the slope in St Aldates results in intimidating cycling speeds

Cycle tracks on pavements:
– lack of consistent strategy, poor design
– generally both cyclists and pedestrians want cycles in the road not on footway
– special case of child cyclists
– people from abroad unaware of Highway Code

It was suggested that we arrange further joint meetings to discuss particular issues.