Oxford Mail demands action to protect cyclists in city

The Oxford Mail has demanded its city be made safer for cyclists after a string of deaths.

The Mail cleared its front page and several pages inside to support calls for urgent improvements.

In the past few weeks, two cyclists have died — Ellen Moilanen near Oxford Parkway Station, and Ling Felce at The Plain roundabout.

“Both young women lost their lives far too soon, in distressing and potentially unavoidable circumstances,” the Mail told readers in a strongly-worded opinion piece.

“Their deaths follow a pattern in the city and wider area, revealed in an eye-opening manner by fellow Oxford Mail reporter Tom Seaward this weekend.”

Tom’s Twitter thread on the problems can be seen here:

“That is why today, the Oxford Mail is calling for change.

“Whether that be targeted improvements to cycling infrastructure, better education for both drivers and cyclists, or a look at the measures taken in countries like Denmark and The Netherlands.

“Ideally of course, a mixture of the above would lead to cyclists not just feeling safer, but in fact not risking their lives when going out on their bike.

“We of course appreciate it’s not as straightforward as waving a magic wand, which is why now is the time to boost a conversation.

“It’s one that has rumbled on for years — but it’s one that needs to be shouted about from the tips of the dreaming spires, not whispered in the alleyways of the city’s historic cobbled roads.

“The likes of Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council, Thames Valley Police, the various cycling campaign groups in the city, motorists and cyclists need to join together and become one united force and voice.”

It added: “For too long the narrative has incredulously been ‘cyclists don’t know the Highway Code’, road rage videos online of drivers and cyclists at war, and playing the blame game.

“It’s no longer a laughing matter, this is people’s lives we are talking about.

“That is not to say accidents don’t happen — of course they do — but if we can drastically cut back these cruel deaths, then surely that should be encouraged?

“Just because Oxford seems to have more cyclists than the average UK town or city, does that make it a ‘cycling city’?

“When disasters like the deaths we have seen in recent weeks are happening with such a regular occurrence, then no, there is little argument to suggest we live in a cycling city.

“It’s time for change — although sadly, it’s been time for far too long already.”

  • In 2022, Behind Local News aims to celebrate local journalism in all its forms through our 365 Acts of Local Journalism Project. Lets us know what you think should be included. You can email us here or contact us via Twitter on BehindLocalNews or on Facebook here.

>> See the series so far, here

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