We have updated our Design Standards for walking and cycling.
Cycling is an active and healthy way of getting around. It has huge benefits in terms of improving our physical and mental health. Avoiding sedentary travel and not contributing to air pollution and congestion, cycling can create feelings of happiness and well-being.
If you are new to cycling and/or would like to improve your skills, there are options around the county. One option is the Broken Spoke Co-operative in Oxford http://bsbcoop.org/what-we-do/cycle-training/ which is the accredited provider of Bikeability training in the city.
If you’re based near Witney, the Windrush Bike Project also provides cycle training.
If you’re based in Bicester CycleLyn also provides cycle training.
Many people say they are put off cycling because of traffic, but most people cycle every day without any problems. That’s because they cycle safely and make sure drivers know they’re there. Once you know the basics of road cycling, you can start to enjoy using a bike for everyday journeys.
Advice for cycling on roads
- Taking a position where you can be seen on the road is important. Inexperienced cyclists often cycle too near to the kerb, but it is better to be somewhere where you can be seen by drivers. Ride positively and where you can see as well as being seen. You may wish to consider purchasing a useful book called Cyclecraft by John Franklin. First published in 2007, this book is available booksellers, including Amazon.
- Ensure that your bike is roadworthy. If you do not know how to maintain your cycle, a service undertaken by a cycle shop will be able to ensure that your cycle is safe.
- Many people think that the Highway Code is just for vehicle drivers. All road users should follow the Highway Code – do not jump red lights and do not cycle on the footway unless there is clearly provision for cyclists
- Consider wearing a cycle helmet. This is a controversial issue and wearing a helmet in the UK is not compulsory. However, a recent major study of bike helmet use around the world by Australian statisticians Jake Olivier and Prudence Creighton from the University of New South Wales using data from 64,000 cyclists found that helmets reduce the risks of a serious head injury by nearly 70%.
- Be aware of vehicles turning left. Many fatal collisions occur when a cyclist is on the inside of a vehicle which is turning left. Don’t assume the vehicle is going straight ahead just because it has not indicated. Always avoid ‘undertaking’ any vehicle in this situation – it’s better to hang back until the vehicle has moved off. A study from Germany in 2016 by Thomas Richter and Janina Sacks found that turning vehicles were a significant cause of deaths and serious injuries.
However, you are much more likely to benefit from cycling. Here is a briefing from Cycling UK .
Cycling is far more likely to benefit an individual’s health than damage it; and the more cyclists there are, the safer cycling becomes – the ‘safety in numbers’ effect.
Cycling fits into daily routines better than many other forms of exercise, because it doubles up as transport to work, school or the shops etc. It’s easier than finding extra time to visit the gym and far less costly.
Lack of exercise can make people ill. It can lead to obesity, coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, cancers, type 2 diabetes and other life-threatening conditions.
Unlike driving, cycling causes negligible harm to others, either through road injuries or pollution. This makes it a healthy option not just for cyclists, but for everyone else too.