Cycling: Gilligan Report

Part of Civil Liability Bill [Lords] (Money) – in the House of Commons at 9:52 pm on 4th September 2018.

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Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education) 9:52 pm, 4th September 2018

I absolutely agree. In my patch, it is Banbury Road and Woodstock Road, as well as Botley Road and the other arterial roads. More than that, it is about schemes such as the B4044 community path, which would provide a safe cycle route between Botley and Eynsham. The path should have happened a decade ago, and the cost is tiny compared with what we are spending on roads. We need to make sure that the commuter routes into the city are well serviced for bicycles, not just for cars.

At a recent student surgery, the biggest issue that came up was potholes—peak Lib Dem. Although the same complaints come from residents in the likes of Kennington, Radley and Kidlington, I find it interesting that students are also interested in potholes. Claire spoke for many:

“cycling along Banbury Road makes my commute hellish—if it’s not riddled with potholes, it’s constantly flooded in wet weather.”

From potholes to planning, the report also says:

“Provision in new developments is…disastrous.”

That comment is echoed by Ian in Abingdon, who says that there is an

“urgent need to make cycling much more safe and common with new building developments”.

I appreciate that putting segregated cycle lanes into Oxford’s historic centre and into Abingdon town centre is difficult, but there is no excuse when it comes to new developments. A good example of this is the forthcoming “Oxford North” development, which seems to have no proper cycling facilities designed into it—yet. I am sorry to say that councils do not always have a great track record in this area, despite warm words. The snazzy new Westgate shopping centre, where I am going to be celebrating my birthday soon, is one good example of this; I will not be cycling there because there is no—

Motion lapsed (Standing Order No. 9(3)).

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Jeremy Quin.)

As I was saying, what a wasted opportunity there. That same lack of ambition was seen in the development of Oxford Parkway station, where there was no real creation of integrated cycle routes, despite the fact that the station is within easy cycling distance of tens of thousands of people in Oxford and Kidlington. To cross the roundabout one has to get off one’s bike and walk—that is not good enough. Councils are great at rhetoric, yet when the schemes are finally implemented, we rarely see the warm words we often hear come to fruition. So my question to the Minister is: how do we hold councils to account?