Dear Green party,
I would like to suggest some ideas to make Oxford an even nicer place to live. So much has been written for and against cycling over the years it has become entrenched with die hard supporters on both sides dug in to their 'opinion trenches' and refusing to budge in any direction. I would like to suggest a fresh simple approach if I may. Firstly we have to accept that this country is car centric and nothing short of economic collapse would change an opinion like that overnight. Cyclists are injured occasionally by car drivers, this does not mean cycling in inherently dangerous in any way and therefore does not require piles of 'special clothing' to take part. These are both arguments that are dragged out time and time again to defend or attack either party and are largely toothless and mean nothing anymore, let alone change anyone's opinion. The way to bring about a sea change in opinion is over time and by example. Many of the special interest groups on both sides bang on about things that are highly unlikely to gain mass consensus any time soon.
As is widely known many parts of Europe have very high cycling rates as a normal form of transport when it comes to daily chores, school runs, local shopping etcetera. Oxford and Cambridge are probably the closest thing that the UK has that is comparable to Europe but much more can be done at little or no cost to make Oxford particularly stand out and hopefully the ripple will gradually spread. As Oxford City Council has recently gained two members of the Green Party now would be the ideal time to start promoting 'doable' green transport initiatives. Cycle delivery companies could be promoted locally, get the big local retailers involved, Sainsbury's etc and encourage deliveries of groceries by cycle, food retailers delivering lunches to offices, Cycle taxis in Oxford. Why are there no pedicabs in Oxford? I understand there were some arguments against them by local taxi firms (no great surprise there) and the Council dithered about whether they should be licensed or not but how long does it take to make a decision? Cycle to school schemes, I used to cycle five miles each way to school and the many cycle stands were full. Now the roads outside schools are filled with badly parked cars who's owners have usually driven less than three miles to get there! These are just a few ideas none of which are new but promoted in the right way locally can only make life better. It is difficult to see how anyone could make a concerted argument against promoting ideas like this in a city the size of Oxford.