£130,000 will be spent on bike racks across Oxfordshire, as part of the changes to travel expected as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Oxfordshire County Council is set to receive £2.9 million from the government's emergency active travel fund to make it safer for people to use bikes and walk instead of driving or catching the bus as lockdown eases.

Spending of the first tranche of this money, £597,000, has begun, according to the council, with the biggest changes being more cycle parking and better bike route markings.

All of this work needs to be finished in eight weeks.

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The authority has ordered 130 cycle racks, which will be set up in park and rides around Oxford, as well as in the city centre and market towns around the county.

The sites of each new parking rack is being worked out with help from all 61 of the county's councillors, who took part in a survey about new changes.

It is estimated that combined costs of buying and installing each bike rack is £1,000, roughly totalling £130,000, and that these racks will arrive next week.

Also on the agenda for the council is re-tarmacking and painting cycle paths in the county.

Banbury Cake:

Yvonne Constance, the county councillor responsible for overseeing transport and the environment

According to the council, areas where this will take place include:

  • 'multiple locations' in Oxford city centre;
  • Witan Way, Station Lane and Ducklington Lane in Witney;
  • Shilton Road and Burford Road in Carterton;
  • a series of 16 sites in Abingdon and Wantage;
  • and more smaller works in Henley, Thame, Benson, Chinnor, Didcot, Wallingford, and Wheatley.

Traffic light timings in some places will also be changed to prioritise cyclists.

In the longer term, the council will spend £2.388 million on bigger changes, including new bus gates in Oxford.

Concerns have previously been raised by district council cycling champions that the changes are not enough for the county to be given this second pot of funding.

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Other work on creating local cycling networks for each of Oxfordshire's towns had already begun before the pandemic.

These plans would give more space on certain roads for bikes, and the firs, for Oxford, has been published.

There is also work to link up Harwell Campus, Milton Park and Culham Science Centre with Didcot, Abingdon and Wantage by a network of cycle routes.

Yvonne Constance, county council cabinet member for environment, said: “Our focus on supporting active transport options through a major upgrade in our cycling infrastructure will improve people’s health and wellbeing whilst helping us as a county attain our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It is part of our commitment to creating a sustainable and resilient future for Oxfordshire as we emerge from the coronavirus crisis. We will build Oxfordshire back better.”