Improving cycle safety for University staff and students

For several years, the Estates Services’ Environmental Sustainability team has worked in partnership with local organisations to offer Oxford University’s staff and students free cycle benefits.

Since March 2014, the Broken Spoke Bike Co-op has delivered courses, which aim to increase the number of staff and students taking up cycling and improve competency and road safety awareness. Broken Spoke, an Oxford based social enterprise, was established with the goal of making people more proficient and confident in bicycle maintenance and riding.

Through the University programme, staff and students are eligible for six hours of free tuition. Currently around 20 people, some of whom have never ridden a bike before, take advantage of the training each month which is tailored to individual needs and abilities.

Accredited training 

Broken Spoke’s training is accredited to the national cycle proficiency standard, Bikability. Various levels of tuition are provided, from learning to ride a bike and basic bike handling skills through to advanced skills for dealing with challenging traffic situations.

Several teams from the University, including members of the Messengers team, IT Services, Examination Schools and the Blavatnik School of Government, have organised group training sessions to ensure the competency of staff using the University’s pool bikes.

Road safety theory

The members of the Environmental Sustainability team also organise a bi-annual presentation that delivers valuable road safety theory to an audience of over one hundred people. The talk, open to all University staff and students, provides valuable advice on effective, safe and enjoyable cycling. This includes how to maneuver around other cyclists and passing on good practice tips from experienced cyclists.

Mobile Mechanic

To keep people safe their bikes need to be in good working order. The University holds regular workshops with a bike mechanic to service bikes. Staff and students are only charged for the replacement parts used in any repairs carried out.

Ed Wigzell, Travel Officer with the Environmental Sustainability team commented, ‘We really want to encourage more people to cycle around the city and for departments to take up the funding available for pool bikes.

‘The cycle tuition is for everyone – complete beginners and people who have been cycling around for years but might benefit from brushing up on their road safety skills, discover the safer cycling routes around Oxford or become more confident and competent.’

For more information on any of the initiatives mentioned, please contact Ed Wigzell

Published November 2015