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July 19, 2023 5 min read

Our next See.Sense report takes us to the historic city of Oxford. Home to one of the most distinguished Universities in the world, we have been busy conducting our own studies… a study on cycling in the city! 

As usual, we’ve been able to conduct this data analysis thanks to the information gathered through the See.Sense Report feature on the See.Sense app. This feature is used by cyclists to report on incidents they come across whilst cycling by pinpointing their location on a map and, using the Ride Survey feature, specifying the type of issue encountered and leaving any further comments if they desire.

Since 2020, we have received 252 reports from the See.Sense community in Oxford and its surrounding area, allowing us to piece together a detailed view of the city’s cycling network. We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to submit a report - it’s fantastic to see cyclists making their voice heard and helping to impact positive changes! 


Incident Overview

In the case of Oxford, we discovered that the most common problem reported by cyclists in the city and its surrounding areas is the road surfaces. Potholes and poorly designed manhole covers can cause a loss of control for even the most experienced cyclists if cycled over. 



Multiple users have identified this road and cycle lane as dangerous due to potholes. Cyclists reported on the See.Sense app that, “The state of the cycle path from Kennington junction along the A34 to north Hinksey is terrible”, and that there are “Potholes all along Hinksey Lane and cycle lane along A34 cycle lane."


Several app users have raised concerns about road potholes and manhole covers at the junction between High Street and Longwall Street. Comments included, “Badly sunken manhole cover”, and, “Massive pothole that will cause serious harm to motorcyclist or cyclist if not dealt with”. This busy area, near to Oxford city centre, is heavily frequented by cyclists.


This junction has been flagged by 3 users who have reported poor road surfaces and non-durable repairs to these surfaces. Comments included “They keep ‘fixing’ the potholes but it doesn’t last: the road needs resurfacing” and “I saw these potholes being repaired but maybe the tarmac got washed away because there is still at least one big one”.




Multiple users have reported close passes on this road, saying that “The overtaking down here is awful”, and that cars pass by “Extremely close”. While our data has found this road to be one heavily used by cyclists, it appears that there is no cycling infrastructure currently in place. 


Several users have raised concerns about interacting with other vehicles, particularly buses, at the Plain Roundabout. One of these users reported that a “bus driver overtook and cut back in front too close”. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that this roundabout has been highlighted as a dangerous area for cyclists. In 2022, a cyclist tragically lost their life at this roundabout.




There were multiple reports of the cycle lane on the Oxford A40 being obstructed by parked cars. One cyclist reported, “Cars parked on the cycleway. (Not next to the cycleway; actually on the tarmac blocking the path completely)”. Another commented, “They drag lots of mud from what remains of the grass verge onto the path."



Around this intersection, there have been reports from multiple users about cars obstructing their journey. One user claims they were, “Nearly run over on Newman road (again)” because the obstructing cars are causing “impatient drivers to behave intolerantly and intimidating”.




The right turn onto Pusey Street has been flagged as “very uncomfortable” as it “necessitates crossing untamed streams of traffic overtaking from behind travelling at speed”. Another user even identified a coach parking over the cycle lane on this street, even though there was allocated parking just ahead.



Alongside the ability to report cycling issues, the See.Sense app also allows users to submit cycling infrastructure requests. Our Oxford users have indicated that one of the biggest improvements they want to see is increased separation between cyclists and road traffic.



As part of their Separation request, this user reported, “I am constantly at risk of being hit by impatient car drivers”. As the photo above shows, the bike lane on this road is narrow and currently not separated from traffic. Cyclists do not feel safe, and increased separation could help with this.


On the Eynsham Road, one cyclist reported, “This is a main road with heavy traffic and is in constant daily use by many cyclists. This needs a cycle lane for safety."




On the A40, one user says “in the summer, the path along the ring road gets overgrown, which makes it very narrow for passing” and that some maintenance to reduce this issue is needed. We note that there is a 50mph speed limit on this road which exposes cyclists to fast moving traffic.


Riders have commented that in rainy weather, the Donnington Playing Field path is dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians, saying it “becomes a muddy bog” and it is “also damaging the field and it would make a great link from Flo park to town”. This is a popular cycling route into town for locals and therefore, a tarmac path has been requested here.


The lack of road lighting is an issue on the Eastern Bypass Road. One user states “This is a well-used main cycle route, but there is no lighting at all after dark. It is shared with pedestrians so the lack of visibility is very dangerous.” This is a high speed road. The cyclist should be clearly seen and be able to see at all times.


According to one cyclist, this is the “worst road in Oxford for uneven road surfaces”. A resurfacing and a possible bike lane has been requested here.

Thank you to all members of the See.Sense community who have submitted a See.Sense report. We hope that the reports featured here have been able to shed light on some of the issues that can be encountered when cycling in Oxford. If you have personally encountered any of the issues that have been raised in this report, then please let us know via our Twitter Page! 

If you want to make a report about your own area, simply download the free See.Sense app - no purchase of See.Sense light is required. You can drop a pin highlighting close passes, collisions, obstructions and more using our Ride Survey feature. If you have ideas about how your city can improve cycling, you can also make suggestions using our Infrastructure Request feature. 

By using See.Sense Report, you’re joining a community of cyclists who are helping make cycling safer and smarter, and enabling city and transport planners to improve cycle infrastructure. To learn more, visit See.Sense Report.

Are you interested to know even more about the Cycling experience in Oxford? Make sure to check out the report from our Smart Cycling Study conducted last year, which also includes the sensor data gathered from our bike lights.