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Local councillor appears to insult cyclists

Liam Walker, an Oxfordshire councillor for transport, became subject to scrutiny last week after responding to a tweet insulting cyclists. There has since been a formal complaint against Walker, which is under investigation by the Oxfordshire County Council. 

The tweet came in response to a suggestion from the Twitter account Build Back Better Ox, which cited superior infrastructure as the best means of improving cycling capacity in Oxfordshire and linked to a YouTube video demonstrating the efficiency of the Dutch system. 

A Twitter user replied to the post, suggesting that cyclists who praise the Netherlands for its attitude to cycling should simply relocate there, to which the councillor replied that it was “well put”. This tweet met was met with widespread negative reactions from local cyclists and residents, among these being Green Party councillor Dick Wolff’s letter calling for the councillor to be dismissed. 

Both the tweet and Walker’s reply have since been deleted. In an article by the BBC, Walker is quoted as saying that he “implied [he] agreed with the view” that people who supported a “pro-bicycle” outlook should move to the Netherlands, and states that it was “a tongue-in-cheek-comment”.

Mr Walker has also stated that he is “sorry if anyone was offended” and denied that he was attempting to discourage people from adopting more sustainable transport methods. He has also addressed the resignation of former Oxfordshire cycling champion Suzanne Bartington, calling it “a great shame” and promising that active transport remains on the council’s agenda.

Image Credit: Tejvan Pettinger.

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