CoHSAT complains about biased questions in Council survey
CoHSAT is urging people to complain to the city council over what are being described as “biased questions” in its survey on public attitudes regarding the city centre, with “Cyclists riding irresponsibly” being the only transport-related issue highlighted.
The Public Attitude Survey on the City Centre consultation was launched in November and closes this Sunday 12 January 2020.
It is billed as “the first stage in a wider piece of work that will see the City Council create a vision for the whole city centre, including transport into and around the city centre, retail and tourism, and street furniture and public toilets.”
CoHSAT has put in a complaint to the council over the disproportionate focus on the negative behaviour of cyclists above the problems posed by any other form of transport. Our complaint is based on the fact that there is only one transport-related issue that respondents to the survey are prompted to address, namely “‘Cyclists riding irresponsibly.” As such the Survey can not hope to give credible answers in this area. But we are more concerned about the attitudes it will develop and reinforce among respondents by encouraging them to think about negative behaviours of cyclists in an imbalanced way. This is a retrograde step from a Council that we generally consider to be supportive of cycling.
Here is the text of our letter:
We have just noticed your ‘Public Attitude Survey on the City Centre’. We wish to raise a formal complaint about the way that this presents the problems caused by modes of transport in the city centre.
The only transport related problem that is prompted in the questionnaire is ‘Cyclists riding irresponsibly’. The survey does not prompt about (for example):
• Dangerous driving
• Air pollution
• Noise from traffic
• Difficulty crossing the road
• The amount of city centre space taken by motor traffic
• The amount of city centre space taken by parking
• Irresponsible and illegal parking
• Goods vehicles loading and unloading and loading freight
• Pedestrians walking irresponsibly
• Scooters being used irresponsibly
• Mobility scooters being used irresponsibly
As such the Survey can not hope to give credible answers in this area. But we are more concerned about the attitudes it will develop and reinforce among respondents by encouraging them to think about negative behaviours of cyclists in an imbalanced way. This is a retrograde step from a Council that we generally consider to be supportive of cycling.
The Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT)
The Public Attitude Survey on the City Centre is open until 12th January 2020. You can use the free text fields in the questionnaire to complain, or adapt the letter above and email your local Councillors.
***UPDATE 16th January 2020***
See this feature in the Oxford Times, where Oxford City Council admits that “it let itself down.”