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Cyclist accident report adds new drive to improvements
9:00am Thursday 22nd August 2013 in News
Tim Harding, manager of Cowley Road shop Cycloanalysts, says there is little advice he can give cyclists using the street named as Oxford’s No1 blackspot
TODAY the Oxford Mail can reveal the most dangerous roads for cyclists in the city.
Campaigners are calling for improvements to make Oxford safer for people on two wheels, as accidents hit a five-year high.
Since 2008 there have been 786 accidents reported where cyclists have been injured in the city.
Cowley Road had the most with 65 between 2008 and 2012, followed by High Street with 61 and Banbury Road with 53.
Richard Mann, from Cyclox, told the Oxford Mail: “It is a risky area. We need cycle lanes throughout Cowley Road. The aspiration is to reduce the amount of parking so the council can put them in.”
There was a 20mph speed limit imposed in Cowley Road in 2006 and £1.6m spent on installing three zebra crossings and making parts of the road and pavements the same level in 2005 in a bid to improve the road.
But the number of accidents on the route has not consistently dropped; in 2008 there were 12, with 10 in 2009, nine in 2010, 19 in 2011 and 15 in 2012.
Cowley Road is used daily by an average of 3,234 cyclists, so with 65 accidents actually comes fourth in terms of risk. Tim Harding, manager of Cowley Road shop Cycloanalysts, suggested that an information booklet could help cyclists stay safe.
He said: “There is nothing I can give new cyclists to tell them how to ride. We get a lot of accidents on the Cowley Road. It is just a busy road that is the problem.”
While Botley Road only came fifth with 41 accidents it is used by an average 1,548 cyclists every day so proportionally is the most dangerous for cyclists.
Last year it was branded “one of the most dangerous roads for cyclists in the UK” by the charity Sustrans.
Botley mum-of-two Lisa Harker lost her unborn child after being hit by an 18-tonne lorry at the junction of Botley Road and Roger Dudman Way in 2004.
The 44-year-old said: “Those blackspots are all main routes through the city so the level of traffic of cyclists and other vehicles are not likely to decrease.
“I think all angles need to be considered – potentially the layout of the roads, the quality of the cycle lanes, the division of the cycle lanes from the road as well as information to cyclists and heavy goods vehicles coming into Oxford.”
London Road is the second most dangerous proportionally with 37 accidents in five years but 1,296 daily users.
The Plain roundabout will see £965,000 worth of layout changes after Government funding was announced earlier this mont. It had the seventh highest number of accidents with 27 but is the most heavily used in the city. Around 4,700 cyclists daily so is the third most dangerous proportionally.
Mr Mann said: “We are certainly very encouraged by the investment and the money that has been made available for The Plain junction which is one of the most notorious accident spots for cyclists.”
Woodstock Road, where 34-year-old cyclist Joanna Braithwaite died after a crash with a cement mixer lorry in October 2011, had the fourth highest number of accidents with 47.
Last summer the county and city council announced a four-year £840,000 plan to improve cycling routes across the county, though few of the 57 schemes have actually started.
County council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said the main routes into the city will be a high priority in the council’s cycle infrastructure plan.
He said: “The successful bid for money towards improvements to The Plain will benefit users of the radial routes which converge there – High Street, Iffley Road, Marston Road, Morrell Avenue, London Road and Cowley Road – and that was one of the reasons why the bid was lodged, as improvements would benefit a large number of cyclists.”
“Of course we recognise that there are other areas of the city where cycle accidents occur, however comparing figures for particular locations can be misleading as statistics relate to stretches of road which are vastly different in length and character. For example, Cowley Road is more than two miles long compared to The Plain, which is only a very short area of road.”
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