CYCLISTS could be at risk of being crushed by an influx of heavy goods vehicles once work begin on the West Way redevelopment in Botley.

Developers Mace confirmed to the Oxford Mail last week that they plan to begin work on the site this autumn, despite an ongoing row over planning permission.

Concerned local residents have warned that the 'left in, left out' system for trucks arriving and leaving the site could pose a risk to cyclists using the cycle lanes on West Way.

A potential danger point concerns the junction where West Way meets Church Way where it is thought that up to 20 vehicles a day will enter the site once the work begins.

The cycle lanes are regularly used by Botley residents, 24 per cent of whom regularly commute in to Oxford by bicycle.

Cyclist Simon Banks, who lives on Eynsham Road, is calling for a 'right-in, right-out' system which he says would be safer.

Mr Banks said: "To suggest that it is safe for big trucks to turn left across the cycle lane demonstrates a lack of common sense and concern for the safety of local residents. Left turning trucks kill cyclists. We don’t want any blood on the streets of Botley."

There have been 58 collisions involving cyclists in Oxford over the last five years, nine of which were close to the West Way site.

Whereas 20 of these were a result of left turns, 24 were due to right turns. Origin Transport Consultants, who prepared a report for Mace, concluded that their proposed scheme was therefore safer.

Mr Banks said all the trucks delivering to businesses off Botley Road currently turn right.

He also cited statistics from London where 55 per cent of cyclists who were seriously injured by HGVs were hurt when the driver turned left across their path.

Cyclist Rachel Barker was killed by a lorry in Botley Road in 2000 and Lisa Harker lost her unborn child after being hit by an 18-tonne lorry at the same spot in 2004.

Councillor Debby Hallett of Vale of White Horse District Council organised a meeting between cyclist groups and Mace to discuss concerns but did not take a position on what option would be safer.

She said: "I am not the decision maker here. My job it to make sure all views are represented and that decisions are made with more evidence than would otherwise have happened."

Vale of White Horse District Council will discuss the concerns at a full planning meeting, scheduled for August 23.

A spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council said that the authority had been consulted and 'will be submitting comments in due course as part of the planning process.'

Developers Mace declined to comment.