PLANS to ensure no more cyclists die on Oxford roads are progressing, following three fatalities in the city in the space of six months.

The deaths of Jennifer Wong, Ellen Moilanen and Ling Felce have rocked the city in recent months – and led to increased calls for urgent change.

After Ms Molianen’s death near Oxford Parkway Station on February 8, a petition demanding action was delivered by Dr Alison Hill, chair of Cyclox, the cycling campaign group.

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A working group, chaired by Oxfordshire County Council’s cycling champion, Andrew Gant, was created, but before the group could meet, Dr Felce was killed at The Plain roundabout on March 1.

Both Oxford Parkway and The Plain, in addition to the junction of Headley Way and London Road in Headington, where Ms Wong died, have been earmarked as sites where discussions have taken place to improve safety.

Short-term actions to deliver immediate improvements at those locations have been spoken about, along with longer-term and more significant changes.

Oxford Mail: Jennifer Wong. Picture: Thames Valley Police handoutJennifer Wong. Picture: Thames Valley Police handout

Oxford Mail: Ellen MoilanenEllen Moilanen


Oxford Mail: Ling Felce. Picture: Thames Valley Police handoutLing Felce. Picture: Thames Valley Police handout

A council statement said changes will need to take into account and align with planned schemes and initiatives, and more broadly with other programmes, including the Housing Infrastructure Funding and growth deal schemes.

At the junction of Headley Way and London Road, plans to improve safety for cyclists are at design stage and will be made public soon.

Temporary barriers are in place near Oxford Parkway, to reduce capacity and lower vehicle speeds in the southbound slipway, while additional signage is in place.

A more fundamental redesign of the junction is under review.

Council officers have engaged with haulage operators working out of the HS2 base at Oxford Parkway to make them more aware of cyclist safety.

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At The Plain, additional signage is already in place, and there are plans to improve the alignment between Cowley Road and Iffley Road.

Parking and loading restrictions, along with options to eliminate illegal parking (such as installing bollards and/or cycle parking racks on the island between Sainsbury’s and Magdalen College School’s junior school) are being pursued.

Oxford Mail: The vigil for Ling Felce, who died at The Plain roundabout. Picture: Ed NixThe vigil for Ling Felce, who died at The Plain roundabout. Picture: Ed Nix

Mr Gant said it is essential decisions are not hurried, if the council’s ambitious Vision Zero strategy is to be met.

In March, following Dr Felce’s death, the council’s leader, Liz Leffman, outlined that she would like to see a success of Vision Zero in Oxfordshire.

She said: “Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.

“It was first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s and has proved successful across many important European cities.”

“We’ve had recent fatalities – three in the space of six months, with two in a four-week period, drawing attention to the issues on our roads,” said Mr Gant.

Oxford Mail: Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council cycling champion. Picture: Ed NixAndrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council cycling champion. Picture: Ed Nix

“It’s important to stress the wrong thing to do would be to rush things, officers who are professionals and highly experienced in these things have said that.

“The group has met very regularly, and I know people don’t want us to talk, but to take action, however the whole ambition for Vision Zero is being taken very seriously at all levels of county.

“The leader has made a public commitment to Vision Zero – fatalities on the road are not acceptable.

“Vision Zero has been successful elsewhere, I’m talking cities in other parts of the world.

“It’s really important for us to keep in touch with similar places in this country too – like Cambridge, York, Bristol and Bath.

“We’re a medieval city, we’re not designed for the modern volumes of traffic.”

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Dr Hill said that although the desire for change is urgent, the cost of schemes has to be factored in.

A £1.35 million scheme to overhaul The Plain began in January 2015, and despite its expense, was widely criticised.

On the changes set to be implemented across Oxford, Dr Hill said: “It’s incredibly important because we can’t see more cyclists killed while they’re riding their bikes, it’s shocked the entire community, when we’re supposed to be a cycling city.

“All road users need to work together – we’re representing people who cycle but we need to think about the risks for others as well and to make it safe for all road users.

“Although we would love to see rapid decisions made, as long as we can see change happening, that is a good thing.

“There’s quite a lot to consider and some of the things we’ve called for would be very expensive – a roundabout redesign at The Plain would cost millions.”

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