Fears for the safety of Abingdon schoolchildren heightened by another cycle crash

Herald Series: Concern renewed by cycle crash Concern renewed by cycle crash

FEARS about safety on Abingdon’s roads have been heightened after a teenage cyclist was seriously injured in the first week of the new school term.

A 14-year-old Fitzharrys School boy suffered a broken leg in an accident with a car in Dunmore Road at 5pmlast Wednesday.

The accident sparked renewed calls for safety improvements to routes used by children on their way to and from school.

Town schools had already mounted a campaign following the deaths of two Larkmead School pupil cyclists during the past year and, more recently, parents of new pupils starting at secondary school this term had also called for improvements.

Parents say the issue of cycle safety in Abingdon cannot be ducked any longer — they are demanding action before another child dies.

Fitzharrys School headteacher Susan Tranter said: “After everything that has happened during the last year, and now another accident within the first week of the school term, it’s clear that something has to be done.

“Thankfully, this youngster was all right this time, but it is a serious injury and who knows what could happen in the future?

“We need to increase cycling routes around Abingdon and look at the speed limits. I also think motorists need to be made more bike-aware.”

During the five years until the end of July, there were 11 accidents in Dunmore Road, which has a 40mph speed limit. Nine resulted in slight injuries and two in serious injuries. One accident resulted in a serious injury to a child, another in a slight injury to a cyclist.

In July, Larkmead School pupil Ty-Ree Partridge, 11, was cycling home from the school’s science club when she died after a collision with a van in Copenhagen Drive.

Nine months earlier, another Larkmead pupil, Sarah Waterhouse, 17, had died in a cycle accident involving a coach in Colwell Drive.

The deputy headteacher at Larkmead School, Jonathan Dennett, said: “Obviously, we have had two tragedies at the school in the last year and this incident again highlights the issues surrounding cyclists in Abingdon.

“Already this term we’ve had a number of parents approach us with ideas to improve safety in the town and we’re lobbying the county council to do so.

“In the next few weeks there will be a meeting of local schools to discuss the ideas.”

Mandy Wooloff, 43, of Drayton Road, Abingdon, who has two daughters at Fitzharrys School. said: “Cycling safety in Abingdon is horrendous. I’ve seen many near misses involving cyclists.”

Amanda Devitt, 33, of Milton, who has a daughter at the school. said: “I would love for my daughter to be able to cycle to school, but there’s no way I would let her.”

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Owen Morton said: “The county council is close to finalising a list of improvements to cycle routes in Abingdon and has £35,000 to spend.

“We are looking to press ahead with these improvements as soon as possible.”

He added that safe cycling and walking routes would be promoted and cycle training more widely offered.

Sandy Lovatt, county councillor for North Abingdon, said residents were getting frustrated and annoyed by the lack of a solution. He said he now wanted a safety audit carried out in the town to focus council officers on finding a solution.

Comments (11)

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6:45pm Tue 15 Sep 09

EmJk says...

I totally agree something needs to be done. My 6 year old daughter was knocked off her bike whilst crossing the pedestrian crossing in Oxford Road in the summer by a driver going too fast who didn't stop in time and jumped red light. Drivers need to be more aware of cyclists and not get away with "driver improvement courses" as the driver who hit my daughter did. Luckily she was ok.
I totally agree something needs to be done. My 6 year old daughter was knocked off her bike whilst crossing the pedestrian crossing in Oxford Road in the summer by a driver going too fast who didn't stop in time and jumped red light. Drivers need to be more aware of cyclists and not get away with "driver improvement courses" as the driver who hit my daughter did. Luckily she was ok. EmJk
  • Score: 0

7:10pm Tue 15 Sep 09

Superstar2167 says...

As a driver I do take care of cyclists. However in the first week of the new school term I had to swerve to avoid a child turning off Radly Road. She was wobbling on bike that was far too big and had no cycle helmet. I was frightened for her. My point is that surely her parent's are at fault for getting her a bike she will 'grow into' and the school. Why don't schools stop children leaving on bikes without the proper safety gear? And what about cycling proficiency courses before children are allowed to ride to school? After seeing an adult cyclist jump a red light today I also think adult cyclists don't always set a good example either.
As a driver I do take care of cyclists. However in the first week of the new school term I had to swerve to avoid a child turning off Radly Road. She was wobbling on bike that was far too big and had no cycle helmet. I was frightened for her. My point is that surely her parent's are at fault for getting her a bike she will 'grow into' and the school. Why don't schools stop children leaving on bikes without the proper safety gear? And what about cycling proficiency courses before children are allowed to ride to school? After seeing an adult cyclist jump a red light today I also think adult cyclists don't always set a good example either. Superstar2167
  • Score: 0

10:13am Wed 16 Sep 09

carioca says...

Just a small point to make here. As there will no doubt be a ton of comments by self righteous motorists. Yes some kids do wobble about a bit, and some take risks (remember when you were a kid?). But statistically most accidents are caused by drivers going too fast, that is the fact plain and simple. Cycle lanes can help if they are well design and maintained (as none are here), but speed is the killer. If you see a cyclist jumping a red light, think for a moment, they might be doing it to avoid getting mown down by impatient drivers (not that, that is an excuse). Also bear in mind that Abits has created a racing track that is really dangerous to us cyclists
Just a small point to make here. As there will no doubt be a ton of comments by self righteous motorists. Yes some kids do wobble about a bit, and some take risks (remember when you were a kid?). But statistically most accidents are caused by drivers going too fast, that is the fact plain and simple. Cycle lanes can help if they are well design and maintained (as none are here), but speed is the killer. If you see a cyclist jumping a red light, think for a moment, they might be doing it to avoid getting mown down by impatient drivers (not that, that is an excuse). Also bear in mind that Abits has created a racing track that is really dangerous to us cyclists carioca
  • Score: 0

10:38am Wed 16 Sep 09

Agnes_c says...

Whether you are a pedestrian, cyclist, biker or car driver, we all have to be responsible for our own actions. Dunmore Road has an excellent cycle path, but I understand this lad was knocked down on the crossing. Too many people speed on this road, like many others in Abingdon. There are a total of 8 roads that join Dunmore Road not to mention numerous people crossing at various stages, as well as runners/dog walkers that use the path network and I’m afraid it appears to be only luck that there has not been a fatal accident there YET.
Whether you are a pedestrian, cyclist, biker or car driver, we all have to be responsible for our own actions. Dunmore Road has an excellent cycle path, but I understand this lad was knocked down on the crossing. Too many people speed on this road, like many others in Abingdon. There are a total of 8 roads that join Dunmore Road not to mention numerous people crossing at various stages, as well as runners/dog walkers that use the path network and I’m afraid it appears to be only luck that there has not been a fatal accident there YET. Agnes_c
  • Score: 0

11:04am Wed 16 Sep 09

zuzie says...

I wasn't there but I was informed that although he was at the crossing he hadn't waited for the green light but gone straight out onto the road. Unfortunately I see many parents doing this with their children even when walking etc rather than waiting a few extra seconds. Accidents will happen and motorists, cyclists and pedestrians all have responsibilities to keep roads safe and reduce accidents.
I wasn't there but I was informed that although he was at the crossing he hadn't waited for the green light but gone straight out onto the road. Unfortunately I see many parents doing this with their children even when walking etc rather than waiting a few extra seconds. Accidents will happen and motorists, cyclists and pedestrians all have responsibilities to keep roads safe and reduce accidents. zuzie
  • Score: 0

2:42pm Wed 16 Sep 09

Superstar2167 says...

Yes I did wobble on my bike but I was NEVER allowed on the roads as a child on my bike. And my school did not allow children to ride to school unless they had proficiency certificates. If they could do that in London in the 70s then I am sure it could be done here in the 21st century! Surely what we all want is a generation of safe cyclists? I resent the implication that its always speeding drivers that are blamed. We are all responsible for our actions. Like the cyclist last night riding down an unlit road with no lights... In other words its not always us drivers!
Yes I did wobble on my bike but I was NEVER allowed on the roads as a child on my bike. And my school did not allow children to ride to school unless they had proficiency certificates. If they could do that in London in the 70s then I am sure it could be done here in the 21st century! Surely what we all want is a generation of safe cyclists? I resent the implication that its always speeding drivers that are blamed. We are all responsible for our actions. Like the cyclist last night riding down an unlit road with no lights... In other words its not always us drivers! Superstar2167
  • Score: 0

10:51pm Wed 16 Sep 09

mickey-bear says...

Before the AbITS scheme was approved DfT guidance required the OCC to carry out a safety audit and to establish a hierarchy of use (beginning with pedestrians, and taking in cyclists, mobility scooter users etc.) Under this guidance LTN1/04, no plans should have been approved that made the situation worse for any of these user groups. Not only was no complete safety audit of the entire extent of the scheme ever carried out, but Council officers decided to ignore the DfT guidance and forge ahead with a scheme which their own consultants had told them (in an improperly suppressed report produced in August 2003) had "grossly underestimated" both traffic volumes and pollution levels.

Since the scheme was implemented cycle use has dropped by a third, despite the reduced bus services, worsening economic situation and pressures on family budgets. The only rational explanation is the entirely justifiable concerns of parents for their children's safety. But the result is increased congestion, and ever more examples of frustrated drivers cutting up cyclists.

Another cyclist was injured today outside St Helen's church (which the Council wants to turn into a full two way primary route into and out of central Abingdon), without again any consideration of safety. Indeed, the consultants didn't even visit the site!

This has to stop, and the only way isto get the Council to reassess the entire traffic situation in Abingdon, this time in a genuinely "integrated" manner. Enough money has been wasted on pointless fiddling. An independent enquiry should now look at who profited from the huge sums shelled out, and why the Council pressed on despite the contrary advice they had received, which categorically stated that the scheme as proposed would have at best a "negligible" effect on improving the situation...
Before the AbITS scheme was approved DfT guidance required the OCC to carry out a safety audit and to establish a hierarchy of use (beginning with pedestrians, and taking in cyclists, mobility scooter users etc.) Under this guidance LTN1/04, no plans should have been approved that made the situation worse for any of these user groups. Not only was no complete safety audit of the entire extent of the scheme ever carried out, but Council officers decided to ignore the DfT guidance and forge ahead with a scheme which their own consultants had told them (in an improperly suppressed report produced in August 2003) had "grossly underestimated" both traffic volumes and pollution levels. Since the scheme was implemented cycle use has dropped by a third, despite the reduced bus services, worsening economic situation and pressures on family budgets. The only rational explanation is the entirely justifiable concerns of parents for their children's safety. But the result is increased congestion, and ever more examples of frustrated drivers cutting up cyclists. Another cyclist was injured today outside St Helen's church (which the Council wants to turn into a full two way primary route into and out of central Abingdon), without again any consideration of safety. Indeed, the consultants didn't even visit the site! This has to stop, and the only way isto get the Council to reassess the entire traffic situation in Abingdon, this time in a genuinely "integrated" manner. Enough money has been wasted on pointless fiddling. An independent enquiry should now look at who profited from the huge sums shelled out, and why the Council pressed on despite the contrary advice they had received, which categorically stated that the scheme as proposed would have at best a "negligible" effect on improving the situation... mickey-bear
  • Score: 0

4:14pm Thu 17 Sep 09

carioca says...

superstar, if I had a few hour to spend listing all the driver that had broken the law driving past my front door, then I would be very happy to bore you to tears. Of course there idiots out there on bikes, but impossible to compare that to the amount of drivers that habitially break the law. Difference is that a bike cutting up a car might result in a few scratches, whereas vice versa inevitable means a fatality. Unfortunately most drivers (and I am not thinking you are on of them) have a totally casual attitude to cyclists.
superstar, if I had a few hour to spend listing all the driver that had broken the law driving past my front door, then I would be very happy to bore you to tears. Of course there idiots out there on bikes, but impossible to compare that to the amount of drivers that habitially break the law. Difference is that a bike cutting up a car might result in a few scratches, whereas vice versa inevitable means a fatality. Unfortunately most drivers (and I am not thinking you are on of them) have a totally casual attitude to cyclists. carioca
  • Score: 0

9:25pm Fri 18 Sep 09

Superstar2167 says...

I think it is equally fair to say that some (note I say some) cyclists do have a cavelier attitude towards safety. I think its fair to say that all road users need to think about what they are doing.
I think it is equally fair to say that some (note I say some) cyclists do have a cavelier attitude towards safety. I think its fair to say that all road users need to think about what they are doing. Superstar2167
  • Score: 0

3:33pm Sat 19 Sep 09

carioca says...

supertstar. what is the point of trying to defend other motorists? True some cyclists do have a cavalier attitude, and a pox on them. But that is nothing compared to irresponsible drivers, I have just come back from town, and saw absolutely no drivers using indicators to turn from Stert Street to Bridge Street, the majority going too fast, one narrowly missed a pedestrian. I would reckon about 90% of drivers break the law in one way or another. They just don't have a clue how dangerous these little mishaps are...
supertstar. what is the point of trying to defend other motorists? True some cyclists do have a cavalier attitude, and a pox on them. But that is nothing compared to irresponsible drivers, I have just come back from town, and saw absolutely no drivers using indicators to turn from Stert Street to Bridge Street, the majority going too fast, one narrowly missed a pedestrian. I would reckon about 90% of drivers break the law in one way or another. They just don't have a clue how dangerous these little mishaps are... carioca
  • Score: 0

11:26pm Tue 6 Oct 09

bikerider says...

Let's stop for a moment. Cars have 'taken' the right to use roads as drivers see fit. Cars were never 'granted' any right to use them. If people feel that roads are not safe to ride bikes on, then the answer has to be along the lines of 'make them safe for all to use'. This will require much lower speeds, narrower lanes for cars and much wider ones for bikes, community education, and an acceptance driving fast in a car is frequently a 'fools gold' with all the traffic snarl in Abingdon and surrounds.

I am from Abingdon, but live overseas these days, and ride when I do visit. The bike lanes past Larkmead are negligent in their width, and the road speed is far too fast. Where ever there is a school, there should be a 'school zone' speed limit, of about 30 kph in a situation like that section of road, but 30 kph, about 20 mph, is what the standard urban road speed should, in fact, must, be.

And 'owning' a driving licence should not be a lifelong right. Let banned drivers ride bikes for a while, or catch buses.
Let's stop for a moment. Cars have 'taken' the right to use roads as drivers see fit. Cars were never 'granted' any right to use them. If people feel that roads are not safe to ride bikes on, then the answer has to be along the lines of 'make them safe for all to use'. This will require much lower speeds, narrower lanes for cars and much wider ones for bikes, community education, and an acceptance driving fast in a car is frequently a 'fools gold' with all the traffic snarl in Abingdon and surrounds. I am from Abingdon, but live overseas these days, and ride when I do visit. The bike lanes past Larkmead are negligent in their width, and the road speed is far too fast. Where ever there is a school, there should be a 'school zone' speed limit, of about 30 kph in a situation like that section of road, but 30 kph, about 20 mph, is what the standard urban road speed should, in fact, must, be. And 'owning' a driving licence should not be a lifelong right. Let banned drivers ride bikes for a while, or catch buses. bikerider
  • Score: 0

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