‘Wear a helmet at all times’ pleads widow

The roundabout at the junction of Foxhall Road and Broadway in Didcot, where Paul Welch was involved in a collision with a Renault Megane

Mr Welch with his dog Buddy

First published in Didcot Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

THE widow of a man killed in an accident at a roundabout near their home has urged all cyclists to wear safety helmets.

Paul Welch, 67, from Barleyfields, died of his injuries a day after the accident at the Foxhall Road and Broadway roundabout earlier this month.

Father-of-two Mr Welch, a former British Telecom engineer, was riding his silver racing bike when he was in a collision with a black Renault Megane.

He was airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford after suffering head injuries but did not recover, following the accident at 11.35am on November 3.

Mr Welch’s wife Mandy, who is in her late 60s, said: “I’m annoyed with Paul because he was not wearing a helmet at the time.

“I think cyclists should always wear safety helmets because it could protect them in a crash.

“You often see young cyclists wearing helmets, but some people tend not to when they get older.”

She said her husband had hit the back of his head on the edge of the roundabout.

Mrs Welch said she and her husband, a grandfather of two, had just got back from holiday in France when the crash happened.

She added: “Paul told me he was popping out, and said he wouldn’t be too long.

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“He was probably going to the Orchard Centre to buy some seafood, or some tickets for a film as we have just become members of Didcot film club.

“Later on there was a knock on the door and it was the police.

“Paul had been cycling since the age of 11 and would go out two or three times a week for rides around Blewbury and the villages. As far as I know he had never been knocked off his bike before, although he did talk about the roads getting busier. “Paul was such a fit man. He didn’t have any health problems and didn’t deserve this.”

Neighbour Terry Dunwoody, 62, a retired IT consultant, said he and his wife Jane, 61, were shocked by Mr Welch’s death. He added: “He was a very pleasant chap and would mow our lawn for us when we were away – we really feel for the family.

“He was a very experienced cyclist and I would often see him out on his old-style racer.”

Richard Mann, a spokesman for Oxford-based cyclists’ group Cyclox, said: “A cycle helmet might just have saved Mr Welch.”

Angela Lee, a spokesman for The Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust, said: “We encourage adults as well as youngsters to wear cycle helmets.

“The helmets can give extra protection in many different accident situations.”

  • A 24-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and released on bail to return to Abingdon police station on December 20.

DEATHS & INJURIES DOUBLE IN 10 YEARS

FIGURES show that cyclist deaths and injuries in the county have more than doubled in a decade.

  • There were 58 cyclists killed or seriously injured in the county in 2011 compared to 27 in 2001.
  • Nationally, the number of all accidents involving bicycles has fallen by 23 per cent.
  • Fatal accidents include the death of Joanna Braithwaite in October last year after she was struck by a cement mixer in Woodstock Road, North Oxford.
  • In 2004, 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 Oxford.
  • And in 2007, Oxford University student Tsz Fok died when his bike was hit by a dustcart at the junction of Broad Street and Parks Road in Oxford.

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