An MP has urged the government to commit to keeping cyclists safe on the roads after two women were killed less than a month apart while riding bikes in Oxford.
On 8 February Ellen Moilanen, a university worker in her 40s, was killed when she was struck by a lorry driver while cycling on the A4165 near Oxford Parkway station, a busy commuter route between Kidlington and Oxford.
Less than a month later, on 1 March Dr Ling Felce died in a collision involving a lorry at the notorious roundabout junction of St Clement's Street and The Plain.
A 39-year-old lorry driver was later charged with causing Dr Felce’s death by careless driving whilst unfit through drugs, causing death while driving unlicensed and causing death while driving without insurance.
Five women have now been killed cycling in and around Oxford since 2017.
Local cycling campaign group Cyclox has called for protected cycle lanes and a reduction in speeds and traffic to be introduced across the city, and for clearer road signs and markings to be installed on the “hostile” A4165.
The group’s chair Dr Alison Hill said: “We all should be calling for a ‘vision zero’ which is about total intolerance of any road user death because it is just awful for any road user to lose their life.”
Yesterday in parliament, during a meeting in which MPs could ask the Department for Transport (DfT) questions, the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran said that government money was needed to ensure Oxford’s cyclists are safe.
“Speaking after Ling's death her husband James said he hopes one day to take his children to the roundabout where she died and tell them ‘look, no one else dies here because of mummy’,” Moran said.
“The county council has rightly made cycle safety a top priority but desperately needs the government's help, particularly financially.
“Would the minister consider meeting with me to discuss how to keep Oxfordshire's cyclists safe and avoid any more senseless deaths?”
DfT parliamentary under-secretary Trudy Harrison replied: “I'm terribly sorry to hear of the sad passing of her constituents, and we agree that infrastructure needs to be properly funded and of the highest quality.”
Harrison said that the government’s new executive agency Active Travel England was working to improve infrastructure across the country and that she would meet with the Lib Dem MP to discuss the situation in Oxford.
Vigils were organised by Cyclox in memory of Mrs Moilanen and Dr Felce.
Dr Hill urged locals to take the opportunity afforded by a public consultation on the proposed Local Transport and Connectivity Plan to “call for urgent action faster and sooner to make our roads safer.”
She added: “That involves a large number of different actions. It involves things like reducing speed and reducing traffic volume, which is utterly crucial because people see the huge number of cars and just feel too intimidated to get on their bikes.
“It involves making safe, segregated cycle routes that are separated from traffic because that is the only way people will feel safe.”
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.