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Council bans peak-hour deliveries at notorious Oxford roundabout

Unloading restrictions introduced at The Plain, where cyclist Dr Ling Felce was killed last year

Peak-hour deliveries are to be banned at a notorious roundabout in Oxford where a cyclist was killed last year.

Oxfordshire County Council has confirmed it will impose the restrictions at The Plain, where University of Oxford researcher Dr Ling Felce, a mother of two, was killed in March last year.

40-year-old lorry driver Robert Whiting, who was uninsured, unlicenced, and under the influence of cocaine when the fatal crash happened, was subsequently jailed for eight years for causing the cyclist’s death by dangerous driving.

> Unlicensed HGV driver jailed for eight years for killing cyclist while under the influence of cocaine

The junction, where St Clement’s Street, Cowley Road and Iffley Road converge on the way into the city centre via Magdalen Bridge, is used by up to 12,000 cyclists a day, according to the council.

The county council, which is the highways authority for the city, says that loading will be banned in the mornings from 0700-1000 hours and in the afternoons from 1630-1900 hours.

The measures aim to make the junction safer for pedestrians and cyclists, the council says, and are among safety initiatives that have been called for by organisations including Cyclox, the local cycling campaign group.

Councillor Andrew Gant, the council’s cabinet member for highway management, approved the measures on Thursday at a delegated decisions meeting.

He said: “We know that any measures to improve safety and visibility at this busy roundabout will be welcomed by the thousands of people who use it every day.”

According to the council, the proposals are in line with its Vision Zero policy, under which it aims for no-one to be killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads by 2050.

It also says that the plans should improve bus journey times, as well as encouraging people not to use cars for the school run.

The council added that it will be consulting with people living locally, as well as businesses and landlords, regarding alternative arrangements related to loading.

Last November, the council carried out safety improvements at The Plain including changing road markings and traffic signs, introducing bollards and road studs, and putting in light segregation for cyclists.

The roundabout had previously been remodelled in 2013, but Cyclox remained critical of the layout, saying that lack of physical segregation would not encourage less experienced cyclists, or people who did not currently ride a bike, to cycle there at all.

Speaking last November after the announcement of the latest overhaul of the roundabout, Cylcox chair Dr Alison Hill expressed hope that the changes would “make a difference” to the safety of cyclists there, although she highlighted that they did not go as far as many people had called for.

> Improvements to notorious roundabout will benefit both cyclists and motorists, campaigners say

“The Plain roundabout is a deterrent to many people who want to cycle between east Oxford and the city,” she said.

“It has the reputation of being the most dangerous junction in the UK outside London,” she continued.

“We appreciate that the county council has involved us and other cycling groups in advising on changes to the junction to help improve safety.

“Ultimately much more radical changes will be needed to eliminate serious collisions, but these improvements will make a difference,” Dr Hill added.

“We look forward to working with the county council to improving safety for cycling at other junctions around the city.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Allan newton | 1 year ago

Re new loading restrictions at The Plain ,on the roundabout itself there is No Waiting /Loading at any time. On the approaches the existing restrictions are No Loading 0730 to 0930 and 1600 to 1830. (check the little plates ,if they aint been obliterated by ER stickers) Glad to see oxford city stasi are on the job

IanMSpencer | 1 year ago

Given that delivery drivers believe themselves exempt from any parking restrictions, including pedestrian crossings, kerb markings, cycle lanes and pavements, I doubt anyone's behaviour will change here.

Responses will be along the lines of Britain collapsing due to the inability of trade to happen. The reality is that we've just given in to drivers doing what they want, even when the impact is on other drivers.

We have developed a really selfish culture and it impacts all walks of life, from litter, to aggression simply walking down the street where there always seems to be someone who wants to throw their weight around. Stick these people in a tin box and the last restraints on behaviour are lost. We need a reset.

Jenova20 replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago

IanMSpencer wrote:

Responses will be along the lines of Britain collapsing due to the inability of trade to happen.


Trade in the third world can take place over many days, over huge distances, using footpower and camels/donkeys. The Daily Mail will probably pick up on this development and use it to suggest the British economy will collapse because Oxford HGV drivers need to use a different road...

belugabob | 1 year ago

Somebody making a delivery from out of town is unlikely to know about the ban. It's going to be difficult to enforce on any basis.

OnYerBike replied to belugabob | 1 year ago

Presumably the restrictions will be implemented by means of a TRO with the required signage and road markings, which should be intelligble to any licenced driver let alone a professional. It might cause a bit of inconvenience in the first instance, but presumably dealing with restricted times is a pretty standard part of operating a delivery business within a city?

Enforcement should be straightforward via wardens or even camera, if there was sufficient political will to put the resources in place. 

HoldingOn | 1 year ago

Is that peak time for drivers or peak time for cyclists/pedestrians?

wtjs | 1 year ago

Lots of things to do with 'traffic' are 'banned', but that doesn't mean people stop doing them- especially when they discover that the police couldn't care less about the offences. It's a fairly safe bet that this 'ban' will be ignored completely within a few weeks

StillTrying replied to wtjs | 1 year ago

wtjs wrote:

Lots of things to do with 'traffic' are 'banned', but that doesn't mean people stop doing them- especially when they discover that the police couldn't care less about the offences. It's a fairly safe bet that this 'ban' will be ignored completely within a few weeks

And you'd be right. Currently, there is a cycle lane down the left-hand lane of the Cowley road leading to that junction. It has double-yellow lines, and a sign by a bus stop saying 'No Waiting'. There is not a day goes by when I don't see a car parked (usually facing oncoming trafffic) at that very bus stop; sometimes partly on the pavement. Traffic wardens appear selectively blind to them. There is also an instruction that there is no vehicular left-turn from the Cowley Road directly into the Iffley Road (an easily-missed sign indicates that vehicles should go right round the traffic island to make the turn). Amazing how many  completely ignore the instruction. Probably explains why the orca wand nearest the junction has been wiped out.

hawkinspeter | 1 year ago

Well, a peak-time ban is a start, but shouldn't they be looking to make the junctions safe at all times?

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