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Safety concerns after cyclist collision at notorious roundabout, as cycling campaigner remains in hospital after separate incident

Chairwoman of the Cyclox campaign group Dr Alison Hill is being treated for a serious leg injury following last week's incident involving a coach being driven in the city centre...

Cyclist safety concerns have again been heard in Oxford after five police cars and an ambulance attended the scene of a collision at a notorious roundabout, where a university academic was killed last year, after another collision, yesterday's just days after the chairwoman of an Oxford cycling campaign group was left hospitalised with a serious leg injury after a further collision in the city centre.

Dr Alison Hill, the chairwoman of Cyclox who has long campaigned for measures to improve cyclist safety in the Oxfordshire city, remains in hospital following the collision involving a coach being driven in the city centre eight days ago, the Oxford Mail reports.

Cyclox and Dr Hill were prominent in the discussion following the death of Dr Ling Felce at The Plain roundabout last February, the site of yet another collision yesterday morning.

The Plain, Oxford, before Cycle City Ambition works (licensed CC BY-SA 2.0 on Wikimedia Commons by ceridwen).jpg

[CC BY-SA 2.0 on Wikimedia Commons by ceridwen]

The collision reportedly involved a taxi being driven at the notorious roundabout, Thames Valley Police has not released any information regarding the condition of those involved but said no arrests have been made.

With its chairwoman Dr Hill still in hospital from injuries sustained in a separate collision, a spokesperson for Cyclox said there had been 16 recorded incidents involving cyclists being killed or seriously injured at The Plain in the past decade.

"Sadly, we have seen a number of serious and fatal collisions in the past few years involving people cycling," a spokesperson said. "The occurrence of another incident is undoubtedly concerning. It highlights the ongoing need for effective safety measures."

Just two weeks ago, Dr Hill warned the roundabout had "the reputation of being the most dangerous junction in the UK outside London", with visits from 12,000 bike riders each day, as the council approved the installation of a camera to fine rule-breaking drivers making a banned left turn at one section of the roundabout.

The Plain roundabout banned left turn (Google Maps)

That was the latest measure introduced since Dr Felce's death, the council also banning peak-hour deliveries, ameding road markings and traffic signs, and installing light bike lane segregation.

Cyclox hosted a vigil following the incident, which saw unlicensed and uninsured HGV driver Robert Whiting jailed for eight years, Dr Hill saying there needs to be a "total intolerance of any road user death because it is just awful for any road user to lose their life". She also branded The Plain "a deterrent to many people who want to cycle between east Oxford and the city".

Oxford vigil (Cyclox)

> "One month, two dead cyclists": Oxford's cycling city sign defaced after second death

As yesterday morning's incident saw yet another cyclist involved in a collision at the junction, Dr Hill was herself in John Radcliffe Hospital where she was taken in a stable condition after last Wednesday's crash involving herself and a white Volvo coach being driven in the city centre at around 3.35pm.

Commenting on yesterday's incident at The Plain, county councillor Damian Haywood said he is "unaware of the outcome" and "hoped it is not too serious".

"We need a solution urgently. There are several options," he said, suggesting traffic filters or an alternative cycling route, but added the latter idea would "be difficult as it requires significant cooperation with current landowners".

"Traffic filters are the answer with significant restrictions on motorised traffic," he concluded.

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council commented: "Improving safety at The Plain, especially for vulnerable road users such as cyclists, has been a priority for Oxfordshire County Council ever since we made a commitment to Vision Zero – the elimination of deaths and serious injuries from road traffic collisions in Oxfordshire by 2050 – last year.

"The Plain is the busiest roundabout for cyclists in the county, and one of the busiest in the country. That is why in the last 12 months we have made a series of safety improvements, including amendments to road markings and traffic signs, the installation of road studs, bollards and cycle stands, the installation of light cycle lane segregation units, vegetation clearance, put in loading restrictions and, most recently, approved an ANPR camera to enforce a banned left turn from Cowley Road on to Iffley Road.

"We will continue to monitor what difference these measures are making to safety and amend where necessary. As always in these cases, we will wait for any police report into this particular collision to see if any lessons can be learned. Any investigations into the cause of a collision will be a police matter.

"More widely, 18 months ago we established a Vision Zero Cycle Safety Group to explore ways to improve safety for cyclists on our roads. Local cycling campaign groups, including Cyclox, are members and provide their expertise to highlight areas we need to focus on and provide feedback on proposed measures."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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4 comments

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Peowpeowpeowlasers | 3 months ago
1 like

Looks like that roundabout takes the majority of traffic from the east side of Oxford, linking to the A40 a couple of miles east.  Perhaps the council's highways officers should be looking to clarify its purpose and then change it from a roundabout, to a crossroads, with traffic lights.  And separate phases for walking and cycling.

I mean look at it - https://maps.app.goo.gl/YGK3NLMZJupFbHka7 - not a single controlled crossing.  It's basically run for your life.  Clearly the council haven't done their job here.

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chrisonabike replied to Peowpeowpeowlasers | 3 months ago
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Don't know the history here but in general roundabouts are "we get more *motor traffic capacity* for a reasonable level of safety (for motorists)". So they're a sign of the opposite of a good environment for cycling!

Exception - totally grade- separated ones (so cyclists and drivers don't interact).
Also the Dutch designs - but those have maximum motor traffic limits which are probably unacceptable for UK planners. Plus it will take UK drivers a generation or two to get up to speed with them. Or rather to learn to reduce speed and to look for cyclists and be prepared to give way.

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Andrewbanshee | 3 months ago
2 likes

The lack of proper action says a lot. We also need to get away from using the term 'cyclists' too as if it is a different group of people. Most people who don't cycle will picture a cyclist that is very different to reality. One thing to note is that with ever increasing numbers of drivists our roads getting increasingly more risky to ride a bike on. Anyone cycling has to have some bravado nowadays, especially with the knowledge that they have very little support from police forces.

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Muddy Ford | 3 months ago
4 likes

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