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Grieving mum renews calls for ‘think bike’ road signs
A GRANDMOTHER who lost her daughter in a cycling accident 13 years ago has renewed calls for ‘Think Bike’ signs.
Doreen Barker’s daughter Rachel, 30, died in May 2000 as she cycled down Oxford’s Botley Road at the junction of Roger Dudman Way.
The call follows the revelation in the Oxford Mail last month that the number of accidents involving cyclists in Oxford has reached a five-year high and Botley Road is in the top 10 blackspots.
Mrs Barker, from Botley, said: “We don’t want it to happen to anybody else.
“There are all sorts of places in Oxford where it is really dangerous for cyclists.
“I cycled past that spot for seven or eight years. My heart goes cold every time.”
An inquest into Rachel’s death recorded a verdict of accidental death. The lorry driver, Steven Bowler, of Marsh Baldon, said at the inquest in 2001 that he had checked his mirrors but had seen nothing in the way.
At the inquest, Nicholas Gardiner, who was the Oxfordshire coroner in 2001, warned all motorists about the dangers of blind spots.
Mrs Barker added: “A few of these signs strategically placed when the cycle lanes end will alert drivers that cyclists are among them.”
The 74-year-old grandmother-of-two added: “We don’t drive, we have no car, our three children learned to cycle properly from an early age and it was our means of transport when they were young and lived at home.
“Rachel was a proficient cyclist and always wore a helmet.
“But she was killed in awful circumstances and no-one yet has improved the situation for other people.”
The Oxford Mail revealed last month that Botley Road was the fifth highest blackspot with 41 accidents.
But as it is used by an average 1,548 cyclists every day, it proportionally is the riskiest.
Last year it was branded one of the most dangerous roads for cyclists in the UK by the charity Sustrans.
Mum-of-two Lisa Harker, from Botley, lost her unborn child after being hit by an 18-tonne lorry at the junction of Botley Road and Roger Dudman Way in 2004.
County council spokesman Owen Morton said: “The council has looked into a number of options to improve safety for cyclists at the Cripley Road and Roger Dudman Way junctions – including signage – since 2000.
“However, we did not feel there was a clear option that would bring about a reduction in accidents by reducing the sort of conflict that can occur between cyclists and large vehicles at junctions.
“While there are no current plans to introduce safety features, we are always open to suggestions. “The council’s proposals to improve traffic flow through Frideswide Square should lead to less queuing by eastbound traffic, reducing the risks for cyclists.”
Since 2008 there have been 786 accidents where cyclists have been injured in the city.
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