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Cyclist 'saved by his helmet' calls for safety measures at blackspot
A 72-YEAR-old cyclist is “lucky to be alive” after suffering serious multiple injuries in a collision.
Andrew Wotherspoon was using the toucan crossing at the Cassington junction on the A40 – which can be crossed by both cyclists and pedestrians – when the accident happened.
It is thought Mr Wotherspoon’s life was saved by a £5 cycle helmet he bought as part of an Oxford Mail promotional offer a few years ago.
The retired father-of-two had been cycling from Kidlington to his home in Milmoor Crescent, Eynsham, after visiting a friend – a trip he makes every week.
He was left with a broken tibia and fibula, a crushed pelvis, broken ribs, a punctured lung and blood on the brain and has been in hospital undergoing treatment and surgery since the collision at about 2pm on October 2.
The former Oxford Airport engineer is now calling for the “dangerous” junction to be improved and said putting in a roundabout would make it safer for people crossing the road.
Speaking from his hospital bed at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, he said: “All junctions on the A40 are dangerous.
“I was amazed that when they built this particular junction they didn’t build a roundabout – that would be much simpler.”
In five years there have been 10 reported accidents at the Cassington junction, two serious and eight slight, none of which involved pedal cyclists.
Mr Wotherspoon, who remembers nothing of the incident, said the problem is that the traffic lights controlling the traffic are too far away from the crossing.
This means cars may go through a green or amber light but, by the time they reach the crossing, the lights may have changed to red while the pedestrians and cyclists get the green light to cross.
He added: “The crossing is not at the light, which is a bit peculiar. A few years ago I was a long-distance runner and if it was late at night you could never cross the A40 because it was just too busy.
“The first thing I knew about the collision was waking up from a coma the following day and being told what had happened.”
His wife, Ann, 72 and also retired, said it was a very “confusing” crossing.
She added: “He is lucky to be alive. The policeman and the surgeon both told us that his helmet saved his life.
“We think the light for the pedestrian crossing coming is too far away from the actual crossing.”
Anthony Ross, 72, from Witney, was driving the car involved in the collision.
He said there was confusion with the lights at the crossing and he believed they were not working correctly in that both the green and red man were showing. When the Oxford Mail visited the junction it too saw that both of the lights were displaying at the same time.
However, Oxfordshire County Council has said it sent a maintenance worker to the site on October 5 when they were working normally.
Mr Ross added: “I saw the man on a bike but took no notice because he was cycling on the footpath by the road.
“But just as I passed the lights there was a smash to the side of me.”
He said immediately after the collision he went to the crossing, and the traffic lights for pedestrians were green, so he stepped out to cross the road and said a car almost ran over his foot.
He said the crossing lights remained green for around 45 minutes and added: “If you step out into the road you could get killed. Somebody needs to get down there and do something.”
Jonathan Marks, 52, from Eynsham, is a member of cycling group Cyclox and regularly cycles on the path along the A40.
He said: “I don’t personally have a problem with the layout of the junction but if you are meant to have a red light to stop people crossing and the green is showing that is clearly dangerous.”
Thames Valley Police said the investigation into the collision was ongoing. The council refused to comment on the safety of the junction and any improvements that could be made.
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