Yet another death of a cyclist

Yet another death of a cyclist

By Alison Hill

On the morning of Tuesday 8th February, a woman in her 40s was killed while cycling on the A4165 near Oxford Parkway Station. She was on her regular daily commute from Kidlington to Oxford city centre, expecting to return home to her family that evening. The pain her family and friends must be suffering is unimaginable and our hearts go out to them. 

Her tragic death is the third within two years: we are also remembering Jenny Wong who died last year on London Road and Samantha Blackborow who died on Horspath Driftway in 2020.

A vigil was held in her memory on 15th February at 8:00am, exactly a week after her death, near the site where she was killed. It was organised by some Kidlington residents, who cycle along the A4165 daily, alongside Cyclox. It was deeply moving that the victim’s husband and sister heard about the event and came along, joined by over 100 people who wanted to show their grief and support for the family and friends. 

The victim’s sister spoke movingly and told us passionately that her sister wouldn’t want anyone who cycles to be deterred by her death. She would have wanted us all to keep cycling, and to campaign even harder for radical change to our roads, and safe cycling infrastructure. It was heart-breaking to hear her speak so bravely amidst all the pain and suffering of the family’s loss. 

The vigil was a time to express our grief at the loss of a life, marking her death with quiet solidarity. We are horrified at the loss of yet another life and now, in her memory, we want to express our anger that the roads we share are so unsafe.  

Many people commute on their bikes along the A4165 between Kidlington and Oxford.

The road is a main road, providing access to the station and the major roads to the north and south. Like the victim, these cycle commuters use the road daily, braving heavy traffic, and putting themselves at risk just by being on a bike.  

No changes were made to the A4165 and the fatal junction when Oxford Parkway was built. It has a slip road and wide sweeping curves designed to keep up the flow of traffic. It is made even more unsafe by the high volume of heavy goods vehicles now entering the Parkway site to access the Kidlington Rail Depot, a virtual quarry used for the construction of HS2. It was the driver of one of these vehicles that hit the cyclist. These drivers exit the Kidlington roundabout into a 40mph stretch of straight road – with little to indicate the presence of cyclists joining the road from Kidlington – and then turn left across a shared bus/bike lane to get into Parkway.  

Not only do cyclists have to cross that junction, they also have to cross the Kidlington and Cutteslowe roundabouts. The two roundabouts and the Oxford Parkway junction are unsafe and intimidating for cyclists and pedestrians. 

People who cycle daily along this road are calling for change to happen quickly in order to make it safer. We intend to put pressure on the County Council to make immediate changes to the road. These include dropping the speed limit to 30mph, improving signage and road markings to alert drivers to expect cyclists in the bus lane and on the roundabouts, and working with the depot company to make drivers aware of cyclists. But this will do little to improve safety until there are high quality, wide, segregated cycling and walking paths on both sides of the road.   

We are asking Oxfordshire County Council for an urgent meeting to address our concerns and ensure that another death is avoided. Road accidents are not accidents, they can be prevented by good road design. 

Our roads need to be safe for everyone.


One Response

  1. […] death of cyclist Jenny Wong at the junction of Headley Way and London Road. It is six months since Ellen Moilanen died at Oxford Parkway and Ling Felce at the Plain. All young women on their bikes, all in […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *