‘Take private cars off roads to save cyclists’

Group calls for action after rider killed saying bikes must be given space

Thousands of people have signed a  petition to stop private cars and vans using Oxford’s roads after the death of a cyclist last week.

Claudia Comberti, 31, was killed after she was in collision with a bus on Botley Road on Tuesday afternoon.

The petition entitled ‘end cyclists deaths in Oxford’ has so far been signed by almost 2,400 supporters.

Oxford-based cycling group Broken Spoke is calling for more to be done to prioritise cyclists and pedestrians on the roads.

Countless tributes have been paid to the Oxford University PhD student and fellow cyclists have taken to the streets on their bikes to celebrate her life and show their support and solidarity.

A representative from Broken Spoke said: “Everyday those who cycle in Oxford are confronting the structural violence that the roads create.

“The violence of design and planning that puts our soft and fragile bodies in direct conflict with hard heavy motorised vehicles travelling at speed.

“The roads are dominated by cars while cyclists are marginalised, abused and even killed. But when the everyday violence of this really hits you, like it hit us when we lost Claud, it is a wake up call. Cyclists need space, they need to share a wide lane with other bikes not buses. No matter how strong a cyclist you are (and Claudia was very strong), you don’t stand a chance against a bus. Buses are not the problem; they are an important alternative to private vehicle use, but they too need their own lane.

“Private motor vehicles which pollute our air, clog our streets, and cause many thousands of injuries and deaths every year need to be de-prioritised. Private cars and vans do not belong on our city’s roads.”

He cited the main roads into the centre – Abingdon Road, Cowley Road, Banbury Road, Woodstock Road, London Road and Botley Road – as particularly failing to protect cyclists and pedestrians.

Oxford City council leader Bob Price said: “This tragic death underlined the urgent need for a radical change in the County Council’s approach to cycling. Our roads are generally narrow and safe cycling requires a clear separation of motor vehicles from bikes, in dedicated cycle lanes.”

An Oxfordshire county council representative said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Claudia Comberti at this sad time.

“More cycling, and safer cycling is very much part of the county council’s transport vision and we have been working actively with cycle groups to develop the kind of proposals that they would like to see delivered.

“Many of the changes that can relatively easily be made to roads and paths have been done – the more ambitious changes take longer to plan and often require substantial outside funding. This is why it is it is vital that councils work positively with cyclist groups and why we will continue to do this.”

To sign the petition, visit https://tinyurl.com/mjqof9c

  • An inquest into Claudia Comberti’s death opened yesterday (Wednesday).

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