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Letter: Boxgrove Collision Shows Need for Safer Active Travel Infrastructure

Published on: 22 May, 2024
Updated on: 22 May, 2024

Boxgrove Roundabout (formerly known locally as the AA roundabout) from the Spectrum direction. Image Google Street View

Calum Shaw

member of GBUG (Guildford Bike User Group)

In the quiet of a Guildford evening, the serenity was shattered on Thursday, March 14, by a distressing collision between a car and a cyclist at the notorious Boxgrove roundabout. The incident, which occurred after dark at 8.30 pm, involved a young man named Femi, who was struck by a car as he cycled towards Boxgrove on the roundabout.

The car failed to stop as it joined the roundabout coming from the A25 near Guildford Spectrum. Fortunately, a passing ambulance was on the scene within minutes, rushing Femi to the Royal Surrey County Hospital for treatment.

While Femi thankfully only sustained minor injuries, the incident left him shaken and served as a stark reminder of the urgent need for improved active travel infrastructure.

The circumstances surrounding the collision shed light on the inherent dangers faced by pedestrians and cyclists navigating our roadways, particularly after nightfall.

Despite efforts to promote walking and cycling as healthier and more sustainable modes of transportation, incidents like this underscore the significant risks posed by inadequate infrastructure.

According to reports, the driver of the car involved in the collision failed to see Femi cycling across the junction—a sobering reminder of the challenges and hazards faced by vulnerable road users. As Femi recovers from his ordeal, the incident has reignited calls for urgent action to enhance pedestrian and cyclist safety at junctions and roundabouts across the country.

One glimmer of hope is the planned reconstruction of the Boxgrove junction as a pedestrian and cycling friendly roundabout—a design aimed at prioritising the safety of vulnerable road users. This initiative represents a step in the right direction towards creating a more inclusive and accessible transportation network that accommodates the needs of all road users.

However, the incident serves as a sobering reminder that such improvements cannot come soon enough. The delay in implementing safer infrastructure along the length of London Road puts lives at risk and undermines efforts to promote active travel as a viable alternative to car dependency.

In light of this, there is an urgent need for policymakers and local authorities to expedite the delayed and curtailed development and implementation of safer active travel infrastructure. This includes the construction of dedicated cycling lanes, improved lighting, clearer signage, and enhanced visibility measures to reduce the likelihood of accidents and collisions.

Community engagement and collaboration are essential in shaping infrastructure solutions that meet the diverse needs of residents and road users. However, despite significant involvement of stakeholders in the planning and design process of the Burpham to Guildford Active Travel scheme, the council has rowed back on its commitments and cancelled a significant proportion of the scheme.

As we reflect on the events of that ill-fated evening at the Boxgrove roundabout, let us seize this opportunity to redouble our efforts in creating a transportation network that prioritises safety, accessibility, and sustainability for all. Only through concerted action and investment in safer infrastructure can we prevent incidents like this from occurring in the future and foster a culture of active travel that benefits us all.

Please tell your local councillors that you want to see safer streets for everyone to enjoy.


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Responses to Letter: Boxgrove Collision Shows Need for Safer Active Travel Infrastructure

  1. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    May 23, 2024 at 9:38 am

    There has been a lot of discussions on ‘Guildford Town Past & Present’ in Facebook on this topic.

    I have commented on the safety of the design that SCC is now proceeding with. I believe that the crossing on Boxgrove Road is too close to the roundabout perimeter and the retention of the slip road from the A25 coming up from the Spectrum are both cause for concern.

    I hope SCC would consider the implications and reassess the issues.

  2. Alan Judge Reply

    May 23, 2024 at 10:32 am

    So, it was quiet and was after dark.

    What was Femi wearing and did he have lights?

    • Mike Smith Reply

      May 23, 2024 at 7:11 pm

      What Femi was wearing is neither here nor there in terms of who was responsible for the collision, but yes, lights are mandatory on a bicycle at night.

  3. Martin Elliott Reply

    May 23, 2024 at 1:36 pm

    Alan Judge is right.

    You can’t chose causes of a collision and their importance just because they fit your views.

    A suitable and sufficient accident investigation is required to fully identify the factors involved, the immediate and then root causes.

    People will claim its always speed, but does speed cause the accidents or contribute to the lack of drivers attention, and the seriousness of the consequences.

    Also do not confuse the systemic issues such as roundabout geometry with driver/rider actions to always look for someone to blame.

    And since we touched upon the “Dutch Style” roundabout proposed by SCC, what evidence is there that such a scheme will work technically or with the UK culture? It’s difficult to believe that one such roundabout in UK provides solid experience to base an important decision upon rather than an intuitive decision.

  4. Bethan Moore Reply

    May 23, 2024 at 3:41 pm

    What is happening with the work promised for the active travel scheme? Does anyone know? They were at least supposed to improve this incredibly dangerous roundabout!

  5. Calum Shaw Reply

    May 23, 2024 at 7:53 pm

    Femi had cycle lights and a helmet light switched on.

  6. Malcolm Stanier Reply

    May 23, 2024 at 9:09 pm

    This is just an alarmist letter in support of costly schemes to get drivers to convert to cycling which they are never going to do in the numbers being dreamed of. Using emotive words such as “serenity was shattered” and “notorious” emphasises this as a campaigning letter. Having lived in Burpham for many years I have never been aware of a constant stream of accidents involving cyclists or for that matter pedestrians along London Road or at Boxgrove roundabout.

    The letter states that the incident “occurred after dark at 8.30 pm” but recently sunset has been after 8.30 pm. Did the bicycle involved have lights, was the cyclist wearing light clothing so that he could be easily seen and what was the manner of his cycling?

    Editor’s comment: Calum Shaw has stated in a subsequent comment to his that the bike had lights as did the rider’s helmet.

  7. Wayne Smith Reply

    May 27, 2024 at 2:15 pm

    The talk is always about the London Road cycle scheme and never a mention about Boxgrove Road where the pavements from the roundabout are barely wide enough for two pedestrians to pass each other never mind adding into the mix the cylists on the pavement who don’t bother to stop or dismount when approaching pedestrians!

    The section from the roundabout is a far more dangerous road than London Road.

    • B Dalli Reply

      May 28, 2024 at 1:46 pm

      I agree this section of Boxgrove Road is very exposed for pedestrians and cyclists. The latter seem to be composed mainly of school age children. I cycle Boxgrove to the roundabout everyday and find most drivers are considerate, however people do pass at speed for little gain, increasing the risk for others.

  8. J Holt Reply

    May 27, 2024 at 6:01 pm

    Was this collision investigated by the police and if so, what was the outcome?

    • Calum Shaw Reply

      May 28, 2024 at 11:56 am

      Yes, the police were involved, but we don’t have detail of the outcome.

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