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Driving safety group labels traffic-calming scheme ‘dangerous’

A ��60,000 traffic-calming scheme being installed in west Oxfordshire is an “accident waiting to happen”, according to a driving safety spokesman. Driver, motorcyclist and cyclist Mark McArthur-Christie said triangular concrete blocks, which will create a one-way system at Bampton’s four main entrances, posed a risk to all road users. So far, the 20 centimetre-high blocks known as village gateways have only been fitted on Station Lane, going out of Bampton towards Witney, but Mr McArthur-Christie, who is a driver, motorcyclist and cyclist, said lives were already being put at risk.Oxfordshire County Council said it had consulted expert engineers before commissioning the ��60,000 work on behalf of Bampton Parish Council and it was confident the scheme would work as planned. But Mr McArthur-Christie, who lives in Bampton and is safety spokesman for the Institute of Advanced Drivers and represents the Association of British Drivers, said: “From the Witney and Brize Norton road, there is a sharp corner entering Bampton. “These blocks are causing traffic to queue and all it needs is for four to five cars to be queuing back and for a driver to come around the corner, where it’s a 40mph zone, and smash straight into the back of them. “I was cycling out of Bampton the other day and was almost knocked off my bike by a driver by these blocks, because there’s not enough room any more for both a car and cycle. It’s an accident waiting to happen.” Mr McArthur-Christie, 38, who cycles daily to West End, Witney, where he runs a communications company, agreed action needed to be taken to prevent speeding motorists, but said: “This is just Neanderthal. It is just a traffic-calming disaster from the dark ages.” He suggested new methods of traffic calming, used elsewhere in Europe, to “merge” pavements and roads to bring all road users together, so drivers had no choice but to slow down. “There are so many modern alternatives, the lack of thought that has gone into this is really disappointing,” he added. Parish council chairman David Hawkins said he was aware there were concerns about the new scheme, but he was sure it would have a positive effect once finished. He said: “The problem is that we thought this would be finished much sooner, during the winter. Because it’s half finished people have not had a chance to see it working properly and have jumped to the wrong conclusions. “We have entrusted the county council to use its expertise to come up with the best possible scheme. I’m sure after a fortnight or couple of months people will have got used to it and it will help to slow the speeds.” Mike Collins, the county council’s principal engineer, said he was aware of potential problems approaching the village and extra signs were being put up warning motorists of possible queues ahead. He said: “We decided to use this method on the advice of our engineering consultants, Jacobs Babtie, who have considerable experience in the type of scheme most suited to this type of road. Local people and other interested parties, including the local cyclists’ touring club, were consulted and no major concerns were raised.”

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