Most collisions with cyclists are avoidable accidents

Sunday, 27th October 2013

Author: .

Nazan Fennell
Nazan Fennell

Nazan Fennell, running the ‘Live in Hope’ campaign plans to hold a memorial ride in Birmingham as a part of the ‘World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’ on 17 November.

Along with the Kings Heath Residents forum and members of Push Bikes, she has been raising awareness about the need for more safety for cyclists since her daughter Hope Fennel (13) died in a fatal collision in November 2011 on the Kings Heath High Street.

Talking about the dangers faced by cyclists, she said, “Five to six thousand children use the high street every day for about the 10-15 schools nearby. But unfortunately we also have one of the heaviest volumes of traffic in the UK, I believe on a small high street like this one.”

“When I lost my little girl, Hope, she was at the pedestrian crossing, pushing her bike. A lorry driver, who did not see her crossing, hit her and was unaware of it. This was not a one off accident, in the last five years; there have been three fatal accidents in this area,” she added.

In her campaign, Nazan lays emphasis on raising awareness about ‘blind spots’ of vehicles. She explained, “In case of such big vehicles, there is a huge blind spot, which means the driver cannot see a pedestrian or a cyclist or other vehicles next to them. Most of these vehicles also don’t have any sensors etc. With the rush hour traffic, of school children, shoppers, pedestrians and other road users, all this contribute to a very dysfunctional traffic management system. It is a disaster waiting to happen, and unfortunately it happened to Hope, and some others before and after her.”

Earlier in September, she and others supporting her campaign, organised a peaceful bike ride protest, around the street where Hope’s accident took place.

She said, “As we approached the spot of the collision, a shopkeeper came to me and said that he was in his shop that day. He saw Hope during those last moments, and said that she looked very peaceful. I had never heard that earlier, I just broke down. Without realising, I just sat down on the road and others soon joined me. It all was very spontaneous and led to the traffic being held up for quite some time on Alcester road.”

“Since November 2011, we have been holding peaceful protests, taking permissions from the police etc, but nothing seems to have changed. With spontaneous protests, we’re hoping the local authorities will take this problem more seriously,” she added.

She further explained that there are statistics that show the number of traffic accidents increase about the time of the year when the clocks, change, it starts getting darker earlier, and people are a little disoriented

¬ Pupul Chatterjee