Father calls for action after six-year-old son narrowly avoids going under articulated lorry on busy road
08:30 03 July 2014
A parent who says his six-year-old son was “extraordinarily lucky” not to have been killed while cycling to school is calling for urgent action to improve the safety of Ely’s roads.
Toby Jones was cycling along Lynn Road with his sons Reuben, 6, and Leon, 7, to Spring Meadow Infant School on Monday when Reuben lost control of his bike and fell into the road – directly into the path of an articulated lorry.
The driver swerved and slammed on his brakes and Reuben collided with the petrol tank under the cab, causing several nasty cuts and bruises.
But Mr Jones believes that, had it not been for the driver’s quick-thinking and alert reactions, his son would have ended up under the wheels – causing potentially fatal injuries.
He said: “On Monday, we set off along the pavement as usual, my sons ahead of me. I would like to cycle next to them, but it’s just too narrow. I won’t allow them on the road, because it’s far too dangerous.
“Usually we get to our crossing point, then wait, and wait, and wait until there’s enough space for me to be sure my sons can get across safely.
“On Monday, we didn’t get as far as the crossing. Reuben was cycling along the pavement when, we think, he reached up to scratch his head where his helmet was rubbing.
“Perhaps his foot slipped off the pedal, we’re not sure, but in any case he lost control of his bike, wobbled across the pavement and fell into the road.
“At that moment, a 40 tonne lorry was coming up the road towards us. He swerved out of the way, hitting the brakes. My son hit the petrol tank under the cab sustaining a couple of large cuts and plenty of bruises, but fortunately no part of him went under a wheel.
“We owe my son’s life to that driver who reacted marvellously. But why are lorries allowed in Ely during the school rush hour? Why won’t the council put in a 20mph speed limit in Ely? Why can’t we have segregated cycle paths? Why can’t we have a zebra crossing?”
Mr Jones added that plans for thousands of new houses in the north of Ely would only exacerbate the problem and called on officials to cater for people and not just cars.
He added: “I want to thank all the people who came to help. The neighbour who called the ambulance, the Tesco driver who came to check Reuben out, the paramedic who was with us in minutes, the police who rushed to the scene and even the helicopter pilot who’d been called in case.
“We were extraordinarily lucky Reuben was not killed today. Let’s not wait until a child does die before we make our roads safe.”
When quizzed about installing a crossing in Lynn Road earlier this year, a spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “Given that crossing activity here really only concentrates at school opening and closing times, an assessment regarding the need for a school crossing patrol was carried out just before the end of the December term; the assessment concluded that the need for a crossing patrol fell well short of the criteria.
“There is not felt by the county council to be a case for a permanent crossing point at this location. If, however, the City of Ely Council feels that such a measure were a priority for the local community, it may wish to consider identifying funding for such works.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Does Lynn Road need a crossing? Do you feel safe crossing the road in Ely? Write to Ely Standard, Alexander House, Fore Hill, Ely, CB7 4AF or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org