Bike injury boy appeals for speed cut on Easthampstead RoadBy Jon Nurse
October 25, 2012
A schoolboy who was knocked off his bike on Christmas Eve in Easthampstead Road has joined calls to lower the speed limit before someone is killed.
Sam Southan, 13, was left badly bruised on his face, ribs and legs after being thrown into the air and landing head first in some gravel by the Ludgrove School entrance.
The Year Nine pupil at St Crispin’s School now avoids cycling along the road and is urging council bosses to slash the speed limit.
He said: “I was riding with two friends along Easthampstead Road heading towards Ludgrove school to pick some holly for a centrepiece.
“It was quite slippy and I panicked and went out into the road where I immediately got hit by a car.
“I remember seeing the car in flight and time seemed to go really slowly.
“I still have nightmares and wake up in the night thinking of it.
“It wasn’t the driver’s fault – it was me being stupid – but I do think if he had been going slower it wouldn’t have happened.”
Sam, of Starmead Drive, contacted The Wokingham Times after reading about Sunil Dharmabandhu, who is campaigning for the speed limit to be halved from 60mph to 30mph after being knocked off his bike in the road last month.
He hopes reliving the traumatic accident will encourage others to join the campaign.
“We had an assembly after the Paralympics when the head of year said if something bad happens you can make something good come out of it,” Sam added.
“I thought something could come out of this accident if it raises awareness and helps make a change, it could save someone’s life.
“I did some research and there’s a 40 per cent difference in the chance of life when a person is hit at 40mph or 30mph.
“That might add an extra 30 seconds to someone’s journey, but it could save a life.
“I’d like it known that Mr Dharmabandhu has public backing and that he is not fighting a losing battle.”
Sam also thinks a zebra crossing or traffic lights are needed near the White Horse pub.
Both cyclists were knocked down in the road’s 40mph section and Sam believes the speed limit should also be lowered.
Mr Dharmabandhu warned that drivers are reckless in the 60mph stretch between the road’s junctions with Heathlands Road and Old Wokingham Road and is planning a petition for the speed limit to be cut. Sam added: “It might seem quite dramatic but it would make a big difference.”
Matthew Gould, Wokingham Borough Council team leader for traffic, transport and road safety, said: “Unfortunately, it is a reality that the council has limited funds with which to improve road safety on the public highway and as such funds need to be prioritised into areas which will achieve the biggest impact.
“Because of the good safety record in this road, it is not proposed to implement any further engineering measures at this time.”