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  1. ITV Report

Action over casualty rate at Reading's 'death trap' roundabout

Report by Emma Wilkinson

  • Interviewees: Adam Adrian, John Lee (Reading Cycle Campaign) and Cllr Tony Page (Reading Borough Council)

Cycling campaigners say plans for safety improvements on a notorious Reading roundabout are a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.

The council agrees that the Vastern Road roundabout, near Reading Station, has an increasing casualty problem. In the last five years, there have been nearly 40 crashes on the roundabout and between 2015 and 2017, 18 of those involved cyclists.

Adam Adrian was hit by a car at the junction in September last year. He suffered a broken wrist and spine, as well as ligament damage to his knee. The actor and musician was unable to work for six weeks and still finds it difficult to stand or sit for long periods.

He thinks the way the roundabout is designed is too complicated.

"There are five entrances and exits and some of those have one lane, some have two and some have three. It's quite chaotic and drivers are so focused on that, that cyclists can get lost in it all," he said.

John Lee from the Reading Cycle Campaign says speed is also a factor. He added that the campaign warned the council years ago about the potential dangers the roundabout posed.

John Lee used to be a highways and traffic engineer

When we saw the plans for the roundabout about five years ago, we said it was going against all good guidance for making a roundabout safe for cyclists. So we weren't surprised when we started seeing accidents.

We looked at the accident statistics about two years ago and saw it was the worst in Reading at that time. Since then we've been chasing the council to do something. We gave them a list of things that we thought needed doing and we're only now getting to the point where they're starting to take note of those.

– John Lee

The council says it takes time to build up sufficient information in order to bring forward plans that will have an enduring benefit.

Credit: ITV Meridian

Cllr Tony Page said: "We are looking at putting in better advanced signage on approach to the roundabout and putting spiral markings on the roundabout itself to make it clearer which lanes drivers need to be in."

John welcomes the plans, but would also like to see more visible continental-style 'dragon's teeth' markings at the stop-line, and more joined-up cycle routes that would allow cyclists to more easily avoid the roundabout.

The council says it too would like to go further but national regulations prevent it from doing more in terms of continental-style markings on the highway. It said it will be asking the Department for Transport for exemptions to be able to trial additional road markings to improve safety.