The inaugural meeting of an action group launched to demand safety improvements on the A34 held a minute’s silence to honour those who had died on the road.
A34 Action Group was launched by East Ilsley resident Alisdair Cunningham after the horrific accident seventeen days ago that claimed the lives of a mother and three children.
The fatal crash prompted repeated calls for improved safety measures along the Chieveley to Chilton section of road, which has now claimed six lives in as many months.
Since the crash, membership of the A34 Action Group has soared to more than 1,000 members and last Wednesday around 50 people attended the inaugural meeting at West Ilsley village hall, where a range of issues connected to the road were discussed.
Mr Cunningham said at the meeting: “Having the support of the local community is what will make this group work.
“Being here, showing your support, wanting to be part of it, we recognise it is an issue.
“We are all here because we feel something needs to be done.”
He added: “I am just a normal individual. I use the road every day and it makes me feel uncomfortable.
“Last week’s accident hit home with a lot of people. There are a lot of people that want to do something, so let’s have one voice.”
A one-minute silence was then held in respect of those who have died on the road before a range of issues were put forward by local residents.
Common topics raised included the proposed lowering of the speed limit from 70mph to 50mph, the erection of signage to warn motorists of the road’s safety record and improving visibility at the notorious Gore Hill section.
Driver behaviour was also scrutinised, with many drivers sharing their stories of poor driving standards leading to accidents.
Retired Thames Valley Police traffic management officer John Crofton also attended the meeting.
He talked to the audience of his experience policing the busy road and said that tailgating was a serious problem on the roads, and said that statistically, HGVs had far fewer accidents than both cars and motorcycles.
He added: “Sadly, the A34 is up to and probably past capacity at certain times. That’s why it’s a problem.
“I heard and understand that you think a speed limit is a really good idea, but you are assuming that people are going to do 50mph.
“The whole point about attitude is a really important one.”
When asked for a show of hands for how many people had been involved in some way in an accident on the A34, a fifth of those assembled admitted they had.
Meg Williamson, who launched a petition after her boyfriend died in an accident near East Ilsley in June, was also present.
She told the meeting she had never expected the petition, which now has more than 2,000 signatures, to have grown so much and said: “We can hopefully prevent any more injuries or loss of life going forward.”
Her petition can be accessed by visiting: www.change.org/p/ oxford-city-council-save-lives-a34-50mph-with-speed-cameras
The action group’s Facebook page can be accessed at: https://www.facebook.com/ groups/224888151242762/