A361 between Banbury and Chipping Norton among top ten dangerous A roads.

The A361 between Banbury and Chipping Norton runs through the village of South Newington and is listed as one of the country's most dangerous rural A roads.
The A361 between Banbury and Chipping Norton runs through the village of South Newington and is listed as one of the country's most dangerous rural A roads.
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The A361 between Chipping Norton and Banbury is named this week as one of the top ten most persistently dangerous rural A-roads in the country.

The A361 between Chipping Norton and Banbury is named this week as one of the top ten most persistently dangerous rural A-roads in the country.

Details of the soaring number of fatal and serious (FS) accidents on the 21km stretch of road between Chipping Norton and Banbury are listed in the Road Safety Foundation’s new report.

It shows a 50 per cent increase in FS collisions between 2008-10 and 2011-2013.

Of the latest figures for 2011-13, 17 per cent of the crashes involved motorcycles, 46 per cent involved pedestrians or cyclists, 21 per cent were cars running off the road and eight per cent were head-on collisions.

Geoff Mollard, chairman of Bloxham Parish Council said: “There are constantly serious accidents at the Wykham Lane junction with the A361. We’ve raised it so many times with Oxfordshire County Council only to be told there isn’t a problem.

“There have been accidents at the mini roundabout at the Barford Road junction and collisions at the shops and near Warriner School.

“We are very upset that Oxfordshire County Council is not going to carry out a planned survey into HGVs and traffic on the A361 – because they don’t have the money to do any work the survey may find necessary.

“What makes this worse is that the parish councils of Bloxham, Milcombe and South Newington had been prepared to fund an independent survey which would have been done by now but wasn’t because the county promised to do one, which was abandoned.”

Mr Mollard described constant traffic streams through Bloxham’s main street as ‘horrendous’.

“It is beyond a joke. It’s gridlock all day – it has to be seen to be believed. Something has to be done to divert heavy traffic away,” he said.

The Road Safety Foundation report listed the A361 as the eighth most dangerous single-carriageway A-road in the country.

Its analysis shows 16 fatal or serious injury accidents between 2008-2010, rising to 24 fatal or serious injury accidents between 2011-13.

Hot spots for motorists, as well as the notorious Wykham Lane junction include the narrow, winding village of South Newington where villagers have created their own website dedicated to ending the plague of HGV lorries thundering through their community.

Greg Atkins is webmaster of SNARL361.com, the village’s road action internet site.

“We did our own survey a couple of months ago, just after the traffic lights were taken down after the bridge repair and it showed the number of HGVs going through the village is still high,” he said.

“We have a lot of speeding traffic going through the village that only brakes at the last minute before the corners.

“It is a danger to people wanting to cross the road from the pub to the village centre.”

Mr Atkins said a survey carried out two years ago received some 40 comments which included a district council conservation officer who was actually ‘clipped’ by a passing lorry, complaints of the risks of pulling out onto the A361 from the village centre and the impossibility of taking pushchairs along the road.

“Dog walkers and pedestrians take their life in their hands on that road because of how narrow it is,” he said.

The RSF report said single carriageways in the South East are the worst performing in the country and are nearly twice as risky as those in the West Midlands.

A spokeswoman from Oxfordshire County Council said: “We closely monitor safety on all the county’s road network, although our ability to carry out safety improvements is inevitably constrained by the finite budget available for highway schemes.

“The length of the A361 between Banbury and Chipping Norton includes a number of identified accident problem sites (including bends and junctions), many of which have benefited from lower cost safety measures.

However, we recognise that there is still much to be done to reduce the risk of accidents on this part of the A361.

“Thankfully in the past 18 months the number of reported accidents resulting in death or serious injury has reduced significantly from a peak of seven seen in 2013; with only four such accidents in 2014, and provisional data for the first seven months of 2015 shows no serious or fatal injuries being recorded here.”