Cyclist dies after trying to ride along flooded Oxford road

Fatal incident took place close to where teenage boy drowned while riding along flooded towpath in 2007

by Simon_MacMichael   January 8, 2014  

Flooding by Godstow Road (copyright Simon MacMichael)

A cyclist has died after he reportedly attempted to ride through floodwater on the outskirts of Oxford - near the same stretch of the River Thames where a teenager drowned in 2007 when he fell into the river as he rode along a flooded towpath.

BBC News Oxford reports that the man, aged in his 70s, died at the city’s John Radcliffe Hospital today after having earlier run into difficulties.

It adds that Thomas Valley Police have confirmed that his next-of-kin have been informed, although he has not yet been formally identified.

The exact cause of death - whether by drowning, an injury after a fall, or something else - has not yet been disclosed.

The cyclist had been riding along Godstow Road, which runs from Wolvercote in north east Oxford to the rural village of Wytham on the other side of the A34 Western Bypass.

The road crosses the River Thames and several streams on its way, and in recent days has been partly closed as a result of flooding where it crosses beneath the bypass.  

It is the second fatality in the Oxford area as a result of the current flooding, with high water levels on the Thames and its tributaries in the area.

Earlier this week, a 47-year-old man drowned as he tried to ride his mobility scooter along a flooded pathway at Osney Lock on the River Thames in the west of the city.

Godstow Road runs along the northern edge of Port Meadow, which borders the Thames, and where in 2007 teenager Ben Halsey-Jones drowned after he fell into the river while riding his bike along a flooded towpath.

Flooding can make it impossible for cyclists to see road hazards such as potholes, and official advice from the Environment Agency is to “avoid walking or driving through flood water.”

While that doesn't specifically mention cycling, the implied message to bike riders is the same.

The agency adds: “Be aware that flooding can cause manhole covers to come off,” which would present a particular danger to cyclists.

9 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Riding through floods can also fill the inside of your wheel rims with water.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1301 posts]
8th January 2014 - 18:10

like this
Like (9)

cat1commuter wrote:
Riding through floods can also fill the inside of your wheel rims with water.

Though not quite as serious as killing you. Then when you are out of the flood, the water is pushed out again. Not good for the wheels but happens with any deep puddle

posted by Simmo72 [210 posts]
8th January 2014 - 18:19

like this
Like (9)

used to do this myself. Remember running through floods in Oxford by the river and suddenly finding myself in up to the chest.

posted by birzzles [8 posts]
8th January 2014 - 18:35

like this
Like (8)

R.I.P.

posted by northstar [936 posts]
9th January 2014 - 10:33

like this
Like (7)

Simmo72 wrote:
cat1commuter wrote:
Riding through floods can also fill the inside of your wheel rims with water.

Though not quite as serious as killing you. Then when you are out of the flood, the water is pushed out again. Not good for the wheels but happens with any deep puddle

It doesn't all come out. Found it in my rims months later. When spinning front wheel on work stand I heard "splosh, splosh, splosh". Had to remove rim tape to get it out.

Doesn't happen in brief immersion in deep puddles, because there isn't enough time or pressure to force water past the heads of the spokes. Centrifugal force when riding keeps water in the rim void against the outside of the rim.

(Yes, not as serious as death.)

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1301 posts]
9th January 2014 - 13:08

like this
Like (7)

Even if you are certain of a road surface underneath, the water can often hide debris which may get caught in the spokes.

posted by Philip Whiteman [4 posts]
9th January 2014 - 16:33

like this
Like (5)

Darwin Award?

Airzound

posted by Airzound [69 posts]
12th January 2014 - 12:14

like this
Like (0)

Airzound wrote:
Darwin Award?

Have some respect. He probably lived longer than you will, so will you be looking for one?

posted by Colin Peyresourde [977 posts]
12th January 2014 - 12:49

like this
Like (3)

What a lovely way to talk about someone who isn't here, i suspect you will find something equally in poor taste in response.

posted by northstar [936 posts]
12th January 2014 - 12:50

like this
Like (3)