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Calls to ban lorries from Wiltshire village where seven-year-old was killed while riding her bike

Roads around Collingbourne Ducis described as being like the “wild west” due to volume of HGV traffic

Residents of a village in Wiltshire are calling for articulated lorries to be banned from travelling through it following the death of a seven-year-old girl who was killed when riding her bike last year, with one local describing the road there as being like the “wild west.”

A coroner’s inquest into the death of Eloise Jackson heard that the fatal crash on 21 July last year happened just yards from the house in Church Street where she lived with her parents and her older sister Anaiis, aged 11, reports the Guardian.

In a statement read out to the inquest, Eloise’s mother, Laura Jackson, told the inquest that she and her daughter, who had only recently learned to ride her bike, were on their way back home from a trip to a nearby recreation ground.

Despite having warned Eloise not to ride ahead of her, the youngster cycled off downhill, her mother chasing after her.

“I was yelling and screaming,” Mrs Jackson said. “I went to the end of the road and came face to face with a lady who said ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry’.

“All the traffic stopped and I started screaming for someone to call an ambulance.”

Eloise was taken to hospital in Salisbury, but died there that evening as a result of the injuries she sustained in the crash with the lorry, which a police collision investigator said was being driven at no more than 12mph.

The inquest was told that the lorry driver, Rodney Motonga, was not held at fault for Eloise’s death. In a statement, he said: “I to this day do not know how the collision happened.”

The village, on Salisbury Plain, lies on the route of the A338, which links Marlborough and, beyond that, Swindon, with Salisbury.

There was a previous fatality there in November 2020 following a crash involving two motor vehicles, and earlier this year an articulated lorry came off the road close to the spot where Eloise was killed.

A campaign group called Collingbournes Road Safety Working Group has been set up to call for a reduction in the speed limit and number of lorries travelling through  Collingbourne Ducis and Collingbourne Kingston, and has the backing of Eloise’s family, as well as Danny Kruger, the Conservative MP for Devizes.

Eloise’s family was represented at the inquest by family friend, Philip Palmer, who described growing levels of lorry traffic as being “totally inappropriate” for the roads in and around the village.

He said: “The largest vehicle anticipated when these roads were made was a big horse and cart, not these six-axle HGVs.

“I spent 28 years with the Met police in London,” he added.

“If we had a stretch of road like this, somebody would have been taking notice of that. But down here, it’s like the wild west.”

Area coroner Ian Singleton concluded that Eloise died as the result of a road traffic collision.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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13 comments

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PRSboy | 1 year ago
6 likes

How horrific, I can't imagine what that family have gone through.  I recall my own daughter getting out of control and falling from her bicycle off the pavement of our village into the path of a car, whose driver thankfully was not speeding and easily able to take avoiding action.  My blood runs cold to this day 17 yrs later, I can still picture it.

Onto the topic in hand, I have noticed on little lanes around where we live an increasing number of HGVs.  Such small roads are inappropriate for them and they should find better routes, particularly as some are weight restricted.

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andystow replied to PRSboy | 1 year ago
5 likes
PRSboy wrote:

How horrific, I can't imagine what that family have gone through.  I recall my own daughter getting out of control and falling from her bicycle off the pavement of our village into the path of a car, whose driver thankfully was not speeding and easily able to take avoiding action.  My blood runs cold to this day 17 yrs later, I can still picture it.

Onto the topic in hand, I have noticed on little lanes around where we live an increasing number of HGVs.  Such small roads are inappropriate for them and they should find better routes, particularly as some are weight restricted.

My son went barreling downhill on the pavement once at age ten or so with me behind him admonishing him to slow down. Just as he was rolling past a driveway, a driver in a car started to back out and he went behind it, missing it by maybe a second. The driver stopped, but was nearly all the way across the pavement.

The driver of the car was the minister at our church. That would have been awkward.

And yes, I had flashbacks of that moment for years.

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Sriracha | 1 year ago
1 like

This is tragic, and its impossible to contemplate the pain. However I'm not sure the outcome would have been any different had HGVs in fact been banned already from that road. I can only imaging that a different vehicle would have been involved in place of the HGV, and quite possibly travelling faster if a ban reduced congestion.

Clearly if there is something that can be done to prevent such things happening again they should be pursued. I worry that pursuing the HGV line might simply be a sink for such efforts.

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Car Delenda Est replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
5 likes

What is a lorry but an inefficient pile of blindspots?
I suspect that it would still be safer to replace them with several smaller vehicles.

Of course the safest and greenest thing would be to replace them with freight rail as much as possible.

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Off the back replied to Car Delenda Est | 1 year ago
4 likes

Bin Lorries? Dumper Trucks? Recovery Vehicles? Agricultural vehicles? Fire Engines? Food delivery wagons? Not sure you can split these down or move to rolling stock. Road transport is still the most efficient means of mass haulage. Look how much of a mess the rail network is on beofre you start pushing more cargo on the line aswell. 

There should be much bigger restrictions on their movement. No entry into towns or villages in peak commuting times or when children are likely to be going to and from school. No movenent on major road networks on weekends (works in Germany where HGV must be off the roads from 10pm Friday until 10pm Sunday)  

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Car Delenda Est replied to Off the back | 1 year ago
3 likes

I never said that every large road vehicle should be banned and replaced with a train..

By what metric is road haulage the most efficient? Rubber on road has more resistance than steel on steel, you can't cheat physics.
Massive improvements to the rail network, after generations of neglect, are necessary before road haulage can be replaced with rail.

I agree with everything in your last paragraph.

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Sriracha replied to Car Delenda Est | 1 year ago
1 like

Sure, whatever, but that is not the point at issue, which is; would it have prevented this tragic outcome had HGVs been banned?

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Car Delenda Est replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
2 likes

Actually that's exactly what I'm getting at. If HGVs had been banned and replaced by other means this may not have happened as, even though there may be a greater number of vehicles on the road (or not if it shifts to rail), the vehicles left on the road would be far less dangerous.

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Eton Rifle replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
4 likes

Large vehicles like HGVs are disproportionately more likely to kill cyclists, despite being driven by "professional" drivers. They should be kept away from vulnerable road users in urban and suburban environments.

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Sriracha replied to Eton Rifle | 1 year ago
2 likes

That's a generalisation, and a glib one at that. I was thinking about the particulars of this case. The professionalism of the driver was not an issue, so I'm not sure what the quote marks imply. Unless the pavement was inadequate or the vehicle mounted the pavement then talk of separation from vulnerable road users is of little relevance. Even the fact that it was an HGV rather than any other sort of vehicle is not particularly in the frame, other than the sharper emotional response it might provoke.

I'm in no way trying to dismiss the tragedy of the events, quite the opposite, the more reason not to be taken hostage by knee jerk responses which serve only to muddy the water.

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Secret_squirrel replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
2 likes
Sriracha wrote:

I'm in no way trying to dismiss the tragedy of the events, quite the opposite, the more reason no to be taken hostage by knee jerk responses which serve only to muddy the water.

Well said. Given the news reports and the experience of kids on runaway bikes listed above (I have a similar story), this has all the hallmarks of a tragic accident. 

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JMcL_Ireland replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
2 likes
Sriracha wrote:

That's a generalisation, and a glib one at that. I was thinking about the particulars of this case. The professionalism of the driver was not an issue, so I'm not sure what the quote marks imply. Unless the pavement was inadequate or the vehicle mounted the pavement then talk of separation from vulnerable road users is of little relevance. Even the fact that it was an HGV rather than any other sort of vehicle is not particularly in the frame, other than the sharper emotional response it might provoke. I'm in no way trying to dismiss the tragedy of the events, quite the opposite, the more reason not to be taken hostage by knee jerk responses which serve only to muddy the water.

It's not a generalisation though. Trucks, especially HGVs, are time and again demonstrated to be the most dangerous vehicles on the road. The UK does seem to publish quite detailed statistics, but I can't lay my hands on a decent summary. There is this study from Spain https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Probability-of-cyclist-KSI-risk-asso... (section 3.2 in the paper) shows that involvement of a truck in a collision is over twice as likely to result in KSI as a car. Yes, there are fewer of them in proportion, but the lobbying of the road haulage industry to avoid cyclops mirrors not being mandatory, and the manufacturers to push back regulations requiring HGVs to not be the shape (and have all the aerodynamic properties - but that's a separate argument) of a breeze block should mean that they shouldn't be let anywhere near environments where they are likely to come in close contact with VRUs - or at least be subject to severe restrictions on a case by case basis.

We drove from Normandy to the Alps in the summer, and having spotted a truck as a service station with full cyclops mirrors (bravo that Croation driver/firm) I kept a rough tally of the trucks similarly equipped on the road. We're talking not much more than the fingers of 2 hands over about 1600km

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Pyro Tim | 1 year ago
16 likes

I know the parents, and my heart goes out to James and Laura. RIP Eloise

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