Villagers mourn ‘happy’ boy killed in A420 crash

Floral tributes left at the Charney Road junction

Floral tributes left at the Charney Road junction

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

A 12-YEAR-OLD cyclist killed on the A420 was a “polite and friendly” boy, villagers have said.

Southmoor was yesterday in mourning following the death of the boy, named locally as Mateusz Kucinski on the weekend.

The Matthew Arnold School pupil, known as Matty, died in hospital following a collision with a car on the A420 westbound near the junction with Charney Road on Saturday afternoon.

There were also calls last night to slow drivers down following the second death on the road in seven days.

Flowers were laid yesterday by the side of the A420 close to where Matty, who lived in Cherrytree Close, was fatally injured.

One tribute left at the scene read: “You will never be forgotten. You were a good friend and a lovely, polite, happy young man. RIP.”

Neil Weller, owner of the Log Cabin newsagents, said the boy had been a close friend of his son’s.

He said: “Telling your son that one of his mates has died is one of the hardest things. It makes it all the more harder to comprehend.

“It still does not feel like it has happened.”

The former parish council member said Matty – a former John Blandy Primary School pupil – would pop in to the shop before school every morning to buy energy drinks and sweets.

He added: “When he stayed at our house he called me ‘sir’. He was always polite.

“Everyone is gobsmacked. He was not a recluse. He tried to make so many friends. He did move in circles and was close with everybody.”

There were 21 fatal collisions on the A420 between 2002 and 2012, and a Swindon man in his 30s died after a collision between Buckland and Highworth on Sunday, April 6.

Vale of White Horse District, Oxfordshire County and Swindon Borough councils have agreed to look at potential safety changes.

Yesterday police and highways staff were conducting a traffic management review following Saturday’s crash.

Matty, an only child, was born in Poland before he moved to Southmoor with his parents.

A woman, who asked not to be named, yesterday said: “Everyone is devastated. He was a lovely lad apparently.

“Everybody says he was a always happy and cheerful.”

Nine-year-old Jake Owen said: “I am going to miss seeing him around the village.”

Kingston Bagpuize and Southmoor Parish Council chairman Brian Forster said the A420 road was too dangerous and the speed limit should be lowered.

He said: “It is a notoriously dangerous stretch of road. People are doing 100mph up there as a normal course of events.”

Melinda Tilley, Oxfordshire County Council member for the village, said the parish council had asked her to speak to highways officers about bringing the speed limit down.

She said: “We have all been saying for a long time that it is very dangerous.”

Comments (10)

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8:26am Tue 15 Apr 14

Leyland Tiger says...

Interesting report here: previous stories and associated comments regarding the A420 have tended to focus on how much safer the road would be if it was dualled all the way from Oxford to Swindon. Here we have a tragic accident on the dualled part. I'm not speculating on what caused it - that'll be for the authorities in good time.
However, I'd urge caution on thinking that dualling would reduce accidents. My guess is that you'd have different accidents but you'd still have accidents. Just look at the A34.....
Generally - the A420 would be a better place if speed limits were adhered to and if drivers would refrain from the suicidal overtaking that I see almost on a daily basis on my commute.
My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the lad who died.
Interesting report here: previous stories and associated comments regarding the A420 have tended to focus on how much safer the road would be if it was dualled all the way from Oxford to Swindon. Here we have a tragic accident on the dualled part. I'm not speculating on what caused it - that'll be for the authorities in good time. However, I'd urge caution on thinking that dualling would reduce accidents. My guess is that you'd have different accidents but you'd still have accidents. Just look at the A34..... Generally - the A420 would be a better place if speed limits were adhered to and if drivers would refrain from the suicidal overtaking that I see almost on a daily basis on my commute. My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the lad who died. Leyland Tiger
  • Score: 16

9:25am Tue 15 Apr 14

ritetumi says...

Rather than tinkering with the speed limit- as anything over 20 miles per hour has potential to kill, would it be sensible to provide a pedestrian crossing somewhere for save crossing?

I was saddeded to hear of he death of Matty. Condolences to family and friends.
Rather than tinkering with the speed limit- as anything over 20 miles per hour has potential to kill, would it be sensible to provide a pedestrian crossing somewhere for save crossing? I was saddeded to hear of he death of Matty. Condolences to family and friends. ritetumi
  • Score: 2

10:23am Tue 15 Apr 14

blundelo says...

I don't recall the speed limit on that exact stretch of road, but if "People are doing 100mph up there as a normal course of events" then surely it doesn't matter what the speed limit is if people aren't going to observe it. Greater enforcement must surely be part of the answer.

To answer Leyland Tiger's specific point about dualling: on average, dual carriageways do tend to be safer roads than single carriageways, but the difference is less where junctions with side roads allow traffic to cross the carriageway rather than being totally grade-separated (i.e. with slip roads and bridges/underpasses)
. We can engineer the risk out of roads as far as is possible, but any road is only as safe as its users.
I don't recall the speed limit on that exact stretch of road, but if "People are doing 100mph up there as a normal course of events" then surely it doesn't matter what the speed limit is if people aren't going to observe it. Greater enforcement must surely be part of the answer. To answer Leyland Tiger's specific point about dualling: on average, dual carriageways do tend to be safer roads than single carriageways, but the difference is less where junctions with side roads allow traffic to cross the carriageway rather than being totally grade-separated (i.e. with slip roads and bridges/underpasses) . We can engineer the risk out of roads as far as is possible, but any road is only as safe as its users. blundelo
  • Score: 7

1:07pm Tue 15 Apr 14

elslrs says...

This road, except for the dual carraigeways, already have a speed limit of 50mph with speed cameras going the length of the road. You do find that people tend to speed up more at the dual carriage ways, but as the limit there is 70mph this is going to happen. Pedestrians should not be allowed anywhere near a dual carriageway in the first instance as accidents as tragic as this are going to happen. I am not sure there is any way to ensure this road or any other, such as the A34, can be made safer for the drivers unless you drive at 30-40mph as they are busy roads BUT by putting guards in place so pedestrians can go no where near them is something that can and should be done. Condolences to Matty and his family at this awfully tragic time. It is a harsh lesson for his friends to learn about the dangers of going near busy roads. R.I.P Matty x
This road, except for the dual carraigeways, already have a speed limit of 50mph with speed cameras going the length of the road. You do find that people tend to speed up more at the dual carriage ways, but as the limit there is 70mph this is going to happen. Pedestrians should not be allowed anywhere near a dual carriageway in the first instance as accidents as tragic as this are going to happen. I am not sure there is any way to ensure this road or any other, such as the A34, can be made safer for the drivers unless you drive at 30-40mph as they are busy roads BUT by putting guards in place so pedestrians can go no where near them is something that can and should be done. Condolences to Matty and his family at this awfully tragic time. It is a harsh lesson for his friends to learn about the dangers of going near busy roads. R.I.P Matty x elslrs
  • Score: 8

2:42pm Tue 15 Apr 14

barford says...

There are many hazards on the A420 but there is a particular one near the site of this awful accident. It lies towards the end of the dual-carriageway, just before it merges once again into a two-way road. At the last minute many drivers seem to feel compelled to overtake anything in the nearside lane in order to be ahead of them when the road narrows. The vehicles being overtaken are often travelling at 60-70mph so the ones in this lemming-like surge are often going well in excess of this. This is a pretty pointless exercise as they are then frequently obliged to follow other vehicles all the way to Swindon at 50mph (which clearly many motorists regard as a crawl), so what they have gained can be measured in seconds. But otherwise sensible and intelligent people seem immune to this self-evident fact. What makes this particular dangerous is that, just at the point where some drivers surge ahead at great speed before the dual-carriageway runs out, you have the junction with the Southmoor road coming in from the left. Not only that, but cars, pedestrians and cyclists can emerge to cross both carriageways to access the Longworth road and vice versa. Thus the recipe for tragedy is ever-present. I make these comments unaware of the circumstances of the latest tragedy; neither do I seek to judge them. But clearly, at this point, sensible road engineering would remove a source of great danger. High-speed vehicles don't mix with pedestrians and cyclists. Junctions that involve traffic crossing two lanes of a dual-carriageway should be removed, as they have at many other sites across the country - especially where the tendency of many drivers is to increase their speed to gain some spurious advantage.
There are many hazards on the A420 but there is a particular one near the site of this awful accident. It lies towards the end of the dual-carriageway, just before it merges once again into a two-way road. At the last minute many drivers seem to feel compelled to overtake anything in the nearside lane in order to be ahead of them when the road narrows. The vehicles being overtaken are often travelling at 60-70mph so the ones in this lemming-like surge are often going well in excess of this. This is a pretty pointless exercise as they are then frequently obliged to follow other vehicles all the way to Swindon at 50mph (which clearly many motorists regard as a crawl), so what they have gained can be measured in seconds. But otherwise sensible and intelligent people seem immune to this self-evident fact. What makes this particular dangerous is that, just at the point where some drivers surge ahead at great speed before the dual-carriageway runs out, you have the junction with the Southmoor road coming in from the left. Not only that, but cars, pedestrians and cyclists can emerge to cross both carriageways to access the Longworth road and vice versa. Thus the recipe for tragedy is ever-present. I make these comments unaware of the circumstances of the latest tragedy; neither do I seek to judge them. But clearly, at this point, sensible road engineering would remove a source of great danger. High-speed vehicles don't mix with pedestrians and cyclists. Junctions that involve traffic crossing two lanes of a dual-carriageway should be removed, as they have at many other sites across the country - especially where the tendency of many drivers is to increase their speed to gain some spurious advantage. barford
  • Score: 5

5:09pm Tue 15 Apr 14

H.J.Harris says...

What does "A woman, who asked not to be named, yesterday said: “Everyone is devastated. He was a lovely lad apparently.
“Everybody says he was a always happy and cheerful.” "
add to the report, the person quoted didn't even know the lad.
What does "A woman, who asked not to be named, yesterday said: “Everyone is devastated. He was a lovely lad apparently. “Everybody says he was a always happy and cheerful.” " add to the report, the person quoted didn't even know the lad. H.J.Harris
  • Score: 3

6:19pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Geoff Roberts says...

"Pedestrians should not be allowed anywhere near a dual carriageway in the first instance as accidents as tragic as this are going to happen"

Interesting idea. We'd probably need to call the army in to enforce it though because the police are too busy, under resourced and in some cases, lazy, to enforce enforce the laws that would keep people safe in the first place. I'm not sure that passing laws to stop pedestrians going near roads would help anyone and it wouldn't have prevented this tragic story since the poor child was on a bicycle and not a pedestrian.
"Pedestrians should not be allowed anywhere near a dual carriageway in the first instance as accidents as tragic as this are going to happen" Interesting idea. We'd probably need to call the army in to enforce it though because the police are too busy, under resourced and in some cases, lazy, to enforce enforce the laws that would keep people safe in the first place. I'm not sure that passing laws to stop pedestrians going near roads would help anyone and it wouldn't have prevented this tragic story since the poor child was on a bicycle and not a pedestrian. Geoff Roberts
  • Score: 2

7:27pm Tue 15 Apr 14

train passenger says...

I have never understood why the speed limit on many A roads is the same as on the motorway (70 mph). On an A road 70 mph is pretty fast, too fast in many places. On the motorway it often feels like a crawl, most other countries allow anywhere from 75 or 80 upwards. Rules not fit for purpose I think.
I have never understood why the speed limit on many A roads is the same as on the motorway (70 mph). On an A road 70 mph is pretty fast, too fast in many places. On the motorway it often feels like a crawl, most other countries allow anywhere from 75 or 80 upwards. Rules not fit for purpose I think. train passenger
  • Score: 1

11:43pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

train passenger wrote:
I have never understood why the speed limit on many A roads is the same as on the motorway (70 mph). On an A road 70 mph is pretty fast, too fast in many places. On the motorway it often feels like a crawl, most other countries allow anywhere from 75 or 80 upwards. Rules not fit for purpose I think.
The speed limit on A roads is 60mph, unless it's a dual carriageway, in which case it's 70mph, unless otherwise indicated.
On the continent, the speed limits are pretty much the same as here, except on motorways, where as you state, the speed limit is usually 80mph, although in Germany unless signposted otherwise, there is no speed limit.
In many European countries HGVs aren't permitted to overtake on certain stretches of dual carriageway or 2 lane motorway, this reduces congestion, and also alleviates the desire for motorists to carry out dodgy manoeuvres, after being stuck behind a truck trying to overtake another, for a few miles. If a similar policy was introduced over here, especially within a few miles of junctions, it may help to improve road safety.
[quote][p][bold]train passenger[/bold] wrote: I have never understood why the speed limit on many A roads is the same as on the motorway (70 mph). On an A road 70 mph is pretty fast, too fast in many places. On the motorway it often feels like a crawl, most other countries allow anywhere from 75 or 80 upwards. Rules not fit for purpose I think.[/p][/quote]The speed limit on A roads is 60mph, unless it's a dual carriageway, in which case it's 70mph, unless otherwise indicated. On the continent, the speed limits are pretty much the same as here, except on motorways, where as you state, the speed limit is usually 80mph, although in Germany unless signposted otherwise, there is no speed limit. In many European countries HGVs aren't permitted to overtake on certain stretches of dual carriageway or 2 lane motorway, this reduces congestion, and also alleviates the desire for motorists to carry out dodgy manoeuvres, after being stuck behind a truck trying to overtake another, for a few miles. If a similar policy was introduced over here, especially within a few miles of junctions, it may help to improve road safety. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 1

11:28am Wed 16 Apr 14

icba1957 says...

There should not be an option to cross both carriageways at this spot - it should be Swindon-bound only. I was nearly hit myself when I tried to cross Oxford-bound only to find I was in third, not first. A large truck was getting very close very quickly.

There is a pedestrian bridge not too far from this side road, which won't help this poor lad, I know, but should be used by pedestrains / cyclists / others who can't cross the dual carriageway quickly.

The speed cameras are only on the 50 mph sections of the A420. Anyone know why?
There should not be an option to cross both carriageways at this spot - it should be Swindon-bound only. I was nearly hit myself when I tried to cross Oxford-bound only to find I was in third, not first. A large truck was getting very close very quickly. There is a pedestrian bridge not too far from this side road, which won't help this poor lad, I know, but should be used by pedestrains / cyclists / others who can't cross the dual carriageway quickly. The speed cameras are only on the 50 mph sections of the A420. Anyone know why? icba1957
  • Score: 0

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