Dead cyclist's father backs safety calls

A FATHER who has experienced the deadly nature of the A14 from opposite perspectives today backed calls for safety improvements.Philip Curtis, whose son was killed while cycling on the road two years ago, has also been involved in an accident himself on one notorious stretch.

A FATHER who has experienced the deadly nature of the A14 from opposite perspectives today backed calls for safety improvements.

Philip Curtis, whose son was killed while cycling on the road two years ago, has also been involved in an accident himself on one notorious stretch.

In 1981, while on the A12 just outside Ipswich, his car wing mirror collided with a cyclist, leaving him with minor injuries.

Then, 21 years later, his son Wayne, 25, died in what could have been a hit-and-run accident. The inquest into his death heard three drivers had run over his motionless body as it lay on the Bury St Edmunds-bound A14.

Salesman Mr Curtis, of Kipling Way, Stowmarket, travels between offices in Cambridge and Colchester on a daily basis.

Today he backed moves by The Evening Star to highlight the dangers of cyclists and tractors using the county's busiest roads.

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Slow moving tractors and two million lorries a year contribute to the heavy traffic on the A14 and in the next 20 years a further million lorries are expected to arrive through the Port of Felixstowe annually.

Mr Curtis said: "I travel along both the A12 and the A14 a lot and I've seen the dangers from both points of view.

"Something does need to be done but if you move the slow moving traffic off the main roads they need to go somewhere.

"It would be a good idea to build a cycle path to run alongside the roads. I wouldn't want to see slow moving vehicles banned without a suitable alternative for them."

Yvette Curtis backed her husband's viewpoint.

She said: "I understand a lot of people have to use the road for their job but it's just getting busier and busier.

"I use it myself and it seems like there's an accident of some description every other day.

"Maybe cyclists should be kept off all main roads, or maybe they could introduce cycle paths of some kind.

"I find it frightening in my car sometimes when you are on the inside lane and lorries are overtaking you and the car shakes. I wouldn't like to be on a bike in that situation."

She revealed she had no idea her son had been using the route to cycle to work until he was killed, at about 5.30am on February 25, 2002.

She said: "If I'd known I don't suppose I would've been able to stop him, as he was a grown man but I would definitely have worried about him a lot more."

The comments from Mr and Mrs Curtis follow the launch earlier this month of a new Evening Star campaign to improve the dismal safety record of the A14 and discourage tractors and cyclists from using it.

Cyclists and tractors are allowed to use the A14 because it is classed as an A-road and not a motorway, but calls have been made for them to find other routes to protect both themselves and other road users.

Earlier this month, cyclist Terrance Neeson, 53, of Rougham, was killed when he was in collision with a lorry at the Bury Edmunds junction on the A14.

Do you think cyclists and tractors should use the A14 or A12? Have you been involved in an accident or near miss? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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