Friends and family want action to prevent recurrence of the tragedy
Jack Ryan was killed at accident blackspot. Picture: Handout
A close friend of the jogger who died at a notorious accident spot has called for urgent action to prevent another tragedy.
Jack Ryan died at Battersea Bridge after a collision with a car on 13 January.
Now family and friends are backing a campaign to make the busy junction at the bridge with Beaufort Street and Cheyne Walk, safer after the horrific accident.
Jack was best man at his friend Alastair Day’s wedding to Jamie and was godfather to their one-year-old daughter Emelia.
The pair had been friends since their school days in Birmingham and went to university in Sheffield together.
Mr Day said, “I was shocked by the number of accidents there have been there.
“You can get as many flowers in the world and it will never bring him back. We do not want to see anyone have another accident. A simple solution could be to put up a stop sign at the pedestrian crossing.”
Jack was a keen Aston Villa fan and Stan Collymore was amongst those who paid tribute to him.
He was due to move out of London with his girlfriend Liz Austin, to be nearer his parents, said Mr Day.
“Because of Covid you can’t even give them a hug,” he said. “He was always smiling, he was always laughing and a bit of a joker and extremely clever. He buckled down to his studies and he loved life.
“He would always message people. He would always message people privately and message everyone in the group and he was just checking in with people.”
This is the second fatal accident in recent years. A 35-year-old motorcyclist died at the scene after an early morning collision involving a car on Battersea Bridge in October 2017.
According to Kensington and Chelsea Council, 27 people were hurt in 22 accidents between 2017 and 2019.
Four accidents involved motorcyclists, with one of them suffering a serious injury.
One pedestrian was seriously injured and another one was slightly injured. Eight cyclists were also slightly injured.
Mr Day said 29-year-old Jack was familiar with the road, which is popular with runners and had set himself a challenge to complete 100km in a month during lockdown.
Jack’s parents, Teresa and Noel, have also backed the campaign. Mrs Ryan urged people to sign a petition calling for urgent action.
She wrote, “I can’t bear the thought of any other family going through this.”
More than 3,700 people have signed the petition on change.org calling for urgent action.
Organiser Rob McGibbon said: "There is no safe time for pedestrians to cross at the north side of Battersea Bridge.
"Consequently, families with young children, the elderly, the disabled - indeed, everyone - is forced to make a perilous dash across this horrendously busy road in front of moving traffic.
"The traffics lights that control vehicle flow from all directions at the crossroads with Cheyne Walk and Beaufort Street in Chelsea interchange instantly. Therefore, the only time to cross is when traffic is on the move.
"This flawed traffic management system is destined to end in further tragedy."
Jack's friends are also planning a petition to Parliament. Residents have been concerned about the crossing for a long time.
Battersea Bridge is controlled by Transport for London along with the junction with Cheyne Walk and Chelsea Embankment.
David Waddell who chairs the Cheyne Walk Trust and is involved with the Chelsea Society, said, “Everybody is very alarmed and concerned by the death that has happened.”
He added, “We need action quickly rather than just talking about it.”
Colonel Waddell explained: “It is a very wide junction and there is no pedestrian phase.
“It is very difficult to see the traffic lights if you are a pedestrian.”
He said it was particularly difficult for parents with prams or elderly people who may take longer to cross the road.
“I know people who used to use that junction and won’t now. It clearly needs a pedestrian filter arrangement.”
Councillor Johnny Thalassites, who is lead member for transport, said, “This is a desperately sad event and our thoughts are with the victim’s family.
“Councillors, officers and residents have raised serious concerns about this road on several occasions with the Mayor of London and TfL. There has to be urgent action from TfL to make it safer and we will help in any way we can.”
In December, Conservative London Assembly member Tony Devenish said the junction had been a cause of concern for at least 20 years.
He told the Assembly, “Pedestrians regularly report feeling unsafe and I have heard about a number of near accidents at this location. TfL undertook to address improvements in August 2002 and confirmed that a press button “green man” control would be installed in 2005. This was not achieved and despite numerous subsequent initiatives to address the problem the junction remains unsafe and in safety terms unimproved.”
Responding in December London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “very supportive of bringing forward pedestrian and cycle safety improvements to the Cheyne Walk / Beaufort Street junction, as well as a high-quality cycle route along Chelsea Embankment.”
He said feasibility studies by TfL suggested that they might have to restrict traffic movements at the junction to make it safer for pedestrians and bikes, without “adverse impacts on buses and traffic.”
Detectives from the Roads and Transport Policing Command are investigating Jack’s death. They would like to speak with anyone who witnessed the collision or who may have captured it on dash cam footage.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Serious Collision Investigation Unit at Merton on 020 8543 5157.
Julia Gregory - Local Democracy Reporter
January 20, 2021