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Olympic tourists ‘will die’ in Oxford Street claims Hampstead coma dad

10:00 13 July 2012

From left Peter Kearney (12), Lesia Haliv, Tom Kearney and Daniel Kearney (8).

From left Peter Kearney (12), Lesia Haliv, Tom Kearney and Daniel Kearney (8).

Archant

A Hampstead father who “came back from the dead” after being hit by a bus in Oxford Street claims tourists will be killed by buses during the Olympics unless speeds are halved on London’s most dangerous road.

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A Hampstead father who “came back from the dead” after being hit by a bus in Oxford Street claims tourists will be killed by buses during the Olympics unless speeds are halved on London’s most dangerous road.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the world will descend on Oxford Street during the Olympics and Tom Kearney, who was knocked down in December 2009, says the shopping district could become an accident blackspot.

Last Friday a 22-year-old woman was taken to hospital with head injuries after being hit by a bus in Oxford Street.

Businessman Mr Kearney, who spent two weeks in a coma after being flung 20ft by a bendy, has collected more than 1,000 signatures from 26 different countries to cut the speed limit to 15mph.

He claims visitors to the shopping street will be unprepared for the capital’s buses.

“If the world is invited to London, they should know how dangerous it is,” said the 47-year-old from Flask Walk.

“You can’t invite people into your home without telling them the risks. Oxford Street is hectic and, with millions of visitors who have no experience of buses here, it’s going to be chaos.

“There is no margin for error and people who are unfamiliar with the street and London will step out into the road and will be killed.”

Harvard graduate Mr Kearney, who has two sons, presented Transport for London (TfL) with the petition yesterday (Wednesday) at a meeting to discuss safety concerns with deputy mayor for transport, Isabel Dedring.

A spokesman for TfL said only Westminster Council could reduce the speed limit from 30mph, but said it had tried to cut the number of buses in Oxford Street by about 20 per cent. More than 300 buses use Oxford Street daily.

Westminster transport boss Cllr Ed Argar said: “We will, of course, consider and respond to the petition.”

A council spokesman said steps have been taken to improve safety measures along Oxford Street.

A source at the New West End Company, which manages the business interests of Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street, said the organisation is considering pushing for longer-lasting changes in Oxford Street in September.

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