Wokingham Borough Council has been accused of ‘playing Russian roulette with residents’ lives’ after an accident on an A4 roundabout last year.

Zahin Ali of Maidenhead knocked two cyclists off their bikes after he failed to stop at the A321 roundabout on June 2 last year and was later jailed.

Now Conservative opposition councillor Wayne Smith has suggested uncut grass at the roundabout had ‘obscured’ the driver’s view.

But the council has pointed out that the height of the grass and the driver’s view were not considered as contributing factors in the police investigation.

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Councillor Smith said he had been ‘shocked’ by dashcam footage of the crash, which he says shows grass was ‘partially obscuring the cyclists from the driver’s view.'

He said: “No local authority should be saving money by playing Russian Roulette with residents’ lives.

“If cash is so tight that grass is left to grow tall in the sight-line to a dangerous roundabout then the council should be postponing expenditure on non-urgent vanity projects until we can afford them because safety must surely come first.”

He later told Bracknell News: “I felt so sorry for those cyclists and I’m glad the law prevailed and death with the driver but it made me think we’ve got an ongoing issue here on the A4 and I just think the A4 is getting neglected.”

But Wokingham Borough Council noted that there was ‘no mention of overgrown vegetation or impaired visibility as contributing factors’ in the case that followed the crash on June 2.

Councillor Smith told the News there is an ‘ongoing issue with safety’ on the A4 and the surrounding roads.

He is calling for traffic light cameras to be installed on the High Street in Wargrave, a speed camera at Sheeplands Nursery on the A4 and for the speed limit to be reduced to 30 miles per hour on country lanes.

He also claimed that money has been ‘diverted’ away from road safety schemes. But Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Fishwick – responsible for roads – said powers to install cameras and enforce speeding are with the police.

He said such issues have existed long before the Liberal Democrats took control of Wokingham Borough Council in 2022.

He told the News: “Wayne Smith is very quick to try to blame the Lib Dems at the council for a wide range of problems, including things that are not in the council's control.

“In addition, these are not new, but were problems for many years while the Conservatives were running the council, problems which they failed to fix.”

Councillor Fishwick added that tight finances mean the council does not have ‘loads of money that can be freely spent’ on road safety schemes.

He said: “The idea that the council is sitting on a massive pot of money which we could spend on road schemes is just laughable.  Wayne Smith was a senior Conservative councillor while they were in power, so surely understands how council finances work, and how tight those finances are.”