Hampstead coma dad calls for school-run tax on Camden roads

A Hampstead father-of-two who came back from the dead after being hit by a bus has called on Camden Council to lead the way in tackling road safety.

Tom Kearney, who was found without a pulse after an accident in Oxford Street, asked Camden to shoulder responsibility because Transport for London has shown a lack of leadership.

Mr Kearney, of Flask Walk, suggested the council levy a school-run tax on parents dropping children at private schools to cut down on heavy traffic.

Roads including Fitzjohn’s Avenue, Rosslyn Hill Road and Belsize Avenue had become part of the “north London Grand Prix” route, threatening the safety of cyclists and pedestrians in Hampstead, he said.

Mr Kearney, who has two sons at private school, said: “People are coming to Camden for good education and they are paying for it, which is their choice.

“But my point is the number of cars is causing a wider social problem and has wider costs in the dangers to cyclists and pedestrians. Let’s say, ‘this is costing us and you have to pay for it.’”

He suggested schools could conduct surveys to establish the number of parents who genuinely need to drive children to school and force others to pay for permits, with income used to improve cycle lanes or bus services.

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Mr Kearney, a former chief executive of the Africa Commodities Group, spent the Christmas of 2009 in a coma after he was hit by a bus. His family was told he was unlikely to pull through.

Mr Kearney, 46, said there should be an “expectation that no-one should die” on Camden’s roads.

“My family know what one death feels like,” he said. “They pretty much went through it, and the death of a parent or child is something you never get over.

“I don’t want my experience to just be a story, I want something to come from it.

“I want Camden Council to take leadership and come up with ideas to make our roads safer. A school-run tax could persuade people to stop using cars dangerously and frivolously.”

A special meeting of the culture and environment scrutiny committee last week collected evidence to help tackle safety issues.