FRIENDS of a much-loved academic who died shortly after a bike accident hope to create a safe cycling network in his honour.

Graham Dietz, a reader at Durham University Business School (DUBS), died a few days before last Christmas following a cardiac arrest, aged 45.

A married father-of-one, the devoted cyclist had been involved in an accident while riding his bike in his home city, Durham, a month before, prompting him and his DUBS colleague and friend Karen Elliott to start campaigning for safer cycle paths.

Dr Dietz’s death only spurred on Dr Elliott to step up the campaign and an online petition she started calling for a fully integrated cycle pathways network across Durham City has attracted 845 signatures in just a fortnight.

Dr Elliott said: “Graham was a unique person who cared deeply about his students.

“It didn’t matter what time of day, he was always there for them. There’s a real sense of loss in the Business School without him.

“He was a very caring, genuine person. That’s why I resolved to try to do this in his memory.”

The campaign has the backing of Dr Dietz’s widow, who said she found it very moving and was very grateful.

She said her husband was a talented teacher, skilful communicator, amazing writer, loyal friend and passionate about his students, his research into conflict resolution and corporate social responsibility and all things “green”.

The petition has the support of the 230-strong Durham Bike Users Group, transport charity Sustrans, the national cycling charity CTC and the 20s Plenty For Us campaign for lower speed limits.

Dr Elliott has also held talks with Durham County Council and a further meeting is planned for next month (August).

She said the support received had been great, particularly from DUBS staff and students.

To view or sign the petition, visit

Adrian White, the council's head of transport, said: “Although we have yet to receive the petition we are happy to work with anyone who comes to us with ideas and suggestions for safe cycling.”