'A schoolchild will die for the sake of a safety railing on Broughton roundabout', warns roads campaigner

0
Have your say

A veteran cyclist fears one of his younger counterparts could be killed riding to or from school because of the removal of a safety feature at one of the busiest junctions in Preston.

A railing used to segregate users of a shared cycle and footpath from traffic on the northbound approach to the Broughton roundabout, where vehicles from the A6 Garstang Road turn left onto the M55.

Matt Hodges wants action "before a child is killed"

Matt Hodges wants action "before a child is killed"

READ MORE >>> Fears rat run will result cost a life

But it was taken away over two years ago when the road layout was redesigned ahead of the opening of the Broughton bypass on the other side of the junction.

Since then, 76-year-old Matt Hodges says he has repeatedly witnessed horrifying risks to pupils from nearby Broughton High School.

“You see them cycling between the traffic light poles and the kerb, right on the edge - I’ve even seen a couple riding in the gutter against the flow of traffic,” says Matt, who has a long history of campaigning on road safety issues.

Risky riding - a schoolchild cycles in the gutter against the flow of traffic

Risky riding - a schoolchild cycles in the gutter against the flow of traffic

“The HGVs heading onto the M55 come round with their rear wheels almost scrubbing against the kerb, so it’s very dangerous.

“I made an official complaint to Lancashire County Council back in 2017 and they said if they assessed that there was a serious danger, they would do something about it. The only way you can assess that there isn’t a danger for children riding on the edge of the kerb is not to assess it all.

The local democracy reporting service witnessed several pupils cycling within inches of the sometimes fast-flowing road on Tuesday afternoon.

And Matt’s concerns extend to pupils travelling on two legs, as well as two wheels - with walkers also sailing close to the edge of the narrow path.

How the junction used to look - complete with railing (image: Google Streetview)

How the junction used to look - complete with railing (image: Google Streetview)

“They come through in a big group as children do. I remember when I was a kid, we used to walk ten abreast down a footpath that was wide enough for three and somebody would give somebody else a shove just for the fun of it - if that happens here, then it’s off into the road.

“They’re too busy getting into discussions with each other to take a lot of notice of the traffic. Somebody is going to be killed - and it needs dealing with now before somebody is,” Matt warns.

Broughton High School was approached for comment.

Daniel Herbert, Highways Group Manager for Lancashire County Council, said: "Mr Hodges contacted us in 2017. We looked carefully at the issues he raised at the time, and no further action was required.

"If the situation changes at this roundabout, we would look into it."

In response to Mr. Hodge’s original complaint, County Hall said no action was planned at the time, but stressed that cost was “not a factor” in making the decision.