Risk to children walking to school

I WAS working on my allotment in Elphinstone Road when two of the accidents mentioned in the Observer took place.

The accident that particularly alarmed me was the one where a car mounted the pavement and demolished a brick wall. You have to bear in mind that this pavement is used extensively by pupils from Helenswood School walking into town and younger children regularly cross the road to get to the playground.

There is no doubt that a small minority of drivers, mainly motorcyclists, use the upper part of Elphinstone Road as a race track. It is not unusual to see vehicles travelling at speeds well in excess of 50 mph particularly early in the morning and on weekends.

However I suspect that most of the accidents are being caused by a larger minority of drivers who believe that travelling around 40mph is both acceptable and safe.

In particular I notice that vehicles descending the steep hill from the Ridge can’t be bothered to brake and as a consequence accidents occur when they meet traffic attempting to turn out of the many side roads. Anybody actually travelling at the speed limit along Elphinstone Road is immediately tailgated by impatient motorists. Commercial van drivers and parents late for the school run seem to be the worst offenders.

Elphinstone Road has almost every hazard likely to catch out the unwary motorist. There is a mini roundabout, steep hills, blind bends, pedestrian crossings, multiple junctions and several choke points.

At 30mph (20mph at the choke points) it should be safe for all users. Beyond this speed the possibility of serious accidents becomes ever more likely and the promise of increased traffic means that action needs to be taken now to resolve the problem.

Other than a complete reconstruction of the road with speed humps and chicanes I can’t see any way to restore some sanity than installing a speed camera or perhaps a sequence of cameras.

I agree that installation of speed cameras should be a last resort but the fact is all the advisory signs are being ignored and nothing other than the certainty of a speeding fine is going to slow drivers down.

Finally in relation to the two accidents I witnessed it was gratifying to see how many members of the public went to the assistance of the injured travellers. The speed at which all the emergency services attended was also fantastic.

DAVID MARTIN

Langham Road