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"We should not have to wait until someone is killed"

The junction of Plymouth Road and the Western bypass in Totnes (Image Google Maps)

Mother urges council to improve road after son hit by car

Imploring the South Hams Highways and Traffic Orders Committee to do something about the junction, she said: “The police told me that they want a proper pedestrian crossing here but have been told more proof is needed of the problem. You now have that proof. What happened to my son shows the junction is confusing and dangerous. Please don’t wait until you have worse proof than this.”

The air ambulance was called to the scene in Totnes on October 1st after Wendy’s son, who was trying to cross the road on the way home from KEVICC school, was hit by a car.

She said: “He couldn’t see the lights clearly and didn’t understand the feeder was given the green light. The poor driver was just pulling away as he tried to cross and luckily she was at a slow speed and only caught him with the side of the car.”

Her son suffered a broken nose and severe bruising to his face and abdomen, but added: “It could have been so much worse.

“I have always worried about my children walking home from school because of the traffic and it is becoming more and more choked with traffic. This is place a where people live and walk and cycle yet priority is given to the car. The bypass/Plymouth Road junction is lethal and pedestrians need to be given priority, and as an adult, I am nervous crossing here.

“It should be an absolute priority that a comprehensive crossing system is installed here. We should not have to wait until someone is killed before anything is done.”

A petition calling for a pelican crossing to be installed was handed to councillors, and Anthea Lawson, a resident of nearby Farwell Road, in a letter added: “This accident appear inevitable and unless your committee acts to install a safe pedestrian crossing, the next more serious accident remains inevitable. The potential remains not only for a repeat of the scenario but also for a much more serious collision and our view is that it is only a matter of time before somebody is seriously hurt or killed.”

Outlining the problem, she said that while there is a pelican crossing of the bypass on the south side of the junction, there is no safe way across Plymouth Road on the western side to reach it, and there is no gap in the traffic sequence to get all the way across the bypass.

She added: “Drivers emerging from Plymouth Road to turn north down the bypass cannot see pedestrians waiting to cross, cannot be seen by pedestrians until they are already moving round the corner with only three metres of stopping distance, are often accelerating to catch the end of the green light or because the lights have just turned green, and are inconsistent in their use of indicators so it is impossible for pedestrians to judge whether they are going to turn and whether they can make a dash from it.

“Many of my neighbours are terrified of the junction. One woman told me that she places herself in the path of the traffic from her grandson so the cars will hit her first. People shouldn’t have to do this.

“Please can you do what is necessary to install a pelican crossing before something truly awful happens and you find yourself having to explain why you didn’t do it earlier?”

Cllr Jacqui Hodgson, who represents the Totnes ward, said that the crossing was needed and that it not only would make the junction safer but also encourage more pedestrian usage if people felt they could cross the road safely.

Cllr Roger Croad, chairman of the South Hams HATOC, said: “We are obliged to have a look at this as it was a serious accident. We understand the problem and we need to have a look at it again.”

A report outlining the safety concerns and the potential options and solutions, as well as the costs, is expected to be brought back to the next meeting of the committee in April.

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