Wednesday, February 20, 2013
ROAD safety campaigner Graham Chappell has blamed an error by Peterborough City Council for preventing the installation of further safety measures along the North Bank at Whittlesey.
He says that the council failed to recognise that a fatal accident back in 2008 – when 39-year Leslie George from Whittlesey died - had been on the same site as an earlier accident in 2004.
The council has since admitted its mistake, and now Mr Chappell is in talks with the authority to see if a partnership can be formed to get an average speed camera system or safety barriers installed.
After the 2004 accident, when 33-year-old Stephen Milam died when his car went into the river, flashing slow-down signs were erected.
Mr Chappell said members of Leslie George’s family had been shocked to discover that Peterborough City Council claimed that his accident had not been on the same site.
“The erroneous claim that there had been no further fatalities or serious accidents at this bend, since the installation of the flashing slow-down signs, was used to justify ignoring the case for any further safety measures, such as safety barrier installation or reducing the speed limit, or lowering the speed at which the warning signs are activated,” he said.
Mr Chappell – the organiser of The Fenland Road Safety Campaign (Charlotte’s Way) – successfully got barriers installed at Bedlam Bridge on the Sixteen Foot Bank after a partnership scheme with Cambridgeshire County Council.
He said: “Our Charity is dedicated to doing all it can to secure targeted safety barrier installation at obvious risk ‘hotspots’ such as bends and junctions, on deep waterway adjacent roads, such as the North Bank.
“The bend in question is without doubt a high priority from our perspective, and we are willing to do whatever is required to help fund progress with a suitable safety barrier installation at this location.
“We believe, however, that this is a process that should be undertaken in partnership with the responsible local authority, with a fair share of costs being met by both parties.”
The inquest of Jurij Grisko, a 50-year-old man from Peterborough who died after a three car accident at North Bank last September, will be attended by Mr Chappell on Tuesday.
A traffic engineer from Peterborough City Council has estimated that an average speed camera system would cost about £100,000 and safety barriers would cost a similar amount.
Both North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay and North West Cambs MP Shailesh Vara have confirmed their support for Mr Chappell’s safety improvement campaign, and he is due to meet Mr Barclay to discuss his plans next month.
Paul Phillipson, Executive Director of Operations for Peterborough City Council, said: “We met with Mr Chappell and relatives of Leslie George to discuss safety measures along North Bank in November 2012.
“At the meeting we assessed casualty data from over the last ten years along the road – which included vehicles entering the water.
“During this meeting we also agreed to update the location of Mr George’s collision on our accident database. This change has not prevented further installation of safety measures along the North Bank at Whittlesey.
“Instead, we agreed to undertake vehicle speed surveys along North Bank however due to the recent poor weather, these have been delayed until March 2013.
“Once this information has been collected, we have agreed to meet with Mr Chappell to explore the different options available.”