Council turns down residents' request for speed enforcement on road in Apperley Bridge where 'cars race at over 90mph'
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Richard Porter has launched a petition to improve safety on a 30mph section of Harrogate Road where he claims to regularly see 'boy racers' reaching speeds of over 80mph.
Mr Porter says he frequently witnesses minor collisions and near-misses on the stretch, which is close to a primary school, and has called for more signage, new road markings and an average speed camera to enforce the limit.
"I recently saw a car overtake four cars, jump the lights, and nearly knock someone over at Greengates - the woman would have been seriously hurt if not killed as he was travelling at well over 50mph.
"It's a real issue on this stretch - I know a lot of roads have similar issues, but it is a big problem for people here. Only last night when me and my son walked to Asda, we saw a Golf full of young lads racing another car that must have been doing 90-100mph in a 30mph zone.
"Bradford Council don't recognise complaints, and each time they seem to treat one as a brand new issue rather than connecting them. A lot of the minor collisions don't get reported to police. My son has been nearly knocked down twice after getting off the bus. It just seems as if they are not listening.
"It's not a case of if another death will happen, it's when."
His views are supported by Liberal Democrat ward councillor for Idle and Thackley, Jeanette Sunderland, a cyclist who now takes alternative routes because she does not feel Harrogate Road is safe.
"We're concerned that the pushback from the council and police is that they believe the accidents are connected to the current junction improvement work at Greengates, and that they'll be resolved when the scheme is finished. That's not all there is to it - there is wider concern about accidents and the causes.
"We've asked for a meeting and are awaiting a date, and we've also asked to see the detailed data and map so we can spot clusters and patterns.
"You only have to walk up there to see the 'litter' left behind by accidents - broken walls and street lamps, bits of cars left in the road. We just want to slow the traffic down. It's not just about saving lives - if you survive an accident it can still be life-changing and really affect your confidence."
Bradford Council highways engineers responded to Mr Porter's complaints by informing him that the deployment of cameras is strictly regulated by the West Yorkshire Casualty Prevention Partnership due to maintenance costs, meaning funding is prioritised for the locations considered black spots for accidents. Site selection is rigorous in part because of a suspicion among drivers that cameras are used to generate income.
The section of Harrogate Road from Tenterfields to Apperley Bridge Station was fully assessed according to the criteria for camera installation in 2016, and has been reviewed more recently using updated statistics, but did not meet the threshold on either occasion. The council added that a decision based on recommendations in light of the most recent fatality in June 2020 could not be made until the police investigation into the collision has concluded.
The highways engineer added that a data logging device deployed on the stretch in 2018 reported that although the average traffic speed was 29mph, 15 per cent of vehicles recorded were exceeding 36mph, meaning the site was put forward for a vehicle activated reminder sign. Competition from other locations under consideration meant it was not awarded funding by Bradford Council but has remained on a priority list and the data was shared with West Yorkshire Police.
A council spokesman said: "Road safety is an important priority for the council and we are doing everything we can to reduce causalities and fatalities.
“We are aware of the issues relating to this road and have completed a thorough investigation.
“Survey data collected has been shared with the police to help them prioritise roads enforcement in the area.
“This section of road does not meet the criteria required by West Yorkshire Casualty Prevention Partnership for a safety camera. However, the road has been added to a list of vehicle activated signs to be considered for funding by Bradford East Area Committee.
“Sadly, there has been one fatal collision on Harrogate Road at Apperley Bridge since 2009. One fatality is clearly one too many and we will carefully consider the outcome of a current police investigation into the incident in any future decisions for the road.”
In June 2020, mother of two Isma Nawaz, 38, died when her car collided with a parked vehicle as she drove through Apperley Bridge on her way to an early morning shift at the petrol station where she worked. An investigation is still ongoing and a 25-year-old man was arrested at the time.
In 2009 friends Linda Tansley and Janet Herd, both 48, were killed in a horror smash after leaving the Stansfield Arms pub, where they had been for a school reunion meal. A stolen Mercedes containing five young joyriders crashed into the back of their Ford Fiesta. Driver Daniel Witter, 23, was later jailed.
To view the Change.org petition, click here.