New speed cameras will help tackle crash deaths
One of the most dangerous roads in the country is to be made safer by the introduction of new speeding measures.
The A682 between Barrowford and Gisburn is notorious as an accident blackspot and has witnessed several fatal accidents in recent years.
There have also been numerous serious accidents along with other minor bumps.
And now the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership has agreed to install average speed cameras along the length from Whittycroft Avenue in Higherford to Gisburn.
Anna Hollingworth, who has campaigned for such measures since being involved in an accident which left another driver dead, has welcomed the news.
Anna was driving along the A682 between Gisburn and Blacko in September 2002 when she was involved in a 100mph head on collision with an overtaking vehicle at Middop.
Anna, who was driving to a meeting from Rimington at the time of the crash, suffered a fractured kneecap, a head injury which has resulted in nocturnal epilepsy and continues to live with post-traumatic stress disorder.
A keen hockey player and runner with Trawden AC, Anna is still suffering from some of the injuries she sustained.
She said: “It is fantastic news about the cameras. It is all the way along the bad stretch and I think it might be job done.
“It shows that people listen and I am glad that they have sat round a table and tried to do something to make this road safer.
“Reducing the speed limit to 50mph from 60 would be the other main change I would like to see.
“But if there are signs everywhere reminding drivers about the speed limit and the average speed cameras people will think twice about speeding and overtaking.
“I read an article which said that every year £18bn is spent because of road traffic collisions and I think that anything that can be done to reduce that has to be a step in the right direction.
“But I still think that a 50mph speed limit would make a lot of difference.
“I know some people see the 60mph signs and just think ‘foot down’. But if they see a 50mph sign they wonder why it is there and start to slow down and think about things a bit more. It would have to be safer.”
The Lancashire Road Safety Partnership is made up of Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Lancashire Constabulary, the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, the Highways Agency and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service.
On Monday it announced that eight routes across the county where 13 people have lost their lives in collisions in almost six years are being targeted in a bid to cut down on the number of casualties.
The routes across Lancashire have seen a total of 406 casualties with 62 people suffering serious or life changing injuries since 2011.
Now the LRSP has given the go ahead for new average speed enforcement camera systems on the routes, with the hope of reducing the death toll and making the roads safer for all to use.
The first cameras were due for installation in Preston at the start of this week and all eight routes will have such enforcement in place by the end of the year.
The cameras will use number plate recognition technology to detect vehicles and calculate their average speed by measuring the time taken to travel between fixed points of a known distance apart. Average Speed Check signage will be used to inform drivers that they are entering an average speed control zone.
The introduction of the system is intended to positively influence driver behaviour and ensure that motorists comply with the set limits on roads, resulting in a safer environment for all road users.
Between 2011 and August 2016, on the stretch from the George and Dragon at Barrowford to Gisburn, there were 56 reported collisions.
In these incidents 33 people were injured and 23 suffered serious injuries or died.
The incidents involved cars, bicycles, light goods vehicles, HGVs, an agricultural vehicle and a bus.
Coun. David Whipp, Chairman of Pendle Community Safety Partnership, said: “This is a notorious stretch of road, which has been dubbed one of the most dangerous in the country at times.
“Installing average speed cameras is probably the most effective way of reducing speeding and cutting casualties.
“At times, the road has been part of a route used as a racetrack. The new cameras should put a stop to that. This is a very welcome initiative.”
Anyone detected breaking the speed limits will, where eligible, be given the opportunity to attend a speed awareness course to learn about the dangers of speeding, accept a conditional offer of a fixed penalty or for higher speeds the matter may be referred to court.
Geoff Whitehead, Community Safety Manager, added: “Pendle Community Safety Partnership has identified road safety as a priority across the whole of Pendle and we urge everyone to drive safely and sensibly on all roads across the borough.”
More information about the average speed cameras can be found on the LRSP website: www.safe2travel.co.uk/speed.
Late last year Anna Hollingworth launched her own petition asking the county council to look at the road.
Although she welcomes this week’s news she is still urging people to look at, and sign, her petition which can be found at council.lancashire.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?id=175 until next month.