Church warden’s appeal for safety measures on country’s most dangerous A road

Terry McElligott, 59, says a lack of delay between traffic lights at the junction is putting pedestrians at risk of injury or even death.

A Cliftonville church volunteer is appealing to Kent County Council to put in safety measures for people who need to cross the Ramsgate Road at Westwood – especially at the Enterprise Road junction.

Terry McElligott, 59, says a lack of delay between traffic lights at the junction is putting pedestrians – particularly children at the Westwood Centre – at risk of injury or even death.

The St Paul’s Church volunteer has timed the delay between one set of lights going red and the opposite side turning green and says people have no more than two seconds to get across safely. He also says the ‘island’ in the middle of the road is not adequate and should have railings.

He added: “This is where children get on and off buses to go to school classes on the estate behind B&Q and Hornby.

“I have seen them in the mornings rushing across the road in front of the traffic to get across. It is so dangerous.

“The speed needs to be brought down from 40mph to 30mph, which is what it is on the rest of that stretch of road.

“There are accidents on this road nearly every day but I feel KCC are finding excuses to get out of their safety responsibilities here. All it needs is proper sequencing and a lower speed limit but they keep fobbing me off. It is one of the most dangerous A roads in the country, why wouldn’t you want to make it safe?

Photo by John Horton

Last year insurance firm Ageas produced a dangerous roads map in partnership with the Road Safety Foundation. It found the A254 Margate and Ramsgate Road  stretch had worsened over the last three years with an average of seven fatal and serious crashes each year. A third of these involved a motorcyclist, almost half were at junctions, and almost as many involved pedestrians or cyclists.

The report named the road as the most “persistently highest risk road” in the country and said there had been 21 serious or fatal crashes on the stretch between 2014-2016- 33% involving motorbikes, 43% pedestrians and cyclists and 10% rear end shunts. Some 48% were at junctions.

In correspondence to Mr McElligott KCC’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport and Waste Mike Whiting says that using the authority’s crash data for three years up until June 2018 there were 17 recorded personal injury crashes in that part of the road with four crashes occurring between 30 June 2017-30 June 2018.

Cllr Mike Whiting

He added: “An analysis of the causation factors of the crashes in this part of Ramsgate Road show a proportional number of crashes being caused by driver error – misjudgement of speed, not looking properly – and injudicious behaviour such as following too closely or travelling too fast for road conditions.  Two crashes involving cyclists were as a result of mechanical failure. There were no crashes involving pedestrians.

“Whilst we have invested significantly in the A254 over recent years, it is clearly not possible to engineer out mechanical issues and it remains very difficult to design out where people make mistakes when driving or drive in a reckless manner.”

Cllr Whiting said  Kent Highways would continue to monitor safety of the A254 would take action if remedial measures were appropriate

He also said a 30mph limit would not be considered as speed limits in Kent comply with the guidelines provided by the Department for Transport to ensure a consistent approach across the county.

He added: “A speed limit that is unrealistically low is likely to result in non-compliance.

“Within urban areas a 30mph should apply in “built-up areas with development on  both sides of the road” whereas a 40mph speed limit should be considered on areas with little development, with a good road width and layout and where  buildings are set back from the road. The 40mph part of the Ramsgate Road fulfil these criteria.”