Residents in the St Peters Road area are appealing for better signs and questioning when Kent County Council will fix the broken traffic lights near the spot where nine-year-old Brandon Wells was killed in 2009.
The lights are in the area where the ‘ghost bike’ marks the tragic loss of the St Joseph’s Primary School pupil who had been riding his bike when he was killed in a collision near to the junction with Broadley Road. They have been out of action since November 20 after being ‘demolished’ in a collision.
Margate councillor Rob Yates says he spoke to some residents from Broadley Road while he was out inspecting foot and cycle paths and how safe they are for users.
He said: ““I bumped into local residents who were inspecting the broken traffic lights on St Peters Road, and they told me that the council is not responding to their emails asking for better signage.
“They highlighted that as they slow down to turn off into their road, which is in the middle of 50mph St Peters Road, they have cars overtaking them into oncoming traffic, risking all their lives.”
Cllr Yates says safety on St Peter’s Road is just one part of a wider issue in Thanet.
He said: “Cycling and walking infrastructure around Margate and Thanet in general needs urgent improvement. Between Margate and Westwood Cross we have safe unofficial paths for pedestrians and cyclists that are alongside farmers’ fields, but they are just mud tracks.
“Separately the official paths are prone to starting and stopping randomly, and currently guide you to the broken traffic lights on St Peters Road that are strewn with crash debris.
“These specific traffic lights have been reported as broken and I am looking into the signage for residents on Broadley Road. The key point is that we need better transport infrastructure.
“We need safer transport for children, for drivers, for pedestrians and for cyclists. The statistics on Road Traffic Accidents in Thanet are shocking. Looking at Kent County Council data we have the highest numbers of child Road Traffic Accident casualties in Kent. And since November 2021 we have had three cyclist deaths.”
There have been more than 450 pedestrian casualties on Thanet roads between 2015-2021, the highest number in Kent. During the same time period there have been some 300 cyclist casualties in the district, the second highest in the county with Canterbury recording the highest number.
Thanet also has suffered the largest number of traffic incidents involving youngsters under the age of 15, with 69 between 2015 and 2021 with Swale the next highest recording 47 incidents.
In St Peter’s Road there have been numerous collisions during 2020-21 but all bar one, where a man on a mobility scooter suffered a head injury, have been listed as slight. No fatalities on the road have been recorded in that time period.
The statistics were raised during a road safety meeting in Ramsgate, reported by The Isle of Thanet News last month.
Cllr Yates, who also spoke at the Ramsgate meeting, said: “I am more passionate than ever that Thanet needs someone dedicated to working on Thanet’s transport, cycling and walking strategy in order to reduce the high number of casualties.”
A Kent County Council (KCC) spokesperson said: “We are aware that one of our traffic light poles at St Peters Road, Margate, was demolished following a crash on 20th November.
“Our highways team attended the site the same day to ensure the route was safe and programme in the works required to reinstate the traffic lights.
“A part that is not routinely stocked was required, which arrived this week, and we are working with our contractor to ensure this work is booked in and completed as soon as possible.”