Renewed calls for action after Cyclist killed on one of Britain's most dangerous roads
NE Lincs Council to discuss improving safety on stretch of A18 that has already claimed lives
A cyclist was killed on Saturday on a stretch of road near Grimsby named as one of the most dangerous in Britain, with a committee from North East Lincolnshire Council due to meet to address the issue next month following a series of fatalities there.
The cyclist, named on Monday as Graeme Walton, aged 64 from Melton Ross, died on Saturday morning when he was struck by a lorry as both headed southbound on the A18 between Laceby and Barnoldby-le-Beck.
The driver, a 48-year-old man from Lincolnshire, was arrested by police on suspicion of causing death by careless driving and released on bail until the end of January. The exact causes of the incident have not yet been established.
According to the Grimsby Telegraph, the A18 is known as a black spot for road traffic incidents and was last year featured on the BBC TV programme, Britain’s Killer Roads.
In July 2010, in its annual study funded by the Department for Transport and other organisations including the EU into Britain’s most dangerous roads, the Road Safety Foundation named a ten-mile stretch of the A18 as Britain’s most dangerous road for car drivers, once collisions involving motorcyclists were excluded.
Covering that report, the Daily Telegraph outlined some of the reasons that make the single carriageway road, where a number of people have lost their lives in recent years, so dangerous including deceptive bends, damage to the side of the carriageway caused by lorries and the difficulty of overtaking safely.
The Grimsby Telegraph reports that a meeting of a select committee of North East Lincolnshire Council will next month consider issues such as whether to reduce the speed limit on the road from 60mph to 50mph.
However, one local councillor, Philip Jackson, who himself lives in Barnoldby-le-Beck, said that speed was just one of the factors that needs to be addressed.
"I travel up and down the A18 most days, there are numerous blind spots and it is very difficult to overtake safely,” he explained.
"It is not just about cutting speed limits here, as this is not always the cause of an accident. More needs to be done to help reduce the number of casualties.
"Whether this means the introduction of road signs or other alternative safety measures I do not know yet. They will be ideas to discuss during our meetings – the first will take place on Thursday, January 17.
"The public are invited to attend these meetings, as the committee will be directing questions to the police and other road safety experts who have been asked to attend.
"It is devastating to hear another life had been taken because of this dangerous road."
PC Barry Gardner, casualty reduction officer at Humberside Police, has said that the speed limit on the A18 should be cut to 50mph.
Last month, at an inquest into the death of a mother of three whose four-year-old daughter was also injured in an incident in April this year, PC Gardner said: "It is a high-speed road. Fifty miles an hour is not an unreasonable limit and is what we are looking at,” adding that such a limit could be enforced through the deployment of average speed cameras.
Speed was not thought to be a factor in that case, but earlier this year, police crash investigator PC Stewart Cooke, speaking at a separate inquest into the death of a motorist in November last year who had lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree, said that the severity of bends on the A18 caught many motorists unaware.
Meanwhile, PC Gardner launched a campaign last month to try and reduce the number of cyclist casualties on the area’s roads. The initiative, called Cycle Bright, includes advising cyclists to wear hi-visibility clothing – the police are giving out free vests – as well as putting up signs at notorious black spots and urging motorists to give more room to bike riders.
"There has been a large increase in the number of accidents both nationally and locally,” said PC Gardner. "We want motorists to look out for cyclists, give them a bit of space.
"The devastating effect of a collision can last a lifetime, not just for the cyclist, but their families."
Jamie Ward of Alp-Action Ettridge Cycling Club said of Saturday’s fatality: “It's tragic to hear someone has been killed.
"In terms of cycling safety, I would say you should always wear bright clothing, a helmet and have lights on your bike all the time, so you can switch them on if it gets a bit dim.
"I would also say motorists need to give cyclists more space. I am sure they don't mean to, but they can pass very close to you.
"My dad, who is still a keen cyclist at the age of 70, was knocked off his bike on the A18 when a driver clipped his handlebars with his wing mirror as he overtook him," he added.