Reader's Letter: An accident waiting to happen

Recently, and not for the first time, I was almost knocked down by a car when I was in the middle of a particular Pelican crossing in Wilmslow. I use this crossing a couple of times most days as I walk into and return from Wilmslow's town centre.

The crossing is an accident waiting to happen because of its badly positioned location at the top of Bedells Lane, a few feet before it bisects Chapel Lane and becomes Hawthorn Street.

My first brush with serious injury happened last summer in broad daylight. The driver of a vehicle travelling from Hawthorn Street failed to observe that oncoming traffic from Bedells Lane had stopped at the pelican crossing to allow me to cross.

He also failed to see me crossing. The car, a convertible, passed so close to me I could have reached out and touched the driver.

The latest near miss took place on Friday, 6th January. It was 4.30pm and daylight had faded into twilight. I waited at the crossing until a car coming up Bedells Lane stopped to allow me to cross. Mindful of what had happened to me previously, I checked for traffic from Hawthorn Street before setting foot on the crossing. There was a car approaching, but it was some distance away, allowing me adequate time to cross.

Half way across, I realised the oncoming car was bearing down on me at excessive speed, but my instincts told me that the driver had seen me and the car would slow down to allow me to complete the crossing. I was wrong. When I realised I could not reach the safety of the pavement a few feet ahead, I took a step backwards into the middle of the road and the car, travelling well above the speed limit, narrowly missed me.

Visibility was murky, but surely the driver must have seen me on the Pelican crossing. Then I saw that not only was neither of the two orange beacons flashing, they were not even lit.

Had the absence of a statutory visible warning been a contributory factor in my near miss?

I called 101 and told a polite policeman what had happened. He took my personal details, and assured me that something would be done about the beacons, and they would look into the overall safety of the crossing.

Today is Tuesday, 24th January. I've heard nothing from the police and the flashing orange beacons are still not working.

Welcome to the Golden Triangle.

Reader's Letter


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Ann Begley
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 8:24 am
Only yesterday we were queuing to come out of the Chapel Lane junction and 2 men were almost knocked over using this zebra crossing! It is dangerous but very necessary.
Rick Andrews
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 10:39 am
Zebra crossings are dangerous as many motorists are completely unaware of the rules requiring them to stop to allow pedestrians to cross or just choose to ignore them. If I remember correctly, the zebra crossing on Water Lane by Heddie's restaurant was changed to a Pelican crossing after a fatal accident. We should not wait for a similar tragedy to happen and need to address obvious safety issues.
The Beddells Lane crossing should be converted to a pelican traffic light controlled crossing, along with the ones outside Waitrose and at the end of Hawthorn Lane as soon as possible.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 11:27 am
I've had a couple of near-misses on this crossing myself, due to careless drivers.
I'm not sure that it complies with the "absolute minimum" of 5 Mtrs from a junction stipulated in the design requirements for crossings.
Surely the whole of Bedells Lane/Hawthorn Lane is crying out for a 20mph speed limit.
CEC should look at what Manchester have done regarding all residential roads being made 20mph to reduce pedestrian/cyclist casualties.
Colin Jones
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 11:49 am
According to Cheshire East Council Highways it is not necessary for a beacon at a zebra crossing to be lit and flashing. This is the inference I've drawn from my attempts to get CEC to repair the beacon light facing Swan Street/Bank Square for traffic approaching the zebra crossing on the Hawthorn Lane/Bank Square junction. This light hasn't been working for well over a year. CEC's reply to me in Sept 2016 was -
"The Zebra Crossing at Hawthorn Lane, Wilmslow has been assessed. At the time of inspection, there were no defects identified that were considered to present a danger to highway users.

We will continue to keep the highway safe for all users via our scheduled safety inspection regime, when any defects that fall within intervention levels will be identified and arrangements made for prompt repair".
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 1:41 pm
Colin, strangely that is the word for word response I received when reporting a deep flood across the entire road and also when lights on our road were out.
I can only think this is a consequence of giving off the Highways Department to a private company.
Stephen Moulton
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 4:30 pm
I have expressed my concerns to Cheshire East council on this matter. They said that someone would be sent to check on the situation. That was two weeks ago. Still no signs of improvement. I'll call them back...
Ashly Barber
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 5:12 pm
I have had many similar near misses where drivers take no notice of this crossing. It is particularly disappointing since this is a main route for Wilmslow High School children every day getting to and from school.

Why doesn't Cheshire East take action to improve your he safety at this crossing, when so many instances of drivers being unaware of the need to stop? There should be modifications made to reduce the speed of cars on this road.
Barry Stafford
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 5:30 pm
I also, have had a near miss, on a few occasions at this crossing. One young woman in a mini, so busy on her phone,didnt even see me. I have contacted Mathew, Town Clerk to have the lines re-painted.on the crossing, Almost invisible.Also the beacons are not good in twilight.Finally. every day several cars come out of the Health centre. the wrong way (one way out towards the church and Alderley Rd) and try to cross into Hawthorn St,or straight over into Chapel lane. There as been two serious crashes here ,due to drivers going the wrong way,on the one-way system .It is badly signed,leaving the Health Centre.Baz
Jane Bradshaw
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 5:40 pm
I witness the near misses on a regular basis that this article is referring to. I drive this route twice a day. I've watched appalling situations where the pedestrian(s) are either approaching the zebra crossing or actually on it, but vehicles still persist in driving in either direction!

When I was taught to drive, it was the drivers responsibility to be aware of pedestrians stepping towards the crossing. The driver should also drop down into 3rd gear if applicable. Drivers that belt across this crossing have a scant regard for human life in my opinion.
Bob Bracegirdle
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 6:53 pm
As I've said elsewhere, it was safer 50 years ago with Chapel Lane being he main road and Bedells Lane/Hawthorn Street (Pepper Street) being side road with a Halt sign.

As for people not knowing they have to give way at a crossing - how did they pass a driving test?
Alan Brough
Thursday 26th January 2017 at 2:40 pm
I took the above photo (second photo) at approx. 0830 this morning. The builders van does nothing to help the situation!
James MacDonald
Thursday 26th January 2017 at 11:13 pm
The crossing is in a poor location although that doesn't excuse any mindless motorists for not paying attention. I agree that all built up areas should have a 20mph limit. I know some will moan that it won't be enforced but you could say that about every traffic violation.
Marcia McGrail
Tuesday 11th April 2017 at 7:35 pm
Neither the council nor the government such that it is appear to have any interest in keeping us safe if it's not high profile/vote winning enough -
as far as they are concerned, our personal safety when out & about in public is on our own heads.
So whether crossings are in the wrong place/laughably inadequate road markings/pathetically irresponsible individuals are enabled to pass driving tests by equally inadequate examiners/unenforced laws etc etc etc, the phrase 'lions led by donkeys' can be our slogan..