Coroner calls for action as bypass 'presents a danger to life'


A coroner has called for action to be taken by Cheshire East Council to prevent further deaths on the Alderley Edge Bypass.

Mrs Jean Harkin, Assistant Coroner for Cheshire, has issued a Regulation 28: Report to Prevent Future Deaths to both Cheshire East Highways Department and the Chief Executive of Cheshire East Council following an investigation into the deaths of three members of the same family on the A34 Melrose Way in November 2018.

The inquest into the deaths of Liyakat Sidat, 47, Salma Sidat, 41, Hajra Sidat, 14, concluded that all three of them had died as a result of a road traffic collision having suffered multiple injuries.

Mr Liyakat Sidat was driving his Toyota Yaris on the A34 Alderley Edge Bypass on Sunday, 4th November. He overtook two vehicles on a bend and collided with an oncoming minibus at 12.04am. Mr Liyakat Sidat, his wife and his daughter sustained fatal injury.

Mr Liyakat Sidat and his daughter Hajra Sidat died at the scene and his wife Salma Sidat, died at hospital.

The family, from the Old Trafford area of Greater Manchester, were travelling in the car along with a nine-year-old girl and a 19-year-old woman, who were taken to hospital. Additionally, a number of casualties from the minibus were treated at the scene and taken to hospital.

In her report, Mrs Harkin stated "During the course of the inquest the evidence revealed matters giving rise to concern. In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is action."

The matters of concern which she raised were:

  • The A34 bypass (Melrose Way bend) presents a danger to life.
  • The Melrose Way section has no continuous white line at the bend section preventing overtaking.
  • Other coroners have issued Regulation 28 Reports yet there has been no implementation of any new measures.

She added "It is dangerous to overtake on that stretch of road witness evidence referred t how dark it was and lives are at risk if overtaking is allowed to continue there.

"In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you and/or your organisation have the power to take such action."

Following this tragic accident in November 2018 a petition was set up calling for calling for action to be taken to improve the safety of Alderley Edge bypass and for the A34 Melrose Way to be made a well lit dual carriage way. The petition was signed by over 4,300 people.

There have been three fatal accidents on the A34 Alderley Edge bypass, as a result of which six people sadly died, and many other serious collisions on this three mile stretch of road since the £52 million bypass was open by the former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on November 19th, 2010.

In November 2017 two people died in a road traffic collision on the Alderley Edge bypass when a Ford Fusion traveling towards Congleton was in a collision with a Ford transit van traveling in the opposite direction. Sadly the driver of the Ford Fusion, an 85-year-old man, and his passenger, an 82 year-old woman, died at the scene. Both were from Newcastle-under-Lyme.

In September 2013, 11 year old Flynn Morrissey died after being involved in a head on collision with another car on the A34 Alderley Edge bypass. A red Porsche crossed into the opposite carriageway on a bend in the road and into the path of a Ford Focus being driven Flynn's mother by Nicola Clifford. Mrs Clifford had been taking her two sons to school. One was a front seat passenger, the other, 11 year old Flynn Morrissey, was in the back. Sadly Flynn sustained fatal injuries in the head on collision.

I have requested a copy of Cheshire East Council's response to this report which must contain details of the action taken or proposed action to be taken, setting out the timetable for action. Otherwise the Council must explain why no action is proposed.

Alderley Edge Bypass, Melrose Way


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

Kiesha Humphreys
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 11:25 am
I really hope something is done quickly. This is a poorly designed stretch of road which has already claimed too many lives. My thoughts are with all the families who have suffered a loss.
Wayne Jaffe
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 11:30 am
The road is dangerous due to the behaviour of some drivers. Driving too fast and overtaking where it is unsafe. A double white line would help at bends. However people even drive into the deep floods that we have had so how can you make it 100% safe, unless turn it into a cycle highway and send all the cars through Alderely Edge and the 30mph limit? The question is, is this road more dangerous than others?
James MacDonald
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 11:37 am
From the Highway Code:

DO NOT overtake if there is any doubt, or where you cannot see far enough ahead to be sure it is safe. For example, when you are approaching

a corner or bend
a hump bridge
the brow of a hill.

Unfortunately I see drivers do this every day, but without fatal consequences, usually just lots of sounding horns, flashing lights and general gesticulating arm signals.
Jon Williams
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 11:38 am
The road is unsafe and badly designed, C/E cut costs from the start
Diane Walker
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 12:39 pm
As someone else has said, double white lines in the middle, but not just on the bend, but on the whole length of the road? It's not very long for goodness sake, why does anyone have to be in such a hurry that they find a need to overtake? Life is worth a bit more than saving a few seconds!!!
Roger Thawley
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 12:43 pm
A road which was conceived as a dual carriageway and then under-funded, so that became impossible. Time to widen it and turn it into the road originally planned.
Brian Tickner
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 2:08 pm
Here we go again! More traffic restrictions being requested after poor driving incidents. This road is not unsafe if drivers observed the Highway Code. Where will it end? Bring back the red flags?
Barry Buxton
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 2:11 pm
Roger Thawley is exactly right!
Eric Butterworth
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 2:45 pm
the Alderley Edge By-pass is indeed a dangerous stretch of road and I completely agree some of the other comments posted on here. I have driven that road many times and have encountered impatient drivers overtaking , some times with complete disregard for the safety of and respect for other road users . For goodness sake . Put white lines along it’s whole length and there will less chance of more fatalities . The alternative would be to install speed cameras which are a definite deterrent to the speedsters .
Richard Burgess
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 2:57 pm
I have used this road many times since it opened,
I have found it ok but if you over take two cars on a bend you are asking for trouble ,you can’t take account for people doing the wrong thing a double white line would be very helpful,
It’s so sad about the loss of these people,it is a very fast road it should have a lower speed limit.
Richard Holman
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 3:30 pm
I agree with Richard Burgess. The deaths were regrettable but were the result of poor driving. My wife and I were lucky to avoid a head on collision one night when a driver coming the other way decided to overtake no less than 3 vehicles
although our headlights must have been clearly visible. The bypass is what it is and there is no point in pining for a dual carriageway or lighting. There are simple and more cost effective measures available - white lines and a speed limit of 50mph
Richard Holman
John Harries
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 3:31 pm
It's a relatively short stretch of winding/undulating single carriageway; regardless of what it should have been in terms of design we are where we are and as a result, a number of tragic accidents have occured, IMHO due to bad driver behaviour. Given the present traffic density and the 60mph(?) speed restriction, overtaking in most places is at the least, downright unwise and dangerous.
I'm pleased the Coroner has placed the obvious on record and urgent action should now follow otherwise a dereliction of duty must be directed to the relevant authorities in the event of further tragedies.
In the very short term
- double solid lines (or a narrow hatched central reservation) can expeditiously be added to the road surface - this will not prevent reckless overtaking but it will reinforce the legal position
- National Speed Limit repeater signs (preferably speed triggered/illuminated type) would further remind drivers of their obligations
- speed averaging controls at either end (if properly implimented and managed) will trap and punish transgressors by financial or other restrictive legal means - and with reasonably immediate effect
It's not brain surgery so get on with it CEC
Simon Rodrigues
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 6:41 pm
Well I've said all along this road is illegal two solid white lines is what it should have and broken lines where it is deemed safe to overtake the bare minimum. The road signs do not reflect the danger of the road and also vehicles that do leas than 40mph should be banned from using it like tractors so many of them. Hope the families get justice..
Carolyn Parkin
Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 9:04 pm
Roger Thawley Is the only person with common sense and the correct observation. Make it a dual carriageway as intended. Cyclists do not use the cycle tracks and having two of them is ridiculous. Lowering speed limits will only aggravate the situation. A dual carriageway is needed.
Simon Worthington
Thursday 9th January 2020 at 9:28 am
The whole bypass from Stanley Green south is poorly desogned and built with adverse cambers and a complete B******* of the M&S area.
To overtake two vehicles in a Toyota Yaris five up is asking for trouble. There was a suggestion at the time that the driver had assumed it was a dual carriage way.
Perhaps if some of the enormous funding sucked up by the centre of the known universe (London) will now allow for this road to be turned into a dual carriage way as originally planned.
Given the appalling standard of driving, collisions (they are rarely accidents) will continue to occur.
Jon Williams
Thursday 9th January 2020 at 9:35 am
Carolyn, Cyclist do use the cycle path, plenty do (it's a combined path for walkers and cyclist)
Russell Young
Thursday 9th January 2020 at 10:34 am
Double white lines would be a simple and effective solution, supported by police patrol unmarked car enforcement, to catch those overtaking. I've lost count of the number of times some fool has overtaken me on that road, because of my outrageous adherance to the speed limit.
Jerry Dixon
Thursday 9th January 2020 at 12:05 pm
I am struggling to understand the argument that this lightly used road should be made a dual carriageway in order to mask the inability of some people to drive sensibly and safely.
Stuart Redgard
Tuesday 14th January 2020 at 11:19 pm
#Jerry Dixon

I am of a similar opinion. In this instance my olio is that it's clearly human error on the drivers. A tragic error of judgement that cost him his life and also the lives of his wife and child.