Time to act on danger crossing in Peterborough

The RTC at the Bridge Street crossing last week
The RTC at the Bridge Street crossing last week

A main road crossing in Peterborough city centre could be redesigned after a cyclist was seriously hurt in a collision - the seventh incident in less than three years.

The cyclist, a man aged in his 20s, was involved in the collision with a lorry at the Bridge Street crossing of Bourges Boulevard.

A cyclist was injured in January

A cyclist was injured in January

The man suffered head injuries in the incident on Friday morning, and police said he was still in a serious condition - but said his injuries were not life threatening.

Peterborough City Council said the crash is the seventh recorded at the crossing since the beginning of 2015. There have been calls to redesign the crossing in the past following a series of incidents earlier in the year.

Accidents included an 8-year-old boy being injured in a collision as he rode his bike in March, a male cyclist being hurt in January and a man in his 60s suffered head injuries in December.

Today, cllr Peter Hiller, Peterborough City Council Cabinet Member for Growth, Planning, Housing and Economic Development, said: “Given this crossing has been in place since Bridge Street was pedestrianised many years ago and has enjoyed a very high safety history since that time, quite why we’ve experienced a small number of unconnected incidents this year is difficult to understand, and we don’t yet know the reasons for this recent accident.

A man was hurt in December

A man was hurt in December

“I’m sure most users exercise responsibility and awareness when they’re crossing here and I’m unsure quite how this could be made much safer, but I’ll ask our Peterborough Highway Services engineers to review all aspects of the crossing without delay.”

A spokesman for sustainable transport charity Sustrans said major changes could be made to make the crossing safer. He said: “As the city continues to grow, especially with the development of Fletton Quays, there will be more and more people wanting to cross Bourges Boulevard at the Bridge Street crossing.

“With this in mind, we would encourage the council to enact their city centre strategy, which acknowledges that Bourges Boulevard is a significant barrier, and there is a need to reduce the number of non-stopping vehicles using Bourges Boulevard.

“Other local authorities have looked at adding countdown timers, adding more time between signal changes, adding ground level lighting or putting crossings on a speed table to improve the safety at crossings, and these could be looked into. However, we also believe downgrading Bourges Boulevard at this location could be considered, with a focus on reducing the volume and speed of vehicles.”

A boy was hurt in March

A boy was hurt in March

Crown Court Judge Sean Enright wrote to the Peterborough Telegraph in a civilian capacity in February, and led calls to alter the crossing, saying unless changes were made, there was a danger a fatality could occur. His calls came after three accidents in five months.

Following Friday’s incident he wrote another letter to The Peterborough Telegraph, again in a civilian capacity. He said: “Some months ago I wrote to you pointing out that I had witnessed three collisions in six months at the Bridge Street pedestrian crossing which links two pedestrian precincts in the city centre. In each of these collisions a pedestrian was injured. I pointed out that a fatal collision was inevitable at some point. The response from the Council was that all was well and no action was required. Since then I know there have been two further collisions and in the latest, a person was seriously injured. Are we really going to stand by and do nothing until a fatality occurs?

“I write this letter because I work in the city centre and I use that crossing every day as do thousands of others. I see people crossing here many of whom are old, young or disabled. The dangers of this crossing are self evident and something needs to be done.”

Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya did not respond to The Peterborough Telegraph’s request for comments at the time of going to press.

Speed lowered

In August Cllr Peter Hiller dismissed concerns about safety at the Bridge Street crossing, saying nobody had been “ploughed into” from his memory. He was making the comments in a debate surrounding the future of Rhubarb Bridge, located just a few miles further up Bourges Boulevard.

The bridge, which provides a crossing for pedestrians and cyclists over a busy roundabout has been threatened with demolition - to be replaced by road crossings described as being similar to those seen at Bridge Street/Bourges Boulevard.

The stretch of Bourges Boulevard between the Queensgate Roundabout and the Rivergate Roundabout was reduced from 40mph to 30mph in 2015.

Following the latest incident, at the crossing Clair George, from the SaferPeterborough Prevention and Enforcement Service, said: “We urge people to take care when using any pedestrian crossing in the city. When you cross the road at a pedestrian crossing don’t be tempted to take risks, make sure you wait for the ‘green man’ and for any traffic to stop before you start to make your way across.

“With the arrival of the darker autumn and winter days the Prevention and Enforcement Service is reminding people of the importance of being safe and seen when out on, or near, the roads and for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to take particular care over the months ahead.”