The lives of children and cyclists could be in danger, as fears over the safety of the Leighton Buzzard bypass grow.
Keen runner, Mark Kleanthous, 53, is now anxious of attempting to cross to the other side of the A418 and A4146 dual carriageway, as despite sticking to the speed limit, the traffic flow is frequent and fast, making crossing a hairy experience and yielding waiting times up to nine minutes (click on the video to see how long it took Mark to get across on one day last week).
Mark, who also cycles frequently, reports that since the bypass was built in 2007, the danger of crossing has significantly increased due to volume of traffic and because a much desired footbridge, campaigned for before the road officially opened, has never been built.
“I feel the council have neglected their duty to make the road safe. It is about time that at least a pelican crossing is in place so the young and elderly can cross the road with confidence, “ said Mark.
“A car driving at the speed limit can still hit a person after they have started to cross the bypass when there is nothing coming, with it taking four seconds to cross to the central reservation but less than three seconds for a car to appear and drive past. The stopping distance is not sufficient.
Mark can recall eight incidents between pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles along the A418 and A4146 and believes that if action is not taken soon, their could be a fatal accident.
He added: “The children go back to school in September, when it will be getting dark.
“If something is not done, then it is only a matter of time before a child gets fed up with the waiting times and takes an unnecessary risk. “However, the cost of a pelican crossing is around 1/50th of the cost of a police inquiry into a tragic death.””
Mark, a performance coach for athletes, who moved to Wing 26 years ago, used to enjoy travelling to Leighton Buzzard before the bypass was built, but now he and his companions are so fed up that he believes a protest may be on the cards – especially as his wife Claire, 51, even feels safer cycling in London!
Councillor Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services at Central Beds Council, said: “ The introduction of a crossing at this location would need to be considered as part of the council’s Local Transport Plan.
“This is an on going process with the next refresh due for 2015/16 and we are implementing the 14/15 schemes now.
“We will pass the comments and suggestions on to the Local Transport Planning team, but requests need to be considered in the light of all traffic pressures across Central Bedfordshire, with the potential usage by pedestrians, the level of local support and – of course – the costs to introduce such a measure being taken into consideration.
“We are always improving the roads in Central Bedfordshire and are constantly measuring and testing road schemes, so comments like these are a considerable help to us.”
What’s your view on the safety of the road? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.