Hit drivers where it hurts, say safety campaigners

October 04 2018

A GROUP of concerned residents have offered the city council a solution to the ongoing saga of a notorious Fishponds junction.

Some drivers coming down Fishponds Road towards the city centre frequently flout the 'no left turn' signs and drive into Hockey's Lane while pedestrians are using the pelican crossing, located immediately around the corner.

There have been frequent near-misses since the ban was brought in seven years ago but despite numerous campaigns, nothing has been done.

A recent near-collision has led to a group of residents getting together and researching what can be done to make the area safer. They are now calling on people to support their plan by contacting Bristol City Council online.

Their solution involves fines for drivers ignoring the ban and resequencing the lights to allow for an 'everybody walk' phase, when road traffic in all directions is stopped to allow pedestrians to cross.

It has been posted on the Facebook page of Greater Fishponds News and Views, along with a link to the road safety concerns section of the council's website.

Resident Kate Brooks said: "The no left turn at Hockey's Lane is currently routinely ignored by motorists, despite road signs. Cars regularly swing across a green pedestrian crossing and there have been too many minor incidents and near misses including the elderly, children and cyclists who have been knocked off their bikes. We have been lucky so far that there have been no serious accidents or fatalities.

"For a long time now many of us have felt this is an accident waiting to happen - there have been numerous incidents, so far luckily only minor ones. 

"No solution is going to satisfy everyone but warning and fining drivers and ideally installing a camera is a start."

Kate said the 'everybody walk' phase is already in use at crossroads in Staple Hill and Downend. 

"This is a simple cost-effective solution, which would only cause minor delays to traffic but could save lives," she said.  

"We need to let the council know what we want.

 The left turn ban was introduced as part of a package of measures to speed up bus services.

Since then Fishponds Library has relocated and Aldi supermarket opened, increasing the number of pedestrians in the area. 

The latest plan has received support from members of the Facebook group, with one describing it as "the most sensible cost effective solution."

Others complained about the state of the current signage. "The sign painted on the road is very faded now," said one group member. "

But one protestor wasn't hopeful about rephasing the lights, arguing that the council was unlikely to agree to anything which slowed down traffic on such a busy road.

Campaigner Pauline Shaw said: "We hope that a discreet police presence, fines for offending motorists and a camera will quickly get the message across and prevent any further near misses or accidents.

"However, the ideal solution would be an 'everybody walk' with all traffic lights on red, so that pedestrians are assured that they can cross in complete safety."

Eastville councillor Mhairi Threlfall, the city council cabinet member for Transport and Connectivity, said: "Although the majority of drivers approach Morrisons, Aldi and the library as signposted, a few drivers are still turning illegally left at the Hockey’s Lane junction. This is incredibly dangerous for pedestrians who are crossing the road at this time. 

"After reviewing the junction and increasing the visibility of signs to highlight the banned turn, it’s clear there is a need to ensure that this junction is properly enforced. I am working with the police to develop an effective multi-agency approach to tackle this very serious issue. We are also asking for anecdotes, and I would like anyone with an experience at Hockey’s Lane to get in touch with their story."

She called on residents to email her at cllr.mhairi.threlfall@bristol.gov.uk.

To support the campaign for a change at the junction online, visit bit.ly/2IsdgJC