Sunday, December 16, 2007

Red light jumpers

Jon Hunt writes:
In the last ten days or so I have witnessed at least five vehicles jump the red lights at my local traffic light junction, where Perry Avenue meets Walsall Road.

When I say jump the lights, I don't mean going through on orange, I mean going through on red.

This suggests there are some incredibly dangerous and stupid drivers on our roads. I wonder whether this is unique to this junction or whether it's happening elsewhere.

Either way I'll be writing to the Chief Constable asking for action. I'll also in future be taking notes and details of vehicles myself and reporting them.

The latest and possibly the worst incident happened today, Sunday, at about 10.30am. Six cyclists, in yellow jackets, including children, approached the junction. It was obvious they were intending to cross to Church Road. As I was turning left and was directly behind them, it would not have been possible to safely overtake them so I waited for them to cross through the lights before attempting to go through the lights myself.

As I waited I heard a hoot behind me. Then the lights changed to red and I stopped. A white car, racing-type saloon car with rear wings, shot past me, through the red lights and turned right onto the Walsall Road. The car was dusty and had scrawled on it something like "...kill" and "don't hunt" (ironically).

A few days ago I crossed the Walsall Road to catch a bus on the pelican crossing just past Perry Avenue. The pelican went on green (and its traffic lights on red - I checked) just as the exits from Perry Avenue and Church Road went onto green. As I was almost halfway across, a small white van with a woman driver shot out of Church Road and zipped past me, over the pelican crossing. The people of Perry Barr were mercifully spared a by-election!

On another recent occasion I was crossing on green from Church Road to Perry Avenue when two cars shot up the Walsall Road in my path. To be frank I didn't take in what was happening, but my teenaged children were with me and confirmed that in their view, those cars must have jumped the red lights on the Walsall Road.

The first incident didn't place me in any personal danger but rather dramatically drew my attention to the problem. In this case I was crossing on foot to Perry Park to catch a bus during the rush hour when a car skidded round the left hand bend from Walsall Road to Church Road just after the lights switched to red. As it happened a truck was turning into Church Road, doing the right turn from the Walsall Road, where there is a green filter light. Again a narrow escape.

These are several narrow escapes but given what I have seen I fear for the safety of people using this junction.

We all know that traffic lights can be a nuisance and frustrating. But if you don't understand that driving is about give and take you shouldn't be behind a wheel. Traffic lights are there to share road space out fairly - and that includes pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists.

So let's get reporting...

2 comments:

Betty said...

On two occasions recently I have been waiting at a red light in Perry Avenue when a car has overtaken me to turn right onto the Walsall Road.
Another danger is even closer to your home Jon. It's the small roundabout at the junction of Perry Avenue, Derrydown Road and Crantock Road. It is very rare for a car to actually go around it when approaching from Crantock to turn right into Perry Avenue. This includes the big concrete mixer trucks which frequently use the road. Great care needs to be taken to avoid a head on collision when turning right into Derrydown from Perry Avenue.

marty said...

Not just your junction sir, tonight on my way home past Barton Arms, Newtown Baths junction, I stopped at the orange and two clowns shot through on the red.There used to be a camera here but it has long been unmaintained and covered by branches.
MRT Birchfield residents Action Group (www.brag.btik.com)