CROYDON COMMENTARY: Following the announcement that the council wants to introduce traffic calming measures along Imperial Way to deter dangerous speeding at the Croydon Cruise, AUSTEN COOPER says that we need a new approach to road safety – and fast
It should be noted that Imperial Way forms part of the (not very good) London Cycle Network route between Croydon and Sutton. It’s a shame that it has taken the death of motorcyclist Carl Simpson on Sunday, July 10, to lead to decisive action.
But all things considered, that’s a swift and commendable reaction.
Eight years ago, on another Sunday, July 20, 2008, a motorcyclist died on nearby Hannibal Way. That led to a rise in complaints and concerns from local traders. A police officer from Waddon Safer Neighbourhood Team responded at the time, saying glibly to a local newspaper journalist, “We are aware that motorcycles attend on a Sunday. I would like to reassure members of the public that these [meetings] have significantly reduced in number, as have the instances of dangerous riding.”
He hoped that the opening of Costco, near Imperial Way, would help drive away the bikers.
Complaints from traders back then were seemingly ignored, with one anonymous source saying, prophetically, “I’ve been to meetings with the council and police but it’s like watching a tennis match. They bounce the ball back to one another.
“As soon as the police turn up, they all stop racing and just stand there with a cigarette. Then when they’ve gone, it starts again. It won’t stop until somebody is killed.”
At the same time, an unnamed spokesperson declared that the council would happily work with the police in any operation in Imperial Way and would be able to provide CCTV evidence.
Despite these promises of action, it seems nothing happened.
Unfortunately, it seems deaths are what it takes to spur our council into action to tackle road safety, for example the two pedestrian fatalities at the same spot on Coulsdon Road in 2013 which resulted in a zebra crossing being installed at the junction with Cearn Way. But that was only after the coroner insisted the council do something.
Let’s hope that Councillor Stuart King will move away from an apparent policy of dealing with deaths and injuries after they’ve occurred on our highways, to another position of preventing them from happening in the first place.
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