Last November Izzy wrote to our local Councillors and our Neighbourhood Police Sergeant and Police Inspector about the alarming frequency and seriousness of collisions on Billesley Lane. https://moseleylibdems.com/2020/11/30/action-needed-on-billesley-lane/
Since then we have received lots of assurances , repainted white lines and in March Vehicle Activation Signs were installed to monitor and record speed. https://moseleylibdems.com/2021/03/17/vehicle-activated-signs-for-billesley-lane/
What we have not seen is a reduction in racing, speeding or serious collisions.
Following two further bad collisions, both in the early hours, within the last 10 days Izzy has once again written to our local Councillors and Police. as below:
Dear Kerry, Martin, Tom and Neil
Last November I wrote to you all about the increase of serious collisions in Billesley Lane. Since that email at least another four serious collisions have occurred in the stretch of road between the One Stop shop and the Tennis Club. They are mainly situated at or near the two junctions, with Greenhill/Dyott and Oxford Roads. That is seven collisions in just over a year. The latest two collisions, within just over a week have occurred in the early hours. The majority of the collisions have involved young male drivers and speed is the biggest factor. These are not minor shunts. In every case cars have been damaged to such an extent they are written off. In some serious damage has been caused to property including garden walls, a front window and porch.
A recent email from the Highways Engineer Garry Dalton in response to local resident’s continued concerns sets out the criteria for assessing roads for traffic safety measures as follows:
“As you are aware the need for traffic safety measures are prioritised according to reported numbers of injury collisions with locations considered by the Capital Programmes teams for inclusion as a potential Local Safety Scheme. The Capital Programme team have recently evaluated all similar requests received to put together the Local Safety Scheme element of the Capital Programme for 2022/23 and Billesley Lane was not included. Typically, priority is given to sites that have 9 or more Road traffic collisions over a 3 year period, where injuries have been sustained.
The collision history for the length of Billesley Lane has been checked, for a period of 3 years to end of May 2021 to reveal that there have been three injury collisions recorded here. All three of these collisions resulted in slight injuries and speed was attributed as a contributing factor in only one of them.
This is not an exceptional collision history, in comparable terms, and therefore, based on this information, this location wouldn’t gain high enough priority for traffic calming measures when compared with other roads with adverse collision records”.
I don’t know when the criteria of 9 serious injury collisions over a 3 year period was decided or re-assessed, I suspect it was some years ago, but it seems more attuned to a motorway or busy A road rather than an unclassified road in a residential suburb. By insisting collision history has to involve serious injuries it does not take into account the big improvements in safety to vehicle occupants, such as seat belts, air bags and vehicle design . It does not take into account other factors that make the location so dangerous to others such as proximity to residential and community premises, a church hall used daily by children groups, sports club, allotments, garage, local shop and now a take away/ restaurant with associated high number of children, pedestrians and cyclists. Nor does it consider the layout of the road and factors that increase the likelihood of collisions occurring.
Another reason I believe the criteria is flawed is that police are attending fewer collisions, especially if no injuries are reported. That means evidence of drink, drugs (including increasing use of nitrous oxide) and excessive speed as factors is not being recorded or assessed. Neither are the police gaining intelligence on increasing use of vehicles by young men for racing and cruising. Yet, photographs obtained by residents often show the huge impact these collisions are having on the local community. However this information is not acted on which results in a negative view of the authorities and a reduction in community confidence and relations.
I would like to see a whole different approach to prioritising traffic safety measures based on a ‘near miss’ criteria involving the factors listed above rather than injury caused.
I would also point out that 20 years ago a fatal collision did occur in Billesley Lane when a cyclist was killed in the early hours by a driver who misjudged the bends. Following that collision the current speed humps and pedestrian refuges were put in place, however despite a rise in volume of traffic accompanied by numerous and increasingly serious collisions no serious attempt has ever been made to address the obvious issues with the layout of the road.
I am aware that the proposals for Tranche 2 of the Kings Heath / Moseley LTN are due to be released very soon. I am hopeful they include significant measures which will make a huge difference to the residents every day experience of living in or travelling along Billesley Lane. If they do not then I would urge you to reconsider the use of this years Ward Minor Measures Transport Programme. Would that be sufficient to install two chicanes at strategic points? At the very least some crash bollards could be installed to prevent vehicles leaving the road whilst consideration is given to what other measures are available and how to obtain funding.
I remember well Councillor Trickett , when talking of the traffic issues in School Road, insisting that the safety of children is not something that can be compromised. I appreciate everything you have been trying to do but sooner or later someone is going to be killed in Billesley Lane in an incident where the warning signs have been apparent for years.
Very best wishes