Rosie Cooper MP is campaigning to prevent further tragedy on West Lancashire roads following recent fatal crashes in her constituency. Rosie was shocked by Department for Transport figures showing that in 2007, 92 people were either killed or seriously injured on West Lancashire's roads 11 of them children - and pledged to make West Lancashire roads safer.
In January 2007, Karl Sealey Bond, aged eight, died when he was hit by a car while crossing Digmoor Road in Skelmersdale. Rosie Cooper MP joined friends and relatives of Karl Bond on a march in Skelmersdale on the road where the crash occurred, to highlight the problems of road safety for young children. She is also campaigning for more pathways and crossings on major roads, as people are avoiding the underpasses due to anti-social behaviour. When the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears MP, visited the constituency in September, Rosie took her to visit the site of Karl Bond’s crash where his mother had put up a banner in memory of Karl and as a reminder of the dangers on the road.
Following a crash in October 2008, in which Lathom High School pupil Christian Willis, 14, was hit and killed while crossing Houghtons Road in Skelmersdale, Rosie called a meeting with local police, district and county council officers, the Cabinet Member for Schools and the headteacher of Christian's school. A second meeting was held the following week to identify specific actions to improve safety on the road.
Rosie secured agreements with the Council to install a Speed Indictor Device (SPID) on Houghtons Road, as well as agreements to tidy up pathways near Lathom High School and provide better lighting to encourage pupils to use the safer walking routes to and from school.
Rosie has called on Lancashire County Council to reduce speed limits to 20mph outside schools and on other routes where there are concerns for residents safety. She is also planning a speed reduction initiative in the New Year, with local police. This aims to educate and raise awareness of road safety issues within the local community and specifically amongst young people. As part of this, Rosie is working with local councillors to deliver petitions asking residents to support the campaign to make roads safer.
Road safety is also an issue Rosie has written about in her regular newspaper column, Cooper's Commons, in the Advertiser newspaper series. Rosie has also issued a number of press releases highlighting the problems and issues relating to Houghtons Road and what progress is being made to ensure children are safer walking home in the evenings.
Rosie says: "Keeping children and pedestrians safe is a major concern in areas like Skelmersdale which as a new town had many roads built without pavements. Some people don’t feel safe enough using the paths and underpasses to get around so it is not uncommon to see people walking on the road alongside fast moving traffic."
“In West Lancashire the solutions to the problems of road safety vary as the challenges differ between the rural and urban roads.
“Following recent fatalities involving children, I am calling for a reduction in speed limits, especially outside schools and I am working with the police, schools, and local authorities to improve walking routes, provide wardens to make our roads safer and to do whatever it takes to stop this dreadful waste of lives.”
If you know of a dangerous road in your area, let Brake know by calling our Zak the zebra hotline on 08000 68 77 80, and Brake could help you campaign for road safety improvements.