‘Make danger junction safe’

Pete Coleman at Morrison's traffic lights. (1501273AM2)
Pete Coleman at Morrison's traffic lights. (1501273AM2)

A father-of-two is calling for safety improvements at a notorious junction after his daughter was involved in a car crash.

Pete Colman, of Sandringham Road in Ripon, contacted the Gazette after a car driven by his daughter, Lauryn, 18, and another vehicle collided on Harrogate Road outside Morrisons supermarket last week.

“The feeling I got when Lauryn phoned to say she’d been in a crash I wouldn’t wish on anybody,” said the 63-year-old, who works as a part-time painter and decorator at Ripon Racecourse.

The collision between Lauryn’s Vauxhall Corsa and a Toyota Yaris, driven by a 21-year-old man from Hartlepool, happened at the junction on Thursday, January 22, at around 5pm.

Though Lauryn and the Toyota driver were unhurt, Lauryn’s best friend – who was in the front passenger seat – suffered injuries to her left-side which have left her needing to use crutches, and Lauryn was taken to Harrogate District Hospital for checks. Mr Colman said the car belonging to his daughter – who is a sixth former at St John Fisher High School, Harrogate, and also plays as a goalkeeper for Leeds Ladies women’s football club – was a write-off.

He said: “It could have been a lot worse. You can replace a car but you can’t replace a life.”

Mr Colman is now calling for North Yorkshire County Council to introduce more safety measures at the junction, including only allowing traffic to turn right into the supermarket on a green filter arrow when south-bound traffic is stopped on a red light. Currently, motorists driving in each direction can both have a standard green light.

He also thinks the junction layout is cluttered and would like to see the pedestrian crossings spanning the width of the supermarket entrance removed, with an alternative pedestrian route provided including push-button operated crossings at Morrisons’ goods deliveries road and at the zebra crossing nearer the petrol station which links to Harrogate Road and Quarry Moor Lane.

“There have been so many bumps and crashes down there with bollards not replaced and bent railings that it’s getting to look like a disaster zone.

“I want people better qualified than me to sit round the table and make the junction as safe as we possibly can get it.”

Less than a year ago, in February 2014, a Gazette story featured retired dentist Helen Smith, who was calling for safety improvements at the junction after a spate of accidents.

Mrs Smith blamed the layout of the junction and the “confusing timing of signals” at the spot where, according to county council figures, there had been four collisions with nine casualties in the previous four years, including two people who were seriously injured.

Each of those collisions involved vehicles turning right into the supermarket and crossing the paths of vehicles heading south away from the city centre.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said: “If the staging of the signals were to be changed so that northbound and southbound traffic runs separately, the overall signal cycle time would be increased significantly which would result in lengthy queues and traffic congestion at busy times of the day.

“The purpose of the filter light is to clear any queue of vehicles that wish to turn right at the end of the full-green signal stage.

“We cannot comment on the provision of new pedestrian crossings as the road into the supermarket is not maintained by North Yorkshire County Council. However, the existing signal-controlled crossings provide a safe facility for those who wish to walk along Harrogate Road.”

– Do you think safety improvements should be made to the junction and, if so, what? Send your views to news@ripongazette.co.uk or write to us by post.