Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pedestrian Safety Call after Latest Bus Crash

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pedestrian Safety Call after Latest Bus Crash

Article excerpt

Byline: Ruth Lawson Reporter

AN INJURY lawyer has called for pedestrian safety to be on the "top of the agenda" after a woman was hit by a bus in the city centre.

John Davis, partner and serious injury specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said measures such as pedestrianising parts of Newcastle's busy shopping district could help prevent further accidents.

His call for action comes after a woman in her 50s was struck by a Stagecoach bus as she stepped out at a crossing on Grainger Street on Tuesday. Luckily, she walked away with minor cuts and bruises to her face and hands.

This is the latest in a growing list of incidents involving buses and pedestrians in the city centre and Mr Davis saids the issue needs to be addressed before someone is killed.

He said: "We have a lot of cases for people who have been hit by buses. It seems there's a number of different contributing reasons. First of all, buses in the city centre have always mingled with pedestrian traffic which is not a great situation to have. Also, a lot of pedestrians mis-time the speed of buses and just don't see them or pay attention.

"There is a bit of an issue about how roads are engineered and about how pedestrians can be kept separate from buses. There's this concentration of bus traffic in the city centre which makes it more of a problem. Also, you have people coming out of shopping centres with lots of bags or kids and there's that going on too."

There have been a number of collisions involving buses and pedestrians in Newcastle throughout the year including one in August, when a 78-year-old woman was taken to RVI after being hit by a bus at the crossroads of Newgate Street and Grainger Street.

A few months earlier in June, police were called to Grey Street, close to the Theatre Royal, where a woman had been knocked over. Also in June, a 27-year-old woman was left fighting for life after being struck by a bus at Percy Street.

In 2012, emergency services were called to more than 10 incidents of buses hitting pedestrians.

"I'm a road user and I'm a pedestrian and there are some parts of the city centre that don't feel that safe for pedestrians," John added.

"The city council are obliged to look at road safety when there's been cluster of accidents. I don't know if they are doing that but if not they ought to be."

Newcastle City Council introduced a city centre-wide 20mph limit several years ago in a bid to make Newcastle's streets as safe as possible.

Peter Gray, head of highways and local services at the council, said: "I am sorry to hear about this accident. The city council takes very seriously all traffic accidents which result in personal injury.

"All of the main shopping streets in our city centre carry a 20mph speed limit for public safety and we were one of the first councils in the UK to implement mandatory 20mph speed limits in all residential neighbourhood streets in the city. …

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