IN a statement to Hedon Town Council on Thursday (28th March 2015), Vicki Whittaker the woman who was knocked over by a car in the Market Place in March this year, made an emotional appeal for something to be done to prevent a similar accident from ever happening again.
The accident happened on 24th March 2015 when a car mistakenly lurched forward from the parking bay, went over the kerb knocking Vicki over and smashing into the front of Cooplands Bakery. Vicki was left with a severely injured leg and foot, leaving her unable to walk and needing crutches and wheelchair. She will require treatment for several months yet.
“I’m campaigning on this – not because I’ve had an accident – but because of my concerns that the next time it happens, it could be a school child that is hurt or a baby in a pram,” said Vicki who explained that the timing of her accident was in the afternoon at school-leaving time:
“At that time of day, lots of school children gather outside of Cooplands eating and talking; it could have been one of them that had gotten hurt or even killed. There’s a particular danger for children in prams too.
“I’m just keen that something is done to make the Market Place safer for everybody else. Yes, there’s been only two accidents in recent times; but the next one could be much worse!”
Vicki Whittaker’s statement came during Thursday night’s Finance & General Purposes Committee discussion on whether to support the proposal for new bollards in the Market Place. Normal business of the Hedon Town Council was suspended in order to giver her the opportunity to speak. Photos of Vicki’s injuries were circulated to councillors as well as pictures taken of the accident scene.
The East Riding Council had advised that the Town Council was free to submit ideas for safety measures on the cobbled road area of the Market Place, but any work such as bollards on the footpath would be ruled out because of the services that ran under the pavement including gas pipes.
There was little support in the council for the proposal to install bollards. As well as the costs implied (figures quoted from individual councillors ranged from £10,000 – £40,000 for different schemes) there were also the impacts on the street scene to consider. But chief among the concerns was that bollards might themselves become obstacles to bump into, or to be trapped against.
The idea of raising the kerb was suggested, but the advice from the East Riding Council had said a higher kerb would increase the risks of ‘washback’ into the shop fronts (when the street floods during heavy rainfall water currently drains away from the shop fronts). Another measure that needed further investigation was installing ‘wheel checks’ to prevent cars from parking too close to – and overhanging the kerb
A straw poll amongst councillors revealed that only one member (Cllr. Sarah Rommell) supported the idea of bollards. However, councillors agree that any dangers at the Market Place needed to be minimised. A proposal was supported to take the issue back to the East Riding Council with a request for them to recommend a solution.
Vicki Whittaker left the meeting glad that her concerns about risk of accidents and risks to life had been aired. Councillors in the meeting suggested that she contact the East Riding of Yorkshire Council and ensure that the Hedon Town Council’s resolution is considered by them alongside her petition and the photographs she had circulated.