Scene at the Hospital level crossings recently

See Newsflash at the end of this article

The current road markings on the approaches to the level crossing on Brindle Road in Bamber Bridge are an open invitation for impatient drivers to overtake standing traffic waiting to pass over the crossings. Time and time again we and other concerned residents observe this very unsafe and antisocial manoeuvre carried out not only by privately owned vehicles but by company and public service vehicles as well. However, this latest photo taken by a local resident illustrates the height of lunacy carried out by the driver of this very large truck who played follow-my-leader with another idiot who thought it clever to beat the queue by driving down the opposite side of the road. The end result was inevitable. With standing vehicles on both sides of the road it was impossible for the vehicle in the photo to complete the crazy manoeuvre - Result? Total gridlock with the traffic going back many hundreds of metres in all directions.

When this problem was originally highlighted, LCC made a rather half-hearted attempt at resolving it. The alterations made little if any difference to the way that traffic use and abuse this 3-way junction. With the possibility of a further 500+ houses being built on land off Brindle Road, this situation can only get worse and we believe that it is only a matter of time before a serious accident occurs.

However, we do believe that although the congestion will always be an issue, the passage of traffic can be made much safer by (1) Creating a yellow boxed grid at the crossing, extending for a calculated length at both approaches and (2) Adding double white lines for a considered length on both approaches. These two actions will make it very clear to all drivers that when the barriers are down they should neither enter the grid or cross the double white lines at any time.

No doubt there will be some petty regulation to deter this preventive action taking place so let's wait for the first major accident before someone in authority asks 'What can we do to stop this happening again?' Well you don't have to wait - Do it NOW!

                       Read on for earlier news regarding this issue



Our article concerning the recently added 'Keep Clear' road signs at the Hospital Inn level crossings certainly stirred things up. Our in-box has been full everyday since we published the article and as yet no one has had a good word to say about the so-called safety improvements. In fact most have been downright scathing and without some severe editing, virtually unprintable. However, we did promise to air the views of local residents and therefore here are typical samples of the many comments received, suitably edited.

Resident1 - 'Suicide Corner efforts have been a complete fiasco. Who ever came up with the road markings in that position should be looking for a new job! If the crossing lights are flashing or the barrier is down traffic coming from Bamber Bridge should have to queue from behind the 2nd entrance/exit of the Hospital Inn. A sign should be erected stating clearly what is expected.However no matter what is put in place there are certain drivers who will ignore requirements but what has been achieved so far has not improved the safety on this particular stretch of road. If anything it has made it worse.'

Resident 2 - 'I too have been perplexed by the two 'Keep Clear' road markings.  I can only assume that they are interim measures. At the Planning Committee meeting where the Miller Homes development was passed, it was said that monies from this development would ensure that a 'Boxed Junction' would be created at the Hospital Crossings.  No mention was made of 'Keep Clear' markings.  I have to say that I wasn't sure how a Boxed Junction would work, but I know that the 'Keep Clear' markings are certainly not working and in fact are making the situation more dangerous than it was before.'

Resident 3 - 'I use the junction a couple of times a day, on foot and in a car.  On several occasions, the 'Keep Clear' marking on Brindle Road has been ignored, and a vehicle is parked on it whilst waiting for the gates to open.  Also, drivers attempt to best guess the movement of traffic over the crossings, and, indeed, the gates themselves, and then get stuck on the 'Keep Clear' marking.'

Resident 4 - 'Drivers familiar with the road, seem to assume that they now have the right to overtake, with abandon, any queuing traffic, and two lanes of vehicles going towards the crossings in the one carriageway are becoming common. Even the local buses are guilty of this insane manoeuvre.' 

Resident 5 - 'What about the poor pedestrian? Did no one think of him/her?  At least before the markings were put in place,a number of considerate drivers approaching the crossings along Brindle Road,did stop at the first bollard. This meant that pedestrians could cross at the peak of the bend, being able to view all three directions.  Now,vehicles are seemingly encouraged to go beyond the 'Keep Clear' marking, so blocking pedestrians from crossing at this relatively safe point.'

Resident 6 - 'It would be interesting to hear how Highways and our Councillors, who boasted about having won the markings,envisage the system will work?'

Resident 7 - 'Not made any difference at all.Traffic still overtaking stationary vehicles in each direction. I was behind a car, which was actually stopped on the road markings on the Hospital Inn side!'

Resident 8 - 'In answer to you question, this is a series of photos taken from inside the Hospital on2nd April 2015 about 15:00 hrs. (See photos below). Further to this I am aware that there has been two accidents at the junction, one on the 7th March when the road was closed at about 23:00hrs. The other one occurred on the 31st March car at about 19:30hrsand involved a scaffold wagon and two cars. Both cars had to be towed away as they were not drivable. I’m not sure if anyone was hurt at either incident but know that the police were involved.'

Resident 9 - 'When I first saw the size and positioning of the 'Keep Clear' road markings adjacent to the crossings I checked the date, expecting it to be April 1st. If it were not so serious it would have been the perfect scenario for an 'April Fool' lark. What this junction needs are signs and markings that are clear and unequivocal. I suggest road signs to be positioned 20 metres or so back from both approaches to the junction. The mandatory instruction on the signs to read thus; 'WHEN LIGHTS FLASH ALL TRAFFIC TO KEEP CLEAR OF BOXED AREA' The signs would have flashing red lights that were activated at the same time as the crossing lights. The road area between the 2 signs to be then suitably hatched. The cost of this improvement could be partially if not fully borne by Miller Homes who at the planning stage promised such an implementation to local residents as a sweetener for the go-ahead to aid the acceptance of their housing development.'

We love this last one and believe it could be the perfect solution. There were many more emails, all with a similar message,which we believe is an accurate indication of just how unsafe this junction is in its present condition. This is a situation that can only worsen when all the prescribed housing development in the area is completed. Along with all the concerned residents, we at the BBB urge the relevant authorities to take note of these concerns and come up with meaningful solutions, sooner rather than later before we hear the dreaded wail of the ambulance along Brindle Road.

We have left the original article in place for reference purposes that includes some other possible solutions, which although they may not fully address the problem they would certainly be an improvement to the current situation.

Again we ask, what do you think? We at the BBB would like to see a flood of objections to the current situation, which we would certainly pass on to the relevant authorities in the hope that someone will realize that the majority of local residents can't all be wrong.
For some encouraging news on this and other local issues, read the results of the recently held Action Group meeting on page 1f.



With the new 'Keep Clear' road markings now in place adjacent to the Hospital Inn level crossings on Brindle Road/Bank Head Lane, our roving reporter decided to pay a visit to the area to assess if these markings were making the junction any safer.

After many minutes of careful observation, he had to admit that he was baffled as to just how these markings were supposed to make the junction safer. As the barriers came down, the first vehicle from the Brindle Road side went past the 'Keep Clear' marking and stopped with the intention of turning right when the barriers rose (see photo 2). The second vehicle stopped, duly observing the 'Keep Clear' instruction, which created a gap of about the length of two cars. On the Bank Head Lane side the 'Keep Clear' gap is about the same length but the markings are positioned about three to four car lengths from the junction. Again the instruction to keep clear was observed, which appeared pointless when the queue began again after the markings (see photo 1).

During the period of observation by our reporter it was noted that vehicles from both directions, not going through the level crossings, were still pulling out into the opposite carriageway to escape the queuing traffic,with the usual number of 'near misses' observed when opposing vehicles met head on.

After much head scratching, our reporter had to admit he could see no improved safety aspect with the current positioning of these 'Keep Clear' road markings. On his return to the office a staff meeting was called, with the editor asking for suggestions as to how the existing situation could be improved. Here are the results from that meeting.

(1) On both road approaches, make the 'Keep Clear' markings about four to five car lengths long, stretching back from the actual level crossing point. This would create a clear safety zone for vehicles crossing to the opposite carriageway in order to by pass the queue of standing traffic waiting to turn over the level crossings.

(2) Alternatively, to extend the double white lines on the Bank Head Lane side up to the junction (see photo 3) and to add double white linesup to the junction on the Brindle Road side (see photo 4). This should be a positive deterrent for drivers pulling out into the opposite carriageway and should funds allow, traffic movements could be monitored by the addition of CCTV cameras.

In conclusion it was agreed that whilst option 2 was theoretically the safest, there would no doubt still be those impatient drivers that would pull out in order to by pass the queue, making collisions more inevitable.Option 1, whilst not actually giving authorization for this dangerous manoeuvre, does at least offer some protection for those drivers who feel entitled to perform it.

You have read how we at the BBB feel about the so-called improvements at this notorious junction. How do you feel about it? Have Lancashire County Council done enough? Is the junction any safer? What would you do in an effort to make it safer? Your views are invited and all submissions will be published. 


Newsflash 1

It would be a foolish person that believed that the current situation for road users at this notorious junction will not worsen after the twin housing developments off Brindle Road have been completed. There is little doubt that the new road markings introduced some time ago to assist the traffic flow have been as useful in this aim as an ashtray on a motorbike. A plea to local LCC councillor Barrie Yates has met with some success as he has taken up many of the suggestions made by local residents to improve the current situation and presented them to the appropriate LCC department.

Whether these suggestions will be acted on is another matter. Let's hope that they are and although any changes made will not remove the current problems, they will hopefully assist in reducing them.

Newsflash 2

Suicide Corner lives up to its reputation - 13/01/22

Although we do not yet know how this happened, it will be of no surprise to local residents and those who regularly travel this route. It has now become a regular practice, when the crossing barriers are down, for vehicles coming from either directions to overtake the standing traffic with fingers crossed that there is not another idiot attempting this manoeuvre from the opposite direction.

As it stands now, it appears that there is nothing unlawful about this foolish manoeuvre and vehicles of all shapes and sizes, including trucks, buses and even police vehicles practice it on a daily basis. An attempt was made some time ago to prevent this happening by adding 'KEEP CLEAR' signs on the carriageway. They have proven to be useless and totally ignored anyway.

To prevent impatient motorists overtaking standing traffic, this dangerous junction needs urgent attention NOW before a fatality occurs. In the past, local residents have suggested a number of preventive measures which can be read in the earlier section of this article.

We are not suggesting that the residents have the answers, but surely there are a few 'Traffic Control' experts within LCC that can figure out a solution that makes it unlawful to overtake standing traffic at this notorious junction.

We at the BBB, and many local residents, eagerly await some positive action from the relative authority. However, in the meantime we are not holding our breath.

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