'Serious action' needed on 'dangerous' Guisborough road after 12-year-old boy injured in crash

Natalie King and her son Michael and, right, in a wheelchair after the accident
-Credit: (Image: UGC)

Residents are stepping up the pressure on Redcar and Cleveland Council to provide a pedestrian crossing on a Guisborough road amid fears over speeding motorists.

A Facebook page was recently set up by parent Natalie King after her 12-year-old son Michael was hit by a car on Stokesley Road. She described the youngster coming home from hospital after treatment for shoulder and pelvic injuries he received with a crutch, sling for his arm and leg splint, while also requiring a wheelchair.

Miss King said the motorist involved was not at fault, but the collision brought into focus the lack of safe crossing points on the road and there had been community support for “serious action” to be taken. She said: “My son was lucky, but next time someone else might not be.”

The council previously installed speed activated signs which flash with a ‘slow down’ message when activated by speeding vehicles. It has also proposed additional road safety markings and a new traffic survey, while police have been requested to carry out speed monitoring.

But Miss King, of Spring Lodge Gardens, Guisborough, said these measures did not go far enough and at least two traffic lighted pedestrian crossings were needed on the lengthy route, which connects Middlesbrough Road with the A173 at Pinchinthorpe. She also suggested the council had failed to leverage in sufficient section 106 funds from house builders responsible for recent new estates off Stokesley Road to help pay for road safety and infrastructure improvements in the area.

Miss King, who aims to raise a petition to hand into the council, said: “If there had been a pedestrian crossing, Mikey’s first instinct would have been to use it and not just run across the road willy-nilly which is what the kids are used to doing. There are a lot of blind spots on Stokesley Road because it rises up and dips down.

"At 8am on a morning when the kids are going to school they can’t get across because it is so busy and at three or four o’clock when parents are doing the school run. Pedestrian crossings will only be an inconvenience to drivers who speed because the safe drivers will understand and respect the fact that pedestrians need to cross the road.”

‘Very busy, dangerous road’

Conservative councillor Julie Hart, who represents Hutton ward, said: “We have requested lots of things for Stokesley Road, it is a very busy, dangerous road. People have been campaigning for years and since becoming a borough councillor I have got more involved.

"We have two new housing estates with over 300 houses each and another new housing estate which is being built at the bottom of Nightingale Road.” Cllr Hart said a traffic count in September 2022 recorded about 50,000 cars using the road over the course of a week, of which 15% were speeding, and agreed at least two pedestrian crossings were needed.

She also suggested a more pedestrian friendly approach, to potentially also involve a connecting footpath to the nearby Guisborough Forest and Walkway visitor centre, would encourage some motorists to leave their cars behind for short trips and be of environmental benefit.

A car activates a slow down flashing warning sign on Stokesley Road, Guisborough
A car activates a slow down flashing warning sign on Stokesley Road, Guisborough -Credit:Stuart Arnold/LDRS

Cllr Hart added: “We have had a few bairns involved in hit and misses and a child was knocked down last week suffering broken bones, but nothing more serious, which is lucky. But it isn’t just kids crossing the road for school, we have an elderly population on the older estates around here who can have difficulty getting over just to go to the corner shop.

"We know the council hasn’t got the money just to give everybody what they want, but when it comes to anything being done we [Guisborough] are at the back of the queue. We are a good provider of revenue, but not a very good receiver of getting anything back.”

The council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, Councillor Carl Quartermain said that making the borough’s roads as safe as they could be was of the “utmost importance”. He said: “After listening to the concerns of pedestrians and drivers, I conducted a site visit across the length of Stokesley Road, along with the head of the highways and transport department.

“Following this visit, we will introduce additional safety road markings, resurface the worn red strip crossing point, and have contacted traffic police to monitor the road. I've also committed to a further traffic survey to establish if more pedestrian road crossing measures and enforcement are needed.

"These actions are on top of the existing speed awareness measures already in place which includes, speed camera signs, road markings and electronic signage, which activates when drivers exceed the speed limit. This road is 30mph and for good reason.”

When assessing requests for measures on the highway, councils must follow criteria set by the Department for Transport which caution the use of pedestrian crossings where pedestrian flows are generally light or light for long periods of the day. This is because “drivers who become accustomed to not being stopped at the crossing may begin to ignore its existence, with dangerous consequences”.

A previous survey on Stokesley Road in February conducted over a 12 hour period recorded only a low number of pedestrians in two locations, although the findings have been disputed by Miss King.