What caused a fatal accident?

This is what you should see

Several years ago, there was a fatal road accident not far from my village. A lady motorcyclist descended a very short, but very steep, hill (about 11%) that ended in a T junction. Sadly, she failed to stop at the T junction and suffered a fatal side-on collision with another vehicle. In spring each year, the spot is marked by flowering daffodils on the verge, and each year I ponder on the circumstances of that accident. What really caused it to happen?

This short post is really a note to self: I must report a possible contributing factor to that accident.

I have no proof that it was, but it is certainly worth mentioning as a ‘just in case’ piece of evidence. Agden Hill is one of those climbs that I tackle several times a month, and occasionally I will return home on a route where I have to descend it. The descent is only about 200 metres, but the incline is such that you can gather speed very quickly, negotiate a sharp left-hand bend and suddenly……find yourself on top of the T junction. For anyone who is descending it for the first time, the sign warning

This is what you see as you approach the junction

of the invisible T junction is much too late and (when the hedgerow is lush with foliage) is hidden from view anyway.

A mere 80 yards (74 metres) from the junction, motorists are given their first warning of the danger. If they can see the sign, they may be going too fast anyway to make a safe stop. If they don’t see the sign (and that is likely throughout the summer months), the chances of overshooting the T junction are entirely feasible. The big question on my mind: did the lady see that warning sign in time?

Note to self: I must report my concern to the local highways authority!


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on November 19, 2012, in Aspects of Britain, Cycling UK and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Sad story, Frank, Time to carry some secateurs in the jersey pocket.

  2. Very sad 😦 and a thoughtful piece about why the accident may have happened. So often people blame the individuals, so it is nice to read a post that looks at other reasons. In this case, appropriate and visible signage. Your pictures tell the story and I hope the officials will listen!

  3. I spotted a similar hazard on my daily commute at a right turn off the old A50 north of Husbands Bosworth. The Summer leaves on the nearside hedge blocked the view of traffic approaching around the bend. I notified the County Council who ensured the hedge was cut when necessary. When they failed I reminded them. With the current financial cuts, the hedge cutting has apparently ceased. As I no longer commute, I no longer have the visual reminder to contact the council. Another fatal accident waiting to happen!

  4. Frank
    Strangely I have exactly the same thoughts every time I descend that hill. I start braking very early indeed. I prefer to take the long route via Great Staughton which is far less ‘tense’ a ride. Of course, as you may well know, Malcolm (our electrician) was the first on the scene that day.

    • Thanks for those reflections, Jonathan…….. and no, I was not aware that Malcolm was the first on the scene. I reckon the sign in question should be placed on the brow of the hill, giving ample warning of the T junction at the bottom. But I am told by some who know, that 80 yards is regarded as ample warning.

  5. OMG yes definitely report it quick!

  6. Wow, Frank thanks for the warning!

  7. Frank thanks for this and thanks for liking my latest story, Clouded Dreams. Your piece was an excellent reminder that we are all part of a community and that if we put off doing the important things, sometimes it will be too late! I look forward to reading more of your thoughts. Thanks again 🙂

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