Can I take this opportunity to mention once again, for the benefit of anyone out there with teenagers, that not for the first time I had a small group of schoolgirls walk straight out in front of my car this morning. They all had mobile phones clamped to their ears and were laughing and giggling. The young will be the young and they should enjoy it while they can, but sometimes the difference between life and death can be just a split second of thoughtlessness. It's happened so many times to me now that if I see a group of young people heading towards the kerb I immediately come off the gas and cover my footbreak.
Not all drivers are old fogeys like me and, heaven forbid, if I'd been a boy racer this morning, or someone with less experience, or simply someone in a hurry, then some of those young girls could have been seriously hurt or worse.
Pleeeeze pass it on to your young ones.
What terrible terrible news. My thoughts go first to the family and friends but then, leap to try and understand what happened. I am eager to know, to explain, to learn and am now impulsively jumping to conclusions to get some thoughts out there and concerns to prevent any repeat.
A potential accident on St George's Road has been on my mind for a while now. I live by this road, cycle, walk and drive on it and have watched the road become more dangerous this year as TfL's new policy of removing fences led to the removal of all along on this route from St George's Cathedral south towards to the roundabout at every junction including that with Garden Row... it has made the road more elegant and hopefully earned TfL some money for their scrap metal but it has increased the propensity of pedestrians to wander across any point of what is a wide and quite empty road with bursts of traffic between the lights. Of course the driver who collided with this terribly vulnerable child may well be at fault here, perhaps they skipped a light or perhaps even careered onto the pavement, but at the risk of jumping to conclusions I fear this accident might highlight the naivety of the fashionable trend of 'naked streets' and shared space which is appropriate and an improvement for all road users in some places but just doesn't fit with red routes, especially not dual and triple carriageways as deceptively quiet as St George's Road. TfL are learning from their mistakes quickly and have already reinstated fences along the centre of the link road by the Shopping Centre having removed them earlier this year. But incredibly TfL have mooted plans to put even more traffic on St George's road (supported by some Garden Row residents who envisage their road becoming a cul-de-sac as a side effect) when St George's Road would benefit most from are traffic calming measures to slow the bursts and make it a better corridor for all users of the space including motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, the many school children in the area and residents - narrow carriageway, wider pavements, cycle paths and then in that context perhaps shared space begins to make sense.
I have seen (the aftermath of) three accidents in that area this week. As my bus went past the closed road yesterday, where St George's Circus meets the bottom of York Road, there was a cyclist on the floor receiving attention from the police.
Also, on Tuesday morning (I think), on the way to work, I saw a woman by the Northbound bus stop on London Road sitting on an ambulance stretcher on the road itself, with blood all over her face. Not sure what happened there.
I recently dialled 101 and voiced my concerns to our local police about a controlled pedestrian crossing near where I live. More and more motorists seem to be treating the red light there with sheer contempt. I no longer cross on my green light, or even when the bleeper sounds. I wait until I'm sure the approaching cars are actually stopping. I've witnessed cars not only going through the red light, but also when the bleeper is sounding and people have actually begun to cross.
The response I got from the police officer, albeit in a most polite manner, was that if he had a pound for every time he heard the phrase, 'An accident waiting to happen,' he'd be a very rich man. He added that only after not one, but a series of accidents in one spot, will the matter be investigated as to the causes and possible measures to prevent further accidents.
Not much consolation to the dead, the injured or their loved ones.