Calls for changes to road safety rules after death of Mirfield mum

Highways chiefs in Kirklees have been urged to abandon restrictive rules that determine when safety measures can be introduced on danger roads.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 2:00 pm
Flowers left in tribute to Danielle Broadhead at the scene of the fatal crash on the A637 Barnsley Road at Flockton last year

The call comes after a coroner asked the authority to consider action to prevent future deaths on the A637 Barnsley Road at Flockton, after a young mum from Mirfield was killed and her two children injured.

Martin Fleming, senior coroner for West Yorkshire (Western), sent a Regulation 28 report to prevent future deaths to the director of roads and highways of Kirklees Council following the death last year of Danielle Broadhead.

Ms Broadhead, 33, lost control when her car clipped the kerb on a sweeping left-hand bend where a grass verge ends and a pavement begins. Her car collided with a tree.

Ms Broadhead died and her two sons, aged seven and 22 months at the time, were injured and taken to Leeds General Infirmary.

The coroner’s comments have led to a renewed appeal from long-time campaigners for improved safety measures.

Conservative councillor Bill Armer’s Kirkburton ward includes Flockton. He and colleagues have had what he describes as “a 10-year discussion” with council staff over the state of the road.

However he is frustrated at the response of highways officers who, he says, are sticking to West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership’s approach to road safety.

He said: “Essentially they will not act proactively and will only consider action if there have been four fatal or ‘serious’ accidents on a stretch of road in recent years.

“I appreciate that there are cost implications, but I object to this ‘no deaths, no action’ policy.

“To me it appears to be an indefensible position. They are putting money ahead of lives.”

He added: “We need more proactivity. Rather than waiting for another accident if there is an obvious danger it should be dealt with rather than hiding behind these guidelines.

“I understand that they have got budgetary restraints. Everybody has. But they seem to have abolished proactivity. It comes across as an unwillingness [to act].”

Kirklees Council’s strategic director for environment and climate change, Colin Parr, said: “Kirklees Council can confirm receipt of the report from the coroner. Ensuring the safety of all road users is a priority for the council and the report will be closely reviewed by our highways road safety team to determine our response.

“We would like to take this opportunity to offer our condolences to the family at this difficult time.”