A ROAD safety campaigner has welcomed a cut in the speed limit on one of Fylde’s most dangerous roads – but some say the move has come after too many lives have been lost.
The Gazette’s Enough is Enough campaign, which was launched in 2005, called on the authorities to change the speed limit and install speed cameras on the A584 Preston New Road which stretches from Clifton to Freckleton after a number of deaths on the road.
The speed limit on the dual carriageway had been the national standard of 70mph but this week highways chiefs finally put in signs reducing the limit to 50mph after years of campaigning.
Karen Paton, whose mother Doreen, 74, died on the road in 2003, said she was glad the change had been made.
She told The Gazette: “I’ve spoken to the policeman who attended when mum died – we can’t believe it’s taken nine years for them to do this.
“But I’m pleased it has been done.
“I was at my daughter’s last night wearing mum’s rings and my grandchildren were asking if they were their great grandma’s.
“It’s such a shame she’s missed out on all of this.
“Drivers use this road as a speedway and now hopefully they’ll stop.”
The Gazette campaign came after a string of deaths on the route.
Mrs Paton (inset) was killed when she was knocked over as she crossed the road near Greenfield Park. A memorial was later placed on the roadside close to where the crash took place.
Cyclist Daniel Coulter, 20, from Freckleton, died in June 2004 while crossing the road on his mountain bike. He had been badly injured in a similar crash on the road in 2002.
In 2005, Robert Banks, 84, from Freckleton, and Elizabeth Gardner, 73, from Fulwood, Preston, were killed after the Rover they were travelling in was involved in a crash with a BMW at the junction of Lower Lane.
And Hazel Lilley, 55, from Kirkham, died when she pulled out of a garage close to Clifton Business Park and her car collided with an oncoming vehicle.
Fylde Coun Tom Threlfall, from Freckleton, said: “I’ve always had an issue with that road.
“I love trees but when they’re in the right place – the avenue of trees there make it more dangerous for people to cross it.
“We’ve also campaigned in the past for better lighting along it. Any reduction in speed for safety reasons is welcome.”
Michael Hardicker, managing director of Signature Automotive on Clifton Business Park just off the A584, said he had seen plenty of evidence of cars speeding on the stretch.
He added: “It is well overdue. We welcome the move to keep the speed of the traffic down.
“Especially in the winter months, this will give people that extra bit of time to cross the road. It has been a long time coming.”
County hall bosses today said the changes had little impact on journey times but would help save lives.
County Coun Tim Ashton, who is responsible for the county’s highways, added: “There have been a number of fatalities on this road.
“We consulted on this reduction and there were no objections.
“I drive down there all the time and the reduction makes hardly any difference to journey times – so it is a price well worth paying for the extra safety on the roads.
“The stopping distance increases a great amount from 50 to 70mph so I welcome this change.”
Andy Ashcroft, highways manager for Fylde, added: “We’re currently putting in place a lower speed limit of 50mph on the A584 from Freckleton to its junction with the A583.
“We regularly meet with the police to look at opportunities to improve road safety and the reduction in the speed limit is a result of these discussions.
“The 50mph limit will be indicated with new signs and road markings, with further road markings to highlight some of the junctions.”