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NewsAstonishing video shows 11 cars crash in four weeks at road narrowing...

Astonishing video shows 11 cars crash in four weeks at road narrowing scheme

AN ASTONISHING video shows 11 cars crash into steel bollards on a quiet street in just four weeks.

The road narrowing measures were introduced a decade ago to stop HGVs using the road in Watford, Herts.

Resident Tim Vigor, who says hundreds of cars and vans have crashed since, set up cameras to record the incidents over the past month.

Woodmere Avenue in Watford, Hertfordshire, has reportedly always had width restrictions in place, to prevent HGVs using the road as a shortcut.

The width restrictions in Woodmere Avenue – in the form of an island and steel bollards on either side of the road – even claimed a police van in the past month.

Tim, a 52-year-old HGV driver, has been sharing the videos to a local Facebook group, capturing unaware drivers at the exact moment their vehicle hits the bollards.

The video captures vehicle after vehicle colliding in almost identical manners with the kerb and the bollards.

Some vehicles approach the narrow lane at speed whilst some crawl through – yet all end up in the same situation, as they mount the kerb on the passenger side and are stopped in their tracks by the bollard.

This causes all the vehicles to bounce up on their passenger side due to the impact – with one of the cars doing so at such force that smoke pours out of the bonnet.

The video has gained hundreds of likes and comments on social media, with users up in arms about who the fault lies with.

A screenshot of one of the cars crashing on Woodmere Avenue in Watford.
Cars are being lifted several feet off the ground when they collide with the bollards.                                        (C) Tim Vigor

Hollie Pebbles Mooney said: “It’s fully drivers! Not the bollards that are the problem. I don’t care what anyone says it’s not the width restriction that’s the issue.”

Roger Beaumont commented: “These people are doing this deliberately to claim on their insurance or to try and claim through the highways agency!”

Jake Tierney proposed: “Before the car reaches the post, it looks as if people are confusing the drop kerb as part of the road and misaligning themselves approaching the restriction.”

Martin Laing replied: “It’s about time they were lifted. HGVs don’t turn up that road anymore; they use the link road.”

With neither the local council nor the National Highways said to be taking responsibility for the catastrophic design flaws, residents are their wits’ end.

Councillors and representatives of the highways agency have reportedly visited but it is claimed little is being done.

A photo of some of the damage the width restrictions in Watford are doing to cars.
The bollards are leaving some cars with thousands of pounds worth of damage.                            (C) Kellie-Louise Rawlings

Speaking today, Tim said: “What they did when they altered this width restriction is that they put the posts directly in line with the kerb. 

“They didn’t set them back off the kerb, six inches or so into the pavement. My next door neighbour’s got a drop kerb so when cars approach the width restriction they don’t know whether they’re on the road or the pavement.

“So as you approach, if you are on the pavement, the first you know about it is when you go up the first kerb straight into the post. That’s why all the vehicles are taking off on one side.

“Residents have been going to the council for the last ten years. We had our councillor Stephen Cavinder, and Dave Swan from the National Highways here on the 21st September.

“Whilst we were all standing there, a woman approached driving a Range Rover Velar, and Dave Swan said “Oh this’ll be funny – a woman driver, she’s going to crash” and he started laughing.

“My wife pulled him up on it and he said “Oh I’m really sorry, it’s just a nervous laugh”, but this is what we’re dealing with. It’s destroying people’s cars and this man thinks it’s funny.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. I started recording it because there were five accidents in three days – five big ones

Google Maps view of the width restrictions in place on Woodmere Avenue in Watford.
Residents believe the accidents are being caused by a drop kerb just before the narrow lane.                      (C) Google Maps

“Every day there’s something out on my driveway because every day, something hits it. 

“A van went through and scratched the wheel arch but I bet that’s still £100-£150 worth of damage. There’s about ten of those every single day. 

“Noone stops because it’s just a scratch, but even if it did £500 worth of damage every single day – not including the big crashes and the cars that are written off – over ten years that’s about £1.3 million in just little incidents. 

“They refuse point blank to do anything about it because it’s all about liability.”

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said today: “The width restrictions on Woodmere Road are there to discourage drivers, particularly of large and heavy vehicles, from using this residential road as a through route, while allowing buses to use the road as normal.
“We are aware that some local residents have been unhappy with the width restriction, and we have reviewed and improved the white lines and signage around the restriction to make sure drivers are well aware of the upcoming width restriction.

“There are also two other routes in to Woodmere Avenue, without width restrictions, for vehicles which are too wide or for drivers who choose not to go through the width restriction for whatever reason.
“The location does not meet the criteria for inclusion in our safety engineering programme, and drivers do have to take responsibility for knowing the width of their vehicle and navigating the restriction at a safe speed.
“Officers continue to liaise with stakeholders to consider options and the reported issues at this location.”

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