Surrey County Council to look into A217 'safety boards'
COUNTY council bosses say they will consider removing "safety measures" on a busy road if casualty figures back up drivers' complaints that they are dangerous.
The wooden panels are intended to stop drivers coming up Wray Lane and Gatton Bottom, pulling onto the A217/Reigate Hill too early, but have been described as a "farce".
The Mirror reported last week how, since the panels were put up in January, there have been at least six accidents there, accounting for more than a third of reported crashes at the junction in the past year.
Michael Hale, 62, of Brighton Road, Salfords, uses the A217 daily and is also a member of nearby Reigate Hill Golf Club.
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He said: "It is unbelievably senseless to have put these clumsy big boards up. They do nothing but increase the probability of adding to the string of prangs already seen on this road.
"In the last couple of years I guess I've witnessed at least five crashes, where cars have pulled out from Wray Lane or Gatton Bottom and been hit by a car coming along the main road. This can only be made worse now because the boards obscure their vision further."
Mr Hale described the boards as a "farce to safety" and added: "I think those most likely to have a crash are people who are used to the road, because all of a sudden they're confronted with a blindspot, but they're used to being able to swing out onto the M25 and won't take caution."
Rebecca Wright, of Cockshot Hill, Reigate, said: "I am always wary when driving towards the junction because loads of times I've had to break suddenly when a car has pulled out from Wray Lane. But now I can't always even be sure if a car is coming and it's probably the same for drivers coming towards the main road from Wray Lane."
The Mirror conducted its own survey between 9 to 9.30am on Monday. Our reporter witnessed three cars travelling along the A217, having to break suddenly, due to vehicles coming from Wray Lane or Gatton Bottom.
And one car had to come to a complete standstill when a mini-van pulled out of Gatton Bottom to turn right onto the A217. During the half-hour stint another two cars and a lorry had to sound their horns at the junction.
A Surrey County Council spokesman said previous measures to reduce casualties at the junction including signs and lines hadn't had the desired impact.
He told the Mirror: "We are grateful to those who have drawn to our attention the January incidents. Once we've received that month's casualty data from the police, we will be in a better position to comment.
"If our monitoring suggests that drivers are having problems as a result of the scheme, which was introduced to reduce casualties, not cause them, we will remove the panels," he added.
However, the council says it may not receive all "damage-only" collision data as this is not required to be reported to the police.
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