Sinn Féin's Ian Milne and Sean McPeake have called for more safety measures to be implemented at the Castledawson Roundabout.
Mid Ulster councillors have raised concerns over the safety of motorists travelling on the A6 Castledawson Roundabout after it emerged a total of 51 people have been injured as a result of road traffic accidents there over a five year period.
The worrying statistics, which were obtained through a freedom of information request from the PSNI, show that 30 collisions happened at or within 50 metres of the roundabout between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2021.
Of these collisions, one was serious while the rest were described as 'slight collisions'.
As a result there were 51 casulties – one person sustained serious injuries while the other 50 were classed as being 'slightly injured'.
Of those injured, 29 were drivers and 19 were passengers.
The other three included two motorcyclists and a pedal cyclist.
The figures relate only to collisions where an injury was involved and reported to police. It is understood the PSNI do not collect data on damage only collisions.
Sinn Féin's Ian Milne and Sean McPeake last night said that they have been inundated with reports concerning motorists' experiences negotiating the roundabout and the number of accidents and ‘close shaves’ that are occurring.
One local motorist who uses the roundabout twice a day on their commute to and from work has expressed concern.
“The junction I am having serious issues with is people exiting from the Magherafelt Road on the left lane and going around the roundabout to Castledawson which under the rules of the road they are within their right to do.
"My issue is that cars are pulling out of this lane onto the roundabout in front of cars already on the inside lane that are taking the exit for the Glenshane Road and are cutting them off.”
The motorist claims they have narrowly escaped being involved in collision twice in a fortnight.
“There needs to be more signage as to which lane road users should be in to exit at their designated road safely and I feel that the left hand lane exiting Magherafelt should be a left turn only exit to the Glenshane Road to stop drivers cutting off those coming around the roundabout on the inside lane.”
Councillors Milne and McPeake have now requested that additional road safety measures are implemented on the roundabout and its approach to make travelling much safer.
The representatives say that everything should be looked at in order to improve safety on the roundabout.
Councillor Milne said: “For some time now Sinn Féin has been raising the issue of road safety for those transversing this roundabout with DFI and PSNI.
"Many motorists whom I speak to are greatly concerned about travelling on the roundabout due to their negative experiences of fast moving traffic and in particular with several feeder and exit routes in close proximity within the roundabout making transversing the roundabout itself particularly hazardous.
“I have spoken to many motorists who have been involved in accidents which they feel are due to no fault of their own, but due to the sheer volume of traffic, the speed of vehicles on the roundabout and an absence of clear directional signage or traffic light management systems.
“Following representations to DFI on the roundabout safety concerns in February 2022, DFI agreed to carry out a review of this roundabout’s signage and road marking scheme.
“Unfortunately the outcome of the review has seen no actions or improvements since.”
Councillor Sean Mc Peake added: “As a member of Mid-Ulster Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) and a local resident who has experienced the challenges whilst travelling the roundabout, I felt obliged to delve deeper into the actual number of accidents that have taken place on the Castledawson Roundabout within the last five years.
“After submitting a Freedom of Information request to PSNI seeking the numbers of accidents on the roundabout, I was absolutely astonished at the FOI response, which really confirmed my concerns regarding safety on the roundabout.
“These figures are truly shocking and in themselves are significantly underestimated as they only include incidents of accidents which have been reported to police. These do not include the many minor scrapes or near misses that have went unreported.”
Councillor Milne added: “Sinn Féin will continue to request that appropriate traffic safety measures are implemented on this roundabout to ensure the safety of the many thousands of motorists who travel along this section of this busy A6 daily.”
When contacted about the issues, a spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure said: “The Department can confirm it has new directional signage and road marking programmed for installation on the approach to the Castledawson Roundabout from Magherafelt.”
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