Dog walker raises safety fears at Sunderland roundabout after cyclist hit by car

Sheila Stothard, of Swinhope, Rickleton, walking with her dog Daisy, who is concerned about  undergrowth on a roundabout that blocks the view of traffic on Bonemill Lane, Washington

Sheila Stothard, of Swinhope, Rickleton, walking with her dog Daisy, who is concerned about undergrowth on a roundabout that blocks the view of traffic on Bonemill Lane, Washington

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A DOG-WALKER today raised safety concerns about a roundabout after a cyclist was hit by a car.

Sheila Stothard, 67, has branded the stretch of Bonemill Lane, in Rickleton, Washington, a “serious danger and hazard” and is calling for improved maintenance at the spot, which often has thick undergrowth which restricts drivers’ visibility.

Earlier this month, a 33-year-old cyclist was knocked off her bike at the roundabout in rush-hour morning traffic. Her injuries were not thought be serious.

Sheila, a part-time midday school supervisor, is among dog walkers who regularly use fields near Bramhall Drive to exercise their pets.

“There’s supposed to be a 30mph limit, but very few drivers travel at that speed,” said Ms Stothard. “The shrubbery is terrible. It’s like a thick curtain that stretches around the roundabout.

“You can’t see what’s coming down the road and the drivers can’t see you.

“It’s pretty much the only spot you can use to cross the road.

“There’s a subway, but there’s water seepage, even in the summer, and it’s often filled with rubbish and broken glass.

“You don’t feel safe going through it.

“I’ve even seen motorbikes being ridden through it.

“Farther down, there is no pavement and the trees are very close to the road, so you can’t walk along the side.”

Ms Stothard is calling for better maintenance on the road, which is a popular commuter route.

“A lot more could be done to keep it in better condition,” she said. “I’m told that it’s allowed to grow thicker to reduce visibility and force drivers to slow down, but what if they don’t?

“There are many people who have to run across the road to dodge the traffic.”

Councillor James Blackburn, Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for city services, said the local authority follows strict Department of Transport guidelines in relation to visibility at roundabouts and the necessary signing of such features.

“The guidance recommends strongly that visibility for drivers is kept to a minimum, consistent with highway safety, and that signing consist of black and white chevron boards and white arrows on blue discs, which indicate the presence of a roundabout, especially during the hours of darkness or severely inclement weather,” he said

“It is appreciated that the reduction in visibility for drivers has a similar effect on pedestrians, but unfortunately a compromise has to be made.”

“In this instance, the underpass provides an alternative crossing point.

He added: “There have been a number of recent reports relating to running water in the Bonemill Lane and Bramhall Drive underpass and, as a result, the field drainage adjacent to the subway is to be renewed to prevent such flooding.

“These improvements should alleviate concerns relating to the use of the underpass which in turn will help reduce the conflict experienced between vehicles and pedestrians at road level.

“I would ask anyone who has a serious concern regarding road safety issues to report it to us on 520 5550.”

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police confirmed that a cyclist was involved in a collision with a car on Thursday, July 11, at about 8.20am.