Call for action over reckless drivers using Heywood ‘as a race track’

Thursday, June 13th, 2019 9:00am

By Nick Statham (Local Democracy Reporter)

Reckless drivers are putting lives at risk by using a town’s roads as a race track, residents claim.

Speed-junkies are said to be going head-to-head in organised time trials across Heywood – often using high-powered cars which have been hired for the purpose.

There are concerns someone will be killed or seriously injured if urgent action is not taken to clampdown on the culprits.

Resident Robert Mudd – whose petition demanding action currently has nearly 300 signatories – raised the issue at a meeting of the Heywood Township committee.

He told councillors that hotspots included Rochdale Road East, Green Lane and the area around All Souls CE Primary.

He said: “They are doing speeds of 60 mph-plus – side-by-side over the speed bumps – with no regard for anybody else. It’s any time of the day or night.

“They come down the streets, revving their engines and doing ridiculous acts with the vehicles. We need something done about it before somebody is killed.”

Coun Jackie Beswick told fellow members that problem was not confined to the Rochdale Road East area.

Beswick, cropped

“They are doing it like a circuit all the way from Rochdale right through the town, down Waterfold Lane under the bridge, spinning back round and then they race round the roundabout at Heap Bridge,” she said.

“They must have timers or someone to do it. They are right up against each other and the noise it makes is phenomenal. They are high-powered, they have made adaptions etc – it’s not just somebody pushing to break the speed limit or not watching what they are doing it’s deliberate and is going on most weekends.”

According to Coun Beswick there have been several recent accidents as a result, including one at Heap Bridge which saw a vehicle crash through a garden fence and demolish a shed.

Suggestions that police would not act ‘until there is a fatality’ were dispelled by Sgt Paul Mason.

He told the meeting his team had often taken ‘positive action’ including the seizing of vehicles – which were sometimes stolen – but resources were an issue.

Heywood Township officer Stuart Hay said the perception police could not act until someone was killed was possibly a misunderstanding of government rules. These dictate speed cameras can only be installed at sites where there have been a certain number of deaths or serious injuries.

Coun Neil Emmott – the council’s environment chief, whose brief includes highways – said work to combat the problem was ongoing between police and the authority.

He explained this included educating people on the dangers they were causing ‘not only to themselves but the wider public’.

But he added that, while this represented ‘the carrot’ approach, it was ‘quite clear’ that ‘the stick’ would be needed as well.

“Some way needs to be found to keep a log of these incidents and to prosecute people,” he said.

 


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