People in Heywood have told how they fear the reckless driving blighting their town could soon cost lives.
It comes after councillors backed resident Robert Mudd’s call for action over those using roads as a race track at a meeting of Heywood Township committee.
Members heard how powerful cars were often hired out for racing, while others routinely ignored speed limits in built-up areas – including near All Souls CE Primary School.
Some cars were also said by police to be stolen and used in wider criminal activity.
Environment chief Coun Neil Emmott said police and the town hall were working together to combat the issue – which he said was a serious problem across the borough.
But it would seem Heywood is a particular blackspot for life-endangering driving, judging by the reaction to a report of meeting by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).
Horrifying CCTV footage from a house in Bury Old Road sent to the LDRS appears to show two cars racing one another, before the one giving chase crashes into a taxi, spinning it to the other side of the road.
It then drives off despite obvious damage and the possibility the taxi driver – and any passengers – could be injured. The CCTV is dated December 13 last year.
Maddi Collins also had footage of her dad’s silver Mini being written-off after a group of youths in a reportedly uninsured car ploughed into a number of vehicles in Wolsey Street before fleeing the scene.
The incident happened two months ago.
Residents’ concerns were summed up in stark terms by Matt Finn – who is in no doubt that someone will be killed if the situation continues.
“I’ve a blanket ready, as sooner or later it’s going to be needed to cover up a body whilst the police arrive.” he said, in a grim assessment of the risk being posed by thrill-seekers.
Maxine O’Gara agreed with his sentiments. He said: “It’s constant on Rochdale Road East – between the cemetery and the BMW garage,” she said.
“It’s mainly at night but also happens during the day. It’s a straight run for them and can sometimes go in excess of 60-70mph in a 30mph zone. It’s frightening and only a matter of time before lives are lost.”
John Barber was another to highlight the same area. “Rochdale Road East and Green Lane is a racetrack every night, but particularly weekends. Someone is going to be killed by these nutjobs,” he said.
And like many of her fellow residents, Nicki Anson has witnessed racers facing off against each other first hand.
“I was waiting at light at Aldi in Heywood when two small cars – one red, one white – jumped the red light and went right around me, probably travelling at least 60mph,” she said.
“They then jumped the red light at Green Lane and overtook all the drivers waiting at lights and sped off in the direction of Heywood Cemetery. They were obviously racing each other and, quite frankly, I don’t care if they kill each other – it’s the innocent pedestrians and drivers I’m concerned about.”
Kathryn Brayshaw said the problem wasn’t confined to Rochdale Road East area, but was widespread – echoing comments made by Coun Jacqui Beswick at the township meeting.
“ Every stretch of long road in Heywood is used as race track. I’ve seen idiots on Middleton Road. Every time I’m along there sooner or later someone will lose control, especially on Junction 19 where I’ve seen cars almost flip over,” she said.
The Darnhill Estate is also said to see its fair share of dangerous driving.
Resident Kelly Marie Hutchinson said: “I have tried to get photos and videos but they go that fast it’s impossible to do so. They are going to kill someone one day. It’s a everyday thing for this estate, it’s needs sorting. Tthese raised bumps ain’t doing anything to stop speeding.”
And Alex Penlington believes ‘it won’t be long till a crash or someone is run over’ at the junction of Derby Street and Wham Street ‘ given the combination of double-parking and ‘speeding morons’.
Last October councillors carried a motion calling for ‘a combination of community engagement, awareness raising, education, prevention and enforcement interventions, with a view to making the borough’s highways and its drivers safer.
At the recent Heywood Township meeting, Coun Emmott – who seconded the motion – said work was ongoing between police and the council, and he was ‘confident’ a solution would be found.
However he said that this would involve a programme of education as well as the prosecution of offenders.
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