Riders who successfully campaigned for a reduced speed limit and horse-friendly crossing on a busy road hope it will inspire others to push for better safety measures.
After 10 years of work, the new Pegasus crossing has been opened at Sandwell Valley Country Park on Forge Lane, West Bromwich, on which the speed limit has also been reduced from 60mph to 30mph.
Rider Bev Stevens, one of those who campaigned for the crossing, told H&H the action came about after a number of accidents.
“It took a long time,” she said. “We formed a local trails group made up of riders, cyclists and walkers – I think it really helped that it was a multi-user crossing we were campaigning for. There were a lot of accidents on that road and the police and fire brigade provided statistics to back up our claim that the speed needed lowering. It was really important to have that backing and statistics. A local councillor also backed our campaign – she had lost her nephew on that road in an accident so she was very passionate about it.
“Sandwell Council were absolutely brilliant, they consulted with us and did everything properly – we cannot fault them. At every step of the way horses were included in the planning for a new crossing, not just cyclists and pedestrians – it’s really forward thinking of the council,” Bev said.
Pegasus crossings are controlled by traffic signals operated by a push-button by the rider, cyclist or pedestrian.
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“A separate section of the crossing was built for horses which has our own button. With a Pegasus crossing the button has to be set further back from the road compared to a pedestrian crossing as otherwise the horse’s head would stick out on the road,” Bev said.
Bev said the crossing would allow riders to cross from one side of the country park to the other safely.
“All of our riding is off-road at Sandwell Valley but we need to cross that one bit of road to get from one side of the country park to the other,” she added. “Previously when it was 60mph we would have to wait for a gap in traffic. Sometimes a car would stop to let us cross but that made it more dangerous as other approaching vehicles coming up the lane on the other side couldn’t see a car had stopped. Now we have a proper system that allows us to cross over the road safely to enjoy both sides of the park.
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The project cost £6,100 with donations coming from local riders and the council
Riders are campaigning for a safe crossing at a new section of dual carriageway being built in Inverness-shire
“There’s been great feedback in the local area and the response from the community has been really good. Even non-horsey people have said it’s wonderful as we now have a green-horse that lights up when it’s our turn to cross.”
Bev said she hopes the new crossing will encourage other riders to campaign.
“There’s about 80 horses in the valley so there is lots of users and it’s a great safety feature. We hope by sharing this it will help other people that have concerns about crossing points to form groups to try and push for these crossings. If it gives people hope that they can make a change then it’s all the better.”
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