Friday, 14 December 2018
6 February 2011

Slough Council's Dangerous Pop-up Steel Bollards

19 accidents so far - SBC's Highways Chief ignored government advice

The Department for Transport produces Traffic Advisory Leaflets for road planners to ensure that the road traffic system operates in the same safe way throughout the country.

TAL 4/97, dated March 1997, deals with Rising Bollards as installed by Slough Council in the High Street near the Library; a copy may be downloaded from the Department website by searching for "tal 4/97".

Under Safety Considerations it says:-

"Whilst most applications will be to enable the passage of one vehicle at a time, there will be instances where two or more vehicles attempt to pass through in close succession. The system should ensure that bollards cannot rise beneath a vehicle because of the danger this would create. It is better to risk a certain amount of violation by "tailgating" vehicles, rather that put road users at risk."

Judging by the number of car incidents Slough Council have failed to implement this requirement.

Also under Safety Considerations, leaflet TAL 4/97 states:

"The possibility of a device rising under a wheelchair or pushchair should be taken into account. The risks could be mitigated to some extent by providing suitable alternative access adjacent to the bollards, and by using a coarse road surface to divert pedestrians away from the bollard installation."

As this part of the High Street is a natural crossing point, the danger of this is very real, especially for someone unfamiliar with the area pushing a wheelchair just after a bus has passed. For safety, perhaps this part of the pavement should be fenced to prevent pedestrian access, and an alternative route provided for pedestrians.

Slough Council have failed to implement the Rising Bollards in the approved way, thus failing in their duty of care to the citizens of Slough.

Someone will get badly hurt one day because of this. The surrounding area must be monitored for movement and presence before allowing the bollards to rise, not merely rely on sub-ground sensors that can detect only the absence of metal.

The damage to vehicles is also excessive punishment for a Road Traffic violation with repair costs to damaged vehicles far outstripping the maximum fines laid down for such offences. When the risk of injury is also considered, this might even be deemed cruel and unusual punishment for a relatively minor traffic violation, especially in view of the borough's failure to adhere to the Department for Transport's guidance.

Mike Singer