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Sunday, 21 August 2016
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Updated 07 September

Motorcycle hits car - rider hospitalised

Slough Council's slovenly negligence and professional incompetence
helped cause this accident

Report and photographs: Paul Janik
Traffic signs illustrations: UK government



  • Motorcyclist failed to stop at junction
  • Hits car
  • Seriously injured motorcyclist helicoptered to hospital
  • Slough Council negligently failed to paint junction give-way lines
  • Slough Council potentially liable to pay compensation

The Accident

On Sunday afternoon, 21 August, at circa 15:30, two motorcyclists were riding their 125cc, class A1, scooters in the northern service road parallel to the A4 Bath Road. They were heading eastwards, towards Slough centre.

Both were teenage Learner Drivers correctly displaying their 'L' plates. One machine was a maroon coloured Honda and the other was a cream coloured Yamaha.

They had entered the service road at its junction with Dover Road. There was no other traffic in that section of the service road.

As the riders approached the unmarked junction with Ipswich Road, a car in Ipswich Road was travelling southwards towards the Bath Road traffic lights. Faded, some completely invisible, road markings, meant the car had priority (right-of-way).

The maroon motor scooter hit the driver's door. The severe collision wrecked the scooter and threw the motorcyclist on to the road. The cream motor scooter avoided the collision.

Important

NEVER remove a motorcyclist's helmet unless it is urgently required to save the motorcyclist's life.

A motorcyclist's neck or spiral cord could be damaged.

Removing the crash helmet could paralyse the motorcyclist for the rest of their life.

Helmet removal must be done by ambulance staff or doctors who know the risks.

A reader has suggested these two informative links.

Encountering a motorcycle accident (Youtube)

First Aid advice (St John's)

Emergency Services

The ambulance service was called at 15:35.

Police were alerted to the serious accident at 15:38.

The Fire Brigade were called at 15:55.

The ambulance service was already on the scene (their incident reference 1127 refers) when a normal fire engine (a 'pump') from the Tuns Lane fire station attended to rescue the trapped driver. Afterwards the fire crew remained at the scene for half-an-hour assisting the other emergency services.

The ambulance service arrived in strength with an ambulance, a supervising ambulance officer and the Thames Valley ambulance helicopter.

The car driver was treated at the scene and did not require hospital treatment.

The injured motorcyclist's condition was stabilised then he was loaded into the Airbus H135 helicopter's rear compartment and flown to the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, about a 30 minute journey at 136 knots per hour (156 mph / 252 kph).

Regrettably Slough's Wexham Park Hospital (now run-down by Frimley Park NHS Trust) was unable to provide the required emergency treatment.

The Helicopter

The twin-engine quiet-operation helicopter was previously known as a Eurocopter EC 135.

Its radio call-sign is Heli Med 24 (HM24), is based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire and operated by Babcock (formerly Bond Aviation). The on-board paramedics are employed by South Central Ambulance Trust.

The helicopter's passenger capacity is 6 people configured as 1 pilot, 1 patient and 4 crew or permutations up to 2 pilots, 2 patients and 2 crew. Installed medical equipment - size and weight - will reduced the crew capacity.

The aircraft has 2 doors each side and a double-door cargo loading area at the rear which can be safely accessed whilst the rotor blades are still spinning.

It has a good safety record.

Police Accident Investigation

Thames Valley Police sent a team of accident investigators, from the joint TVP and Hampshire roads policing unit, to determine the cause(s) of this serious accident.

Some arrived in unmarked police vehicles. The team leader was a motorcyclist sergeant who swiftly exchanged his crash helmet for a white traffic police hat.

The skilled investigators will view CCTV evidence from the street-mounted camera on the corner of Ipswich Road and the service road.

Both vehicles will be examined for irregularities and defects.

The road's surface and road markings (or lack of) will be scrutinised. Vehicle positions after the collision will be recorded.

The object of the investigation is to understand the cause(s) of this serious accident and use that knowledge to make traffic movements safer and, if possible, avoid similar accidents occurring.

Two of the traffic cops (roads policing officers) are motorcyclists. They have a better professional understanding of this type of accident than non-motorcycling traffic cops.

 

Slough Times' Concerns

Slough Unitary Authority, the official title of Slough Borough Council since 1998, is a Highways Authority. This means the council is responsible, in law, for the repair and maintenance of all the borough's roads except for some privately owned roads on the Trading Estate and a few scattered elsewhere.

Photographic evidence from 2010, 6 years ago, shows Slough Council did not have Give-Way lines at the junction where the serious accident occurred.

Photographs taken on the accident day, circa 1 hour 45 minutes after the accident occurred, show there were no Give-Way lines at the junction.

Eastbound service road junction with southbound Ipswich Road

There is conclusive evidence in the road, Bath Road service road north, that the junction previously had:

  • Give-Way lines (diagram 1003) painted on the road's surface
  • A Give-Way triangle (diagram 1023) painted on the road's surface
  • A Give-Way triangular sign (diagram 602) erected on a metal pole placed vertically on the pavement

This suggests, and the Slough Times dares Slough Unitary Authority to disagree, the council's Highway Authority had previously thought the junction was potentially dangerous enough to have Give-Way markings.

The Highways Authority is supposed to regularly inspect the condition of the roads. An anonymous Slough Council person, working for Highways manager Alex Deans, and identifying themselves as Highway Engineering wrote to the Slough Times on Thursday, 30 July 2015, stating the highways inspector notices:

  • congestion in the road
  • parking in the road
  • faded yellow or white lines
  • defective traffic lights
  • defective street lights

The anonymous Highways Engineering person repeated asserted the highways inspectors walk along the entire length of roads and do not use a car, a bicycle, a motor cycle, a motor scooter, roller skates or roller boards.

The anonymous person stated highways inspectors use digital cameras to record information during the actual inspection.

The Slough Times wonders how the council's highways inspectors failed, for 6 years, to notice the absence of Give-Way lines at this junction.

If the council inspected this road once every 6 months, that means 12 different highways inspections of this road failed to notice the missing Give-Way lines.

The Law on Give-Way lines

The government's Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 5 (a free 162 page booklet) states at section 2.4 on page 7:-

......... Give Way markings (diagram 1003), have legal implications in that not complying with them could constitute a traffic offence under Section 36 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (regulation 10).

In plain language, Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (SI 2002/3113) regulation 10 makes ignoring 'Give-Way' lines (diagram 1003) a motoring offence pursuant to the Road Traffic Act 1988 (c.52) section 36.

Diagram 1003 looks like this:

Source: Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 5, page 10, figure 3.2

The Slough Times believes if conspicuous (meaning 'easy to see') Give-Way lines had been painted on the road, at the junction with Ipswich Road, the accident may not have happened.

New motorcyclists especially young ones, tend to look at the road ahead of them in preference to looking all around them. The road ahead is important for their safety because it can be potholed, have slippery metal manhole covers or debris and rubbish could be laying on the road. All of these could cause motorcyclists to fall-off their bikes - injuring themselves and damaging their bikes.

If there had been Give-Way lines painted at the road junction, the motorcyclist would have seen them and would have had time to slow-down and, if necessary, stop.

There is a Give-Way sign (diagram 602) on a pole at the side of the road.

The government's Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 5, page 9, section 3.14, states Give-Way signs on poles should not be erected unless there is first:

  • Give-Way markings (double dashed lines, diagram 1003) painted on the road's surface

and

  • Give-Way triangle (diagram 1023) painted on the road's surface

The evidence is Slough Council thinks the laws do not apply to them. Their highways inspectors are blind and lazy. Their management is pitifully useless and their work culture appalling - real Public Parasites in the honest and experienced opinion of many, including the Slough Times.

The Slough Times has asked Slough Council for the highway inspection reports and other information but the Council is delaying.

The Slough Times blame:-

  1. Ruth Bagley, OBE, Slough Council's chief executive.
  2. Mrs Bagley boasts about her Master of Business Administration (MBA) university qualification, but many doubt Mrs Bagley has the talent, commitment and ability, to effective manage Slough's Council.

    Her salary package is circa £45,000 more than the combined salary of the United Kingdom's prime minister.

    Mrs Bagley is ultimately responsible for the failings of Council staff, not that anyone expects her to notice.

  3. Robert 'Rob' Anderson, until 6 June the Leader of Slough Council since 2008.
  4. Said by many to care more about providing free council resources and funds to Slough Town Football Club, while ignoring Cricket (because Asians play it ?), Rugby, Netball, Cycling and other sports.

    Leader of the Council is the most powerful person in Slough Council and is the chief executive's boss.

    The only time the Slough Times has seen Cllr Anderson doing any work is when he campaigns for re-election. Cllr Anderson was responsible for everything the council staff did, and did not do, until 6 June 2016 when his exasperated Labour councillor colleagues demoted him to ordinary councillor.

  5. James Swindlehurst, until 6 June the Deputy Leader of Slough Council and Rob Anderson's executive councillor for highways.
  6. Cllr Swindlehurst lost his Deputy Leadership and executive councillor's position when Cllr Anderson was booted-out of power.

    Having a remarkable intelligent brain and a thorough knowledge of local government, Cllr Swindlehurst always seems more interested in property deals than residents. He can't resist spending vast amounts of public funds on his vanity, and usually useless, projects.

    His legacy to Slough includes the ghastly 'Slug' bus station, cancelling pensioners bus passes before 09:30 hours, massive traffic jams throughout Slough, traffic lights going red in the middle of the night to allow ghost pedestrians to safely cross the roads and the Swindle Roundabout in Tuns Lane.

    Cllr Swindlehurst was until 6 June responsible for the Council employing blind highways inspectors who wear strong sunglasses, then close their eyes before 'seeing' nothing wrong with the roads.

    Cllr Swindlehurst was also responsible for the Council paying double for the same repair work - a criminal scandal in the Slough Times' opinion.

7 September : Motorcyclist's condition

The mother of the 17 years-old motorcyclist, speaking exclusively to the Slough Times, said:

  • Her son broke both his legs.
  • He lost 2 litres of blood (about 4 pints).
  • He had two steel rods inserted into his legs.
  • He spent 4 days in intensive care and a further 4 days in hospital.
  • On the accident day, Sunday 21 August, her son was flown by helicopter to the John Radcliffe hospital at Oxford, where he underwent an emergency 7.1/2 hours operation.
  • Three days later, on Wednesday 24 August, her son has a second operation lasting 5 hours.
  • Her son is back home on crutches; happy to be alive.

Thanks should go to the unknown heroes who save lives - the ambulance staff including paramedics on the ground and in the helicopter, the nurses and the doctors in the hospital.

This is one reason why the Slough Times thinks there should be no more Labour and/or Tory privatisation of the NHS.

Not forgetting the police and the fire and rescue service who also do a splendid job serving the public - every day in the year.

It is good to know you are there when we need you.