Petition gains 3,000 signatures after another Catford Road death

A petition has gained nearly 3,000 signatures in an attempt to protect pedestrians and cyclists from the perils of Catford Road.

For many years residents have fumed at the road’s precarious layout, which is often subject to heavy traffic coming from the South Circular.

Over the past month, there has been on average at least one severe or fatal road accident per week in Lewisham and two of those have occurred on Catford Road. Ironically, this week is Road Safety Week.

Sam Kennedy Christian, a Catford resident and policy advisor at Save the Children UK, was compelled to start the petition after a cyclist was killed last month.

The mother-of-one told Eastlondonlines: “Our main message to TfL and the council is that we cannot wait any longer for crucial safety improvements and risk more severe and fatal accidents. Many Catford residents use Catford Road every day, often with their children, and we are terrified that they could get caught up in the next accident. We want to see urgent action, not words or more plans.”

Catford Road/South Circular. Pic: James Bayley

Louise Krupski, Labour Councillor for Rushey Green & Lewisham tweeted at TfL about the incident.

Eastlondonlines took to Catford Road to ask residents if they were concerned about the safety of Lewisham’s roads.

Alice French, mother of two, 39, told Eastlondonlines: “My family and I cross Catford Road every day, and we dread it every time. I have an 8-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son, and I want them to be able to travel to school safely right now and for many years to come.”

Spencer Nelson, a bar worker and avid cyclist, 19, agreed. He said: “It is so frustrating when you try so hard to be environmentally conscious by cycling, and yet Catford Road makes it so dangerous to do so.”

The most recent Lewisham crash happened last week. A 29-year-old motorcyclist died following a collision with a car on Lee High Road. The driver of the vehicle, a 21-year-old woman, was stopped by police. She has since been released but remains under investigation.

In July 2018, London Mayor Sadiq Khan launched the Vision Zero Action Plan with TfL. One of the objectives of the plan is to reduce severe and fatal casualties by 65 per cent before 2022.

According to TfL, there were over 30,000 road casualties in London in 2018. Lewisham accounted for over a 1,000 of those, including six deaths. These figures represent a slight decrease in casualties in Lewisham from the previous year. However, this progress is a long way from meeting Khan’s 65 per cent reduction target for 2022.

Residents also need to take responsibility to make the roads a safer place. Mary Barton, 59, the aunt of Justin Ward, a Lewisham man severely injured in a hit and run, has pleaded for witnesses to come forward.

Ward, 42, who suffers from schizophrenia, was struck near Catford Road’s precarious crossing at 3:30am on October 29. The accident left him with two broken arms, a fractured hip and a brain bleed.

Ward has no memory of the accident, and no arrests have been made to date. Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact police on 101.

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