‘And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west’ – and serious speeding matters too

Edie Pope’s scarecrow traffic cop on Southport Road Lydiate, which is meant to make drivers think about their speed.

Yes a line from that well known Benny Hill song. But the other day whilst on one of my solo fitness cycle rides I came across a rival to Ernie (for that was the name of the fastest milkman in the west) on Northway/A59 in Aughton.

I was just about to exit Winifred Lane when down the hill from the Ormskirk direction came a milk float doing a fair old lick. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one doing more than 15 mph and that with a following wind too. But the ‘souped up’ one I saw made me smile and that daft old song came back to mind.

Then a few days later another surprising experience with another vehicle we usually see going very slowly – a bin wagon. But this one was out at 8.30pm (never seen one out that late before) and it hurtled along Southport Road, Lydiate in a northerly direction at what must have been well above the 30mph speed limit. Indeed, it went so fast I could not read the signs upon it!

But it was not your usual Sefton Council bin wagon; much smaller and probably with a ‘Jaguar engine’ added to give Police cars a run for their money:-) Again the experience made me smile but this time grimace as well.

These two somewhat bizarre events happened with our roads being generally very quiet as a consequence of our health crisis. But sadly there is a real issue underneath as speeding in this crisis is happening everywhere and most of the time. Clear roads have given petrol heads or at least the most irresponsible of them what they think is a green light to drive at whatever speed suits them and beggar the consequences/speed limits.

Being a cyclist I notice speeding and frankly the antics are off the scale during this crisis whether it be in a ‘bin lorry’ or a car. It’s ironic that at the request of a fellow Lydiate Parish Councillor, Neil Spencer, Merseyside Police had a speed trap on Southport Road in Lydiate just before our health crisis hit. Now we have far less vehicles on this busy road but many of them have drivers with their clog firmly down to the boards. If this continues there’s bound to be a terrible accident……..

Stop Press – An as if to emphasise the point I’ve been trying to make about speeding a lady driver nearly did for me on the Ashworth Motorway junction this morning. Due to the road works around the junction the contractors temporarily sealed off the access to the cycle track around it about a week ago. This in turn forces cyclists onto the island itself and what I’ve always got my eye out for happened this morning i.e. a car from the Melling direction came hurtling around the island and found me crossing the entrance to the eastbound carriageway of the M58. But not content with having to slow down to avoid me she then blew her horn as if I had no right to be there! I was cycling around a roundabout for goodness sake, that meant I had right of way. OL she was just a bad tempered driver but if she had not been driving so fast……. Oh and by the way where are the signs warning drivers that cyclists will be in the road? If there are any I didn’t see them.

Lydiate (and everywhere else) – The quest for speed and how it impacts on our lives

Southport Road, Lydiate

This is a matter I have oft thought about and not necessarily in the way you might think.

Yes, we all see the mad drivers blasting through our communities at a rate of knots neither aware or caring about the potential consequences of their actions. Indeed, in my own community of Lydiate there are growing concerns from Joe and Jane Public about irresponsible speeding along Southport Road and Moss Lane and I’m quite sure others can add to these two roads.

To his credit local Labour Parish Councillor Neil Spencer is trying to get the powers that be (Sefton Council and Merseyside Police) to address this problem and I’m with him all the way. I’ve previously tried to get Moss Lane’s speeding addressed and the rural part of it was reduced to 40mph a few years back. And my Parish Council colleague Edie Pope campaigned for the speed restriction to be reduced to 40mph along the section of Southport Road where it becomes Mairscough Lane because it’s a notorious accident black spot near the junction with Church Lane. But, and its a big but, bringing in lower speed restrictions does not stop the mad drivers who want to blast along at 50, 60 or even 70mph as they don’t really care. So good luck to Neil, let’s have another go at trying to make Lydiate’s roads safer.

Edie Pope outside her Southport Road farm shop. The notorious accident black spot is in the background.

But to me this speeding problem is probably far more deeply seated in our way of life than we may realise. Everything has to be quick, immediate and now. Our working lives are all about doing things faster to save costs and boost productivity. We leave too shorter time to get from one place to another, probably because we are either too optimistic about how long a journey will take or because everything we do is at 90mph so to speak. In turn all this causes much stress an anxiety so should we really be surprised if it produces more and more racing car drivers on our streets? Just a thought……..

Edie Pope’s scarecrow traffic cop from 2019, which was meant to make drivers think about their speed.

The curse of scrambler bikes

I was contacted the other day by a local resident who had taken photos of scrambler bikes on the Leeds Liverpool Canal tow path in Melling asking for my advice about what can be done to stop them. Yesterday, whilst out cycling through Rimrose Valley Country Park, I ended up with one blowing his horn at me whilst trying to race past. Obviously neither the canal tow path or Rimrose Valley’s network of footpaths and cycle paths are places for motorbikes to be ridden!

But where are these bikes kept? Surely they are often in the garages of houses where the scrambler bikers live with their families. On that basis their illegal activities are in effect being condoned by families who should know a lot better.

Merseyside Police do their best and it’s always pleasing to hear of these bikes ending up in the crusher but the riders cause mayhem on our canal towpath, country parks, in woods and on roads where we are all at risk from their mad riding.

You might guess that the one I encountered yesterday had no registration plate on it and it was gone so fast I had no chance to get a proper look at it.

Ainsdale – When is a Police Station/Hub not one?

Ainsdale Station during rebuilding – October 2017

I’ve posted before about the rebuilding of Ainsdale Station on the Liverpool – Southport Northern Line of Merseyrail. My most relevant blog about it is accessible via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/08/04/ainsdale-railway-station-its-going-to-have-a-police-station-on-its-platform-like-town-green-station/

And a quick reminder of the Southport Visitor newspaper story of 2nd August 2017:-

www.southportvisiter.co.uk/news/southport-west-lancs/ainsdale-getting-new-police-station-13422778?utm_source=sharebar&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=sharebar

Now if I told you that it seems the Police Hub is hardly, if at all, in use still in April 2019 you may be a little surprised based on on previous publicity. Who’s got the key? Is there any internet available? When will the girls and boys in blue be using it I wonder?

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Maghull – Major crash closes A59 Northway this afternoon

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/two-taken-hospital-after-serious-15153479

It’s the section of Northway between the Hall Lane and Dover Road/Liverpool Road South junctions and the accident seems to have been on the southbound carriageway.

It seems that the Police were chasing a stolen car just before it was involved in the crash. The vehicle was travelling on the wrong side of the road. The driver of the stolen car ran from the scene but was arrested I understand.

We can only hope that the seriously injured person pulls through.