My posting below from 26th April mentioned a national policing campaign which was held on 14th April this year called ‘Operation Close Pass Day’ when police forces across the country would be sending out officers on cycles to try to catch those drivers who dangerously overtake cyclists by passing far too close to them. Here’s a link back to that posting:-
Photo from Cycling UK showing the likely change to the Highway Code for passing a cyclist.
I said back then that I awaited a response from both Lancashire and Merseyside Police about how they engaged with the campaign day and the results of their participation. To date, I’ve still had no response so, with the help of Cycling UK, I’ve now contacted them both again this time via their respective Road Safety Partnership websites in the hope that they will answer my queries.
Close passing of cyclists is highly dangerous and in my part of the world, the roads where it seems to be a big problem are Southport Road and Moss Lane in Lydiate and Prescot Road in Aughton, although it can happen on any road particularly where it’s one which vehicles are driven along at high speeds. Even drivers who would normally leave plenty of room when overtaking a cyclist can end up passing one far too closely. This often happens where a vehicle has started an overtaking manoeuvre and then the driver sees another vehicle approaching on the opposite carriageway. Obviously, most drivers will pull back in such circumstances but the impatient ones carry on sometimes coming within inches of a cyclist. Sadly, this can lead to cyclists being knocked off their bikes just because a driver is in too much of a hurry.
The present Highway Code is a little vague about this as it says that as much room as possible should be left when overtaking a cyclist. The plan is to change that to 1.5m of room must be left when overtaking a cyclist as the photo above demonstrates.
So there you have it or in the case of Lancs & Merseyside Police there you don’t have it as I still do not have their data from the campaign day. Let’s hope my contact via their Road Safety Partnerships delivers or it will have to be Freedom of Information Requests and I really hope it does not have to come to that.
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.
Dog run area seen looking towards Sandy Ln. The public right of way is to the left where the corner fence post is
I’ve blogged a few times over the issues surrounding the route of this public footpath/public right of way and the fact that this matter came to light as a consequence of Lydiate Parish Council creating a fenced in dog-run area on its Sandy Lane Playing Field earlier this year.
Anyway, there was a site meeting a few days ago between Lydiate Parish Council and Sefton Council’s Rights of Way Officer, which I was unable to attend but now know the outcome of.
Firstly, the legal line of the public right of way is not affected by the fence of the dog enclosure. Investigations (by Sefton’s ROW Officer) have shown that the path (looking at it from the Sandy Ln end) runs to the east of the fencing, in an area of overgrown vegetation but as the path heads towards Moss Lane it straddles the edge of the mowed grass of Sandy Lane Park and the overgrown vegetation. I’m told there are some metal posts within the vegetation that appear to correspond with the eastern edge of the footpath.
The consequence of these findings is that the legal line of the path will need to be reinstated, which Sefton Council will lead on. The legal line has clearly not been used for some years and as a result some of the vegetation has become well established. I’m told it was agreed that setting out the footpath and a full assessment of the works required is difficult at the moment due to the growth of the vegetation and that the Parish Council remains happy for people to continue to use the edge of the park until the matter is resolved.
Footpath sign at Sandy Ln – There’s a similar one off Moss Ln
I understand that Sefton Council will review the required works in early autumn, with the Parish Council, and agree the extent of them. The Parish Council expressed a wish to try and keep some of the more established trees. Sefton will consider this where possible.
I’d like to thank Sefton’s ROW officer for his efforts to resolve this issue working with the Parish Council. It seems like a mutually agreeable way forward has now been found.
Dog run area seen looking towards Sandy Ln. The public right of way is to the left where the corner fence post is.
Footpath sign at Sandy Ln – There’s a similar one off Moss Ln
I’ve blogged a couple of times recently about Lydiate Footpath No.14 which links Sandy Lane to Moss Lane.
To recap, its become an issue following Lydiate Parish Council creating a fenced dog-run area a few weeks back which means that footpath users effectively have to walk through the dog-run.
Dog run area seen looking towards Sandy Ln. The public right of way is somewhere to the left where the corner fence post is
Attempts to define exactly where the public footpath is have come to nought (so far) as it’s not detailed on the deeds for Sandy Lane Park. This could mean that the path is actually on the neighbouring framer’s field and this angle is now being checked out by Sefton Council’s Footpath’s Officer who regulates public rights of way in the Borough.
Another strand to this odd story is that if the definitive route has not been recorded on any land deeds (which logically it should have been) then the back-stop is using a piece of law which allows Sefton Council to define the right of way route based on what has been used by the public for a 20 year period. It won’t take long for those familiar with the footpath to realise that the edge of Sandy Lane Park is what has been used as the footpath for many, many years. Certainly I’ve lived in Maghull & Lydiate since 1968 and I’ve never known the route of the path to be anywhere else. Here’s a link to the appropriate law provided via the Ramblers Association:-
A few years back, when I was a Borough Councillor for Aintree Village, I helped with a campaign to gain a public right of way from Aintree Lane (at the side of Melling Road) through to the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath using this 20 year rule as the basis for the claim. That battle was won and I use that path regularly to gain access to the canal towpath when I’m cycling locally. Here’s a photo which includes a part of that path:-
The new public right of way is the path which turns off the towpath to the right in this photo
More news as things develop…….
The last photo is amongst my Flickr photos at:-
Lydiate residents will most probably have seen the article in this weeks Aintree & Maghull Champion regarding requests for a bus shelter on the A59/Northway adjacent to the Kenyons Lane traffic lights.
I’ve also raised this with Merseytravel recently following a Lydiate resident asking for a shelter at this spot on the Lydiate & Neighbours FB Group in a thread that I posted about a bus shelter being removed in Moss Lane, Lydiate. The shelter being removed is one that served the old 311 route that provided a good service between Lydiate and Ormskirk.
Obviously the response as printed in the Champion is at best disappointing as there’s only one bus to Ormskirk from Lydiate these days i.e. the Arriva 310. What’s more it only skims the edge of Lydiate with just one stop on the A59/Northway.
I appreciate the difficulties of this A59 bus stop site but in reality, on such a busy road, you would expect not only a shelter but a bus lay-by too. However, I also appreciate it’s a cramped site and that Merseytravel have to prioritise their expenditure. Maybe a re-routing of the bus to travel through more of Lydiate would actually be the best solution. The most likely way to do this would be for the bus to cross Northway instead of turning onto the A59 so to serve the rest of Kenyons Lane, then Liverpool Road past the old windmill and back to the A59 at Robins Island. But this at face value simple change has its problems too as St Thomas’ School is on that short stretch of Kenyons Lane and I guess that at school coming and going times the bus would get caught up in traffic jams just like the 31/31A Lydiate circular bus does on Sandy Lane.
Arriva and Merseytravel can surely get their heads together here to try to find a way forward because this situation has come about mainly due to the former 311 bus being withdrawn by Arriva in August 2015. I covered the campaign to try to save that bus on this blog site – see link below:-
Yes of course the 311 was a commercial service and the 310 is too so I realise that Merseytravel have no powers to make Arriva think again about the provision of buses between Lydiate and Ormskirk. However, there’s a Bus Alliance in operation across Merseyside which Merseytravel and Arriva are a part of so at the very least they should be around a table trying to sort issues like this out.
And lastly, for now anyway, the underlying issue here is the Deregulation of bus services outside of London that was brought in during the 1980’s. My own view is that we lost control of our bus services when that happened and it was bad legislation. I’m told that Merseytravel are slowly working towards re-regulation of buses but I fear that that bus is only just about creeping along.
Sadly I am hearing that the newly reopened and refurbished Weld Blundell pub was broken into last night.
Unless I am getting things out of perspective it seems that Maghull & Lydiate are in the midst of a rather worrying break-in crime wave at present.
With thanks to Ian for the lead to this posting