What is pedestrian guardrail for?

A tragic story from Rhos-on-Sea in North Wales.

A PENSIONER was killed and another woman left seriously injured after a car hit two pedestrians. The crash happened in Rhos-on-Sea, when the car mounted the pavement and struck the two women outside shops on Rhos Road.

Fire crews had to help release the trapped casualties, while paramedics and two doctors battled to treat the women. Despite their desperate attempts a woman in her 70s was pronounced dead at the scene, soon after 3.30pm yesterday.

The other pedestrian was taken by ambulance to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd with serious injuries.

More detail

John Davies, 64, who runs Rhos Newsagents, fifty yards up Rhos Road from where the crash happened, said: “I heard a bang. I couldn’t see if anyone was injured. Then I heard someone shout ‘The driver’s hit the shop and one lady walking outside it is trapped’. Then the emergency services arrived and all hell let loose.”

One woman was standing near the scene. She said: “There was a woman under the car. My daughter in law ran over and was stroking her hair. There was a male driver in the car. He wasn’t moving. Whether he was in shock I don’t know.”

Emma Roberts, 30, works at The Corner Café 100 yards away. She said: “A lot of people use that junction and there’s a zebra crossing there too.”

This picture of the crash scene from the ITV News report is striking.

As is the picture from the BBC News report.

There is some pedestrian guardrail at this location. Surely this should have protected the two ladies from the errant car? Is this not what pedestrian guardrail is for?

Well, no.

At this location the guardrail has been used to stop people crossing the road in the ‘wrong place’.

It is not positioned to stop people on the pavement from being hit by cars.

This is the case with almost all ‘guardrail’, which is quite obviously fantastically misnamed, since it does no ‘guarding’ of pedestrians at all.

In reality it is pedestrian penning, anti-personnel fencing that is used to keep people out of the way of motor vehicles so their passage through villages, towns and cities is unhindered. Consequently it is located in places where pedestrians would naturally want to cross, and only coincidentally in places where pedestrians are at the greatest risk of being hit.

The BBC News report of this crash states that ‘two unnamed local women were involved in a collision with a blue Jaguar car in Rhos on Sea’, which is their usual extraordinary way of writing about these kinds of incident.

And, no doubt coincidentally, on the suburban street parallel to the one on which this fatal crash occurred, campaigners have recently managed to get traffic calming and a crossing installed, having previously measured motorists travelling at 50 and 60mph along the 30mph stretch, which serves as a shortcut to the road along the coast.

This entry was posted in Guardrail, Road safety, Walking. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What is pedestrian guardrail for?

  1. Amoeba says:

    I think of them as cyclist graters, because that’s what they do.

  2. Amoeba says:

    This is one of the so-called ‘acceptable’ external costs of motoring. Whenever I hear of someone complain about cyclists, it isn’t long before someone raises the ‘dangers’ to pedestrians resulting from ‘pavement cycling’, there seems to be a national conspiracy / delusion, one can call it what one will, that cyclists are a danger while cars are not, one can provide checkable facts, but this rarely has any effect. Such people cling to their false beliefs like a drowning man clutches at straws, they will not be shifted. The trouble is that ‘pavement driving’ is much more dangerous, and it kills sufficient numbers that it isn’t newsworthy and the media reporting bias ensures that it rarely gets much of a mention. Were this tragedy caused by a cyclist it would be in the national newspapers and repeatedly revisited ad-nauseam on the TV. But as it wasn’t, it will soon be forgotten, except by the victims families, friends and the locals and others involved.

  3. michael rowland says:

    I would be inclined to cross the seafront road at the point where the motorist struck the railings, rather than using the crossing. That way I would be able to see what motor vehicles might be pulling out of the side street. The average motorist would be looking right to make sure his way was clear onto the seafront, and not paying much attention to the situation to his left.

  4. scperi says:

    That type of railing will not stop a car in any way. It’s simply not designed for that and you are correct that it is actually designed to stop pedestrians rather than protect them. If you look around Borough High St in Southwark you will see the council is slowly getting rid of them. The crossing work better and look better. People now cross the road more freely and there is no chance of a cyclist getting cruched between one and a car.

  5. Colibri says:

    What an hostile intersection for pedestrians : tight pavement, railings, poor visibility and quite wide carriageway.
    I see it from “outside” (I don’t live in the UK) but I’m always amazed at how bad are the conditions for pedestrians in terms of infrastructure.
    I mean, would it be too costly for the nation to add European-style zebra crossing at just about every intersection, as it’s done pretty much everywhere on the continent ?
    The dropped kerb thingie seems quite mean from my perspective.
    The horrendous ped crossing example that you showed recently on the A24 near Southwater would be just unimaginable around here.
    I’ve also seen light-controlled intersections without anything (phase, signal, zebra) for pedestrians !?
    Add those highly visually aggressive railings to this mix, and I’m still wondering how this situation can continue in a modern country like the UK. No offense here, quite the opposite : you deserve so much better !

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