Safety improvements call for supermarket junction

Ripon Gazette work experience reporter Stewart Paterson interviews Helen Smith about her concerns over the junction.  (140124M3c)
Ripon Gazette work experience reporter Stewart Paterson interviews Helen Smith about her concerns over the junction. (140124M3c)

A retired dentist from Ripon is calling for safety improvements to the traffic lights at the junction of Morrisons supermarket after a spate of accidents.

Helen Smith, 53, blames the layout of the junction and the “confusing timing of signals” at the spot where, according to county council figures, there have been four collisions with nine casualties in the past four years, including two people who were seriously injured.

Each of the four collisions involved vehicles turning right into the supermarket and crossing the paths of vehicles heading south away from the city centre.

“The main issue is that the filter light which signals cars to turn into the supermarket car park does not appear to be working all of the time,” said Mrs Smith.

“My daughter has had a near miss at the junction and my son has actually been involved in an accident as a result of the confusing junction.”

Mrs Smith said she noticed that despite oncoming traffic from Ripon having stopped for a red light, the filter light does not always come on which confuses drivers.

She added: “Even the driving instructors in Ripon are advising their students to take care when using the junction because it’s so precarious.

“I would like to see the filter light fixed or the junction simplified.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said that the lights had been investigated for a number of years and highlighted that since the introduction of signal modifications in 2009, collisions have continued to fall.

Freeman and former Mayor of the city, John Richmond, who lives near the junction, said: “The filter light in question, which was added several years ago, did reduce accidents. The accident rate at this junction before that was unbelievable. It is still confusing for drivers, however, because the computer which controls the lights will not activate the filter light unless three or more cars are waiting to turn in.

“When the new Morrisons site is complete, the new entrance to the supermarket will come off the bypass and will definitely ease traffic at the junction.”

The stretch of road has been branded “dangerous” by the area’s divsion representative on North Yorkshire County Council, Coun Peter Horton. He said: “Drivers travelling from Harrogate do not expect to see a stop line which requires them to give way to traffic coming from Ripon so soon after the filter light turns green. It is particularly dangerous for visitors to the area who won’t be familiar with the way the junction works.”