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Opinion : Can Wycombe’s hills be made safer?

| March 21, 2014

Hunters - Following Car Crash 2014-03-13

Living in Wycombe we are used to hills indeed they are part of daily life.

For a Wycombe person driving up and down the hills is second nature indeed when my good self was a youngster, like all the youngsters in Wycombe, I used to race down the hills on my bicycle.

The steepness of the terrain meant that some hair raising speeds were attained which, looking back, helped me to come to terms with the dangerous nature of a steep hill.

Plomer Hill, The Pastures, Marlow Hill and Amersham Hill are probably the steepest hills in the town and when you think about it these hills handle an awful lot of traffic every day.

Sadly there are times when things go wrong and accidents happen. Only a few days ago, on the 13th March 2014, a vehicle coming down Amersham Hill lost control and ploughed into a premises occupied by an estate agent (see picture above).

A similar occurrence happened to the same building in 2001 when the brakes failed on a lorry coming down Amersham Hill and it ploughed into the same premises as the accident a few days ago. In the 2001 accident two people in the premises died in the crash.

Seeing the aftermath of a car crashing into a building brings home the danger of a steep hill.

Marlow Hill has a large run off area at the bottom in the form of the central grassed area of the Abbey Way roundabout however Amersham Hill has buildings at the bottom and there is nowhere for runaway vehicles to go.

Isn’t it about time that something was done to make motoring down the steep hills safer? We may live in an age of health and safety mollycoddling our every action yet nothing seems to be done to make a safety area for runaway vehicles coming down Amersham Hill.

I sometimes wonder why so many vehicles are allowed to come down Amersham Hill. As the name implies most of the traffic will be coming from Amersham. Why not divert the largest and heaviest vehicles down Cryers Hill where there is better provision for stopping an out of control lorry or car without endangering lives of workers in shops and offices.

Maybe the speed limit on the hills needs to be reduced so drivers will know if their brakes fail sooner and a slower speed?

It surprises me that there isn’t even a crash barrier on the traffic island at the bottom of Amersham Hill to try to at least lower the speed of vehicles and lessen the severity of an impact.

One thing is for sure, it’s highly likely that the brakes will fail on another vehicle coming down one of Wycombe’s steep hills and next time lives may be lost.

What do you think?

*Don’t forget my blogs are published twice a week here, on the Wycombe Today site, every Tuesday evening around 8pm and late on Friday evenings.

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