Group calls for help to tackle scourge of speeding drivers in North Kirklees

Campaigners are urging people to help tackle speeding drivers by gathering video footage and other evidence for the police.

Friday, 6th August 2021, 7:00 am
The ROAR group held a protest outside Healey Community Centre, Batley to highlight the danger of speeding vehicles

Reclaim Our Area’s Roads (ROAR) has been set up in response to the death of Carol Andrew, 69, who was killed last month as she crossed White Lee Road in Heckmondwike.

Around 50 people, including Batley and Spen Labour MP Kim Leadbeater, attended the first protest meeting at a speeding hotspot outside Healey Community Centre on West Park Road, Healey.

Protesters hoisted banners to raise awareness with a warning to drivers they were “being filmed”.

The ROAR group held a protest outside Healey Community Centre, Batley to highlight the danger of speeding vehicles

Dad-of-three Nigel Harnell, one of the admin team behind the ROAR campaign launched on Facebook group Batley and Spen Really Matters, said: “People have just come to the point where enough’s enough and they want something done.

“It all started with the tragic death of this lady in White Lee, which has affected a friend of mine. When something like this happens it’s not just one family that’s affected, there’s a ripple effect.

“This isn’t just a problem in Batley and Spen, it’s across the whole district, and people are just sick of it now.”

Mr Harnell, 44, who lives in Upper Hopton, said he planned to go out and sit in his car and film nuisance drivers, take registration numbers and pass the footage and evidence to the police and Kirklees Council.

“People have to report what’s going on to the authorities,” he said.

“The police had five squad cars there while we were at Healey and three or four police cars passed by. I know police resources are stretched but we need action.

"It won’t be long before there’s another death on the roads.”

There was a road safety campaign in Healey three years ago but nothing came of it.

A couple of years ago residents held a meeting with then Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin and local police chiefs but again nothing materialised, said Mr Harnell.

The protest at Healey is only the first. ROAR held a poll on Facebook about where the next one should be.

Most votes went to Carlinghow Lane in Batley, around the junction with Welwyn Avenue. The next protest will be held there on Saturday between 6pm and 6.30pm.

“We will do it safely and it’s all about raising awareness and encouraging drivers to think twice and slow down,” said Mr Harnell.

“I have three daughters and if anything happened to one of them, I can’t imagine how I’d feel.

“Batley is lawless on the roads. Cars drive too fast, there’s scooters, quad bikes, cars with exhausts that bang at all hours of the night.

“The only answer is tougher penalties such as big fines and if you can’t pay, your car is crushed, simple as that.

“We want people to live in a safe community.

“In the wrong hands a car is a weapon. They may as well be walking round with a knife.”