Coroner’s road safety concerns after inquest into Mirfield death

ACCIDENT: Alan Scargill was hit by an articulated lorry on Huddersfield Road on Wednesday. He remains in hospital with head and rib injuries.
ACCIDENT: Alan Scargill was hit by an articulated lorry on Huddersfield Road on Wednesday. He remains in hospital with head and rib injuries.
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A CORONER is to urge Kirklees council to improve crossings on a main road through Mirfield, after a man with poor eyesight was killed trying to cross the road.

Coroner Roger Whittaker spoke out at the inquest into the death of Alan Scargill.

Mr Scargill, 60, stepped into the path of a lorry in Huddersfield Road on June 2 last year. He died of his injuries in hospital five days later.

Mr Scargill was registered as partially-sighted and carried a white stick. The inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court heard he was blind in one eye, and had only blurry vision in the other.

He was walking away from Mirfield town centre when he tried to use a crossing next to the junction with Parker Lane.

Most modern crossings with traffic lights have a device fitted which tells blind and partially-sighted people when it is safe to cross.

But the crossing that Mr Scargill, of Park View, Mirfield, was not a pelican crossing. It has a dropped kerb and an island in the middle of the road.

Mr Whittaker said he would make representations to Kirklees Council about the lack of safe crossings for the blind and partially-sighted on Huddersfield Road.

He asked Mr Scargill’s brother, Henry, whether traffic lights on that stretch of road would be beneficial. Mr Scargill said: “A crossing for the partially sighted, or for anyone, would be ideal.”

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Whittaker said that the lorry driver, Craig Birkenshaw, could not have expected Mr Scargill to step into the road, though he had stepped off the pavement into the cycle lane.

Mr Whittaker said: “Mr Birkenshaw did not expect Mr Scargill to cross at that point and at that particular time, nor would anybody else unless they knew his difficulties, because a normal-sighted person would not have crossed.”

A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said: “We have yet to receive the coroner’s recommendations, but we will investigate these and consider safety measures for this area.”