'You’d have to be Usain Bolt to cross safely': Coroner's fury over 87-year-old killed on busy roadMary Woods would have taken an estimated
4.4 seconds just to get halfway across the A56 close to her home in
Timperley, Greater ManchesterAn inquest heard the pensioner had little chance of making it across the road safely and
was knocked down by a van She suffered multiple injuries and died two weeks later in hospital
23:54 GMT, 28 November 2012
Tragic: Mary Woods, 87, died after being hit by a van on a busy dual carriageway. A coroner said she would have needed the speed of Usain Bolt to get across the road safely
A woman of 87 who died after being hit by a van on a busy dual carriageway would have needed the speed of Usain Bolt to get across the road safely, a coroner said yesterday.
Pedestrians had just four seconds to cross four lanes, with no central refuge, before traffic lights turned from red to green.
An inquest heard that widow Mary Woods would have taken an estimated 4.4 seconds just to get halfway across the A56 close to her home in Timperley, Greater Manchester.
As a consequence, the Stockport hearing was told, the pensioner had little chance of making it across safely and was knocked down by a van turning right from a side street.
She suffered multiple injuries and died two weeks later in hospital.
Recording an accident verdict, coroner John Pollard said it was ‘ludicrous’ that pedestrians had such a short time to cross the road. Although there was no pedestrian crossing attached to the lights, lowered kerbs indicated that it was an area used by them to navigate the road, he said.
Mr Pollard added that he would be writing to the local authority to demand new safety measures, saying even Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the fastest man on the planet, would have found it hard to get across the carriageway in time.
‘If a pedestrian is trying to cross safely they have four seconds, which if you are Usain Bolt is difficult, and there is no refuge in the centre, no lane markings,’ said Mr Pollard.
‘It strikes me how ludicrous this is. The fact there is a lowered kerb indicates to pedestrians they can cross the road there.
‘It seems entirely unacceptable to expect an 87-year-old to get across. I will write to the chief executive of Trafford council to see if a pedestrian phase could be added to the lights.
'I know it is scant help to the family but it might help other pedestrians.’
Death: The junction of Woodcote Road and Manchester Road in Timperley, Greater Manchester, where Mary Woods was knocked down by a van whilst crossing the A56
Wrong: Pedestrians had just four seconds to cross four lanes, with no central refuge, before traffic lights turned from red to green. An inquest heard that Mary Woods would have taken an estimated 4.4 seconds just to get halfway across the road
Driver Matthew Woolley told the inquest that he had not seen Mrs Woods when he turned on to the A56 from Woodcote Road in January last year.
He said: ‘I set off when the lights turned green to turn right. I was in first gear. I saw an object in front of me and I slammed the brakes on.’ Mrs Woods, who lived alone, was taken to hospital but died a fortnight later from broncho- pneumonia due to her injuries.
Fast: The coroner said Mrs Woods would need the speed of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, pictured, to get across the road safely
Police crash investigator PC Gary Bryon said that when the traffic lights went to red, Mrs Woods would have had just over four seconds to cross the road before traffic moved again. But he added: ‘It depends how mobile the individual is. We estimated it would take her 4.4 seconds just to walk to the centre of the road.’
In a statement Mrs Woods’ family said: ‘Mary was a kind aunt, and great aunt, who will be sadly missed.’