Motorists told to hit brakes and ‘drive like your kids live here’

A DENSHAW mum has launched a village-wide campaign aimed at putting the brake on speeding motorists.

Mother-of-two Jodie Simpson decided to act after witnessing a number of incidents fortunate not to end in serious injury or worse.

During a speed watch initiative undertaken by Oldham Council last summer, one vehicle was recorded travelling at 91 miles per hour on the A672 Ripponden Road. Another vehicle was clocked travelling in excess of 74mph.

In our January edition, the Independent reported how an electronic speed warning sign on Ripponden Road – at the entrance to the village – had fallen into disrepair due to lack of maintenance by the local authority.

On the A672 (Denshaw to M62 junction 22) between 1999 and 2019, a total of 51 “injury collisions” were reported.

Stuart Bielawski from Saddleworth and Lees Policin team with Matilda and mum Jodie

In the same period there were 15 serious or fatal casualties, though figures in both categories fell in the second 10-year period because of “traffic management and road safety interventions”.

However, Oldham Council says the A672 does not qualify for a speed camera as the “frequency, nature and severity of the road traffic injury collision record do not meet the required criteria”.

Instead, Jodie has initiated a scheme designed to slow down drivers with simple but thought-provoking messages.

A series of signs, paid for by a local businessman and plus donations raised by GoFundMe page, are now appearing in gardens and fields around Denshaw.

Matilda and mum Jodie

“You should be able to walk down the road without fear a car is going to mount the pavement,” said Jodie, mum to Matilda, 3, and 10-month-old Penelope.

“Vehicles come down off the motorway (junction 22 of M62) straight through the village with nothing apart from the crossroads to slow you down.”

Jodie moved to Denshaw in February 2020 with husband David and quickly became alarmed by motorists’ high speeds.

“Though the roads should have been quiet because we were soon in lockdown, they weren’t,” said Jodie.

“At one point, a car came racing past on Huddersfield Road and went to overtake another vehicle. But they hadn’t paid attention that the first car was turning right so was forced to go on the other side of the pavement.

“A lady walking on the pavement fell backwards over a wall. If she hadn’t done the car would have hit her.“We had one occasion when a lamp post was taken out at the Junction while another vehicle ended up in a reservoir (New Year’s Bridge on the A640).

“During EID, there were loads of cars bombing up and down Huddersfield Road and others going up Rochdale Road, side-by-side, as though they were racing.

“Our eldest is three and wants to learn to ride a bike. There are not many open spaces in Denshaw.

“She can practice at the village hall but we need to be able to walk down Huddersfield Road knowing we are all safe.”

Eventually, after chats with neighbours, Jodie decided something needed to be done.

“We realised normal ‘slow down’ signs don’t have much impact. But with more families moving into Denshaw, we needed something that might hit home to drivers,” she said.

Discussion in the local chat group indicated support. Wayne Helliwell from WHR Fabrications on Ripponden Road offered to fund some of the initial signage.

More has been ordered after the GoFundMe donations realised nearly £600 following a target of £400.

They have been placed in homes, gardens and fields but not on public street furniture to avoid falling foul of legislation.

If you want to donate towards extra signage go online: www.gofundme.com/f/denshaw-signs

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