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"Something must be done or someone will die." Biker seriously hurt in crash speaks

Second accident at same Slaithwaite junction

A woman who nearly lost her leg in a nasty motorbike smash has spoken of her shock after history repeated itself.

On Friday, a biker in his 40s was hurt after colliding with a truck at the junction of Manchester Road and Varley Road in Slaithwaite.

The man, who is thought to have serious injuries, was helped by off-duty paramedics following the accident during morning rush hour.

The crash is almost identical in location and characteristics to one six months ago, that saw history teacher Claire Thomas left with life changing injuries.

Claire, 47, spent more than two months in hospital with a shattered leg after she was hit by a car on the other side of the junction - Ned Lane.

She has been left unable to work and is unsure if she will ever walk again.

Claire said seeing the similar horror smash on Friday in the Examiner had prompted her to call for urgent road safety work before someone is killed.

“That accident brought it all flooding back,” she said. “It’s untrue how similar that accident is.

“Like me, that guy was helped by two off-duty paramedics. I don’t know who they are but I would like to thank them.

“It’s taken me a long time to be able to talk about it.

“But now I’m emotionally well enough to talk about it and I would like to thank them, perhaps even meet them.

Road traffic accident between a Vauxhall Corsa and a motorcycle at the junction of Varley Road with Manchester Road at Slaithwaite(Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

“I have told the driver that hit me that I don’t hold any malice against her.

“That junction is a nightmare and it was rush hour – it was a pure accident – I don’t want her to feel any worse.

“But something has to be done about that junction or someone is going to die.

“Myself and the chap who got hit on Friday were extremely lucky.

“Somebody’s going to take a life at that junction, it desperately needs looking at.

“In terms of highways safety it must be a priority.”

Claire, who works at North Huddersfield Trust school, now relies on a mobility scooter to get around and can only take a few steps on her own.

Her horrendous crash ordeal on March 6 saw her take the full impact of a car on her leg as it pulled out of Ned Lane, a hilly slip road out of Slaithwaite onto Manchester Road.

Teacher Claire Thomas, recovering at her Marsden home, after being knocked off her bike at the Manchester Road and Varley Road junction in Slaithwaite, back in March.

After six months in recovery she is still more than a year away from being able to work.

She underwent an eight hour operation to save her leg and was initially allowed home after only two weeks in HRI.

But she soon found herself back at the infirmary after the flesh of her leg started to die.

She had four procedures. spending a further two months in the infirmary.

“I thought they were going to remove my leg,” she said.

“It was really traumatic, not just for myself but for my whole family.

“Thankfully my leg was saved and so far they are pleased with my progress, but my ankle and my fibula are still broken.”

The impact of the car caused Claire’s heelbone to completely detach from her ankle, which is now held together by screws and has not healed.

Her shinbone – the tibia – is pinned with a titanium nail while the thinner bone next to it – the fibula – is still fractured.

Accident hot spot, junction of Manchester Road and Varley at Slaithwaite.

“I loved my bike but there’s no way I will get on one again,” she added.

“I’ve got to warn others, if I hadn’t been wearing the right gear it could have been much worse.

“I received outstanding care at HRI, I’m not sure what would’ve happened to me that day if it was no longer there.

“I needed family support, it was really important for me to stay positive about my injuries and I’m not sure that would have happened if I’d gone to Leeds.”

Claire said she wanted to send her best wishes to the victim of Friday’s collision and his family.

Clr Nicola Turner, a friend of Claire’s, said Kirklees Council needed to urgently investigate the tricky junction.

And she urged the council to look at the accuracy of its road safety reports as Claire’s accident had been reported as “minor injuries” by the police.

“This isn’t about speed, it’s about sightlines,” she said.

“There’s been three accidents there now and Friday’s is the second serious one in just a few months.

“I don’t want it to be that someone gets killed before we do something about it.

“It absolutely needs to be a priority now as there’s been two major accidents.”

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