WHAT hides in the road and overturns cars?
No, it isn’t a superhuman highwayman – it’s a pair of particularly tall traffic islands.
The islands, which sit in the middle of Woodhead Road, between Berry Brow and Honley, were installed around seven years ago to slow down motorists.
But the poorly lit islands, bounded by 40cm ‘Trief’ kerbs, have become a hazard for motorists.
Now the safety of the islands has been questioned by a local MP after concerns from motorists.
A driver fell foul of one of the islands in September, flipping the car.
The motorist, who is believed to have been using a mobile phone at the time, was not seriously hurt.
It is believed other accidents have been caused by the islands over the past few years.
Trief kerbs were first used in 1962 to protect roadside structures and prevent vehicles leaving the road.
The kerbs, which are usually about 40cm tall, are designed to deflect a vehicle away from a hazard.
But motorists say Trief kerbs are inappropriate for traffic calming and can create additional hazards.
Richard Smith, of Holmfirth, said: “They are not well lit. There’s not a lot of room to play with. A slight lapse of concentration and people will hit them.
“They are too extreme for traffic calming.”
Another driver, Arthur Quarmby, of Holme, said: “At night when many of these islands are unlit (either because some vehicle has hit them or because of lack of maintenance) then it seems to me that Kirklees is shouldering an unnecessary legal liability – unlit obstructions in the middle of the road.’’
Now Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney has tabled a parliamentary question to Transport Minister Philip Hammond on the safety of Trief kerbs.
Mr McCartney said: “I tabled the question about their safety and for statistics on accidents involving them.
“The problem is the overtaking lane on the corner when suddenly you’re presented with a traffic island.
“They do look quite drastic; at night they need to be very visible.’’
But Mr McCartney added: “There is a problem with speeding on the roads.”
A spokesperson for Kirklees Council’s highways department said: “The islands were installed many years ago to slow down speeds and prevent dangerous overtaking. They have been successful in doing this.
“Removing the islands would mean increased speeds and overtaking and an increased risk of accidents.
“The accident in question occurred whilst the driver was using his mobile phone. It was not a visibility issue.
“However, the current bollards will be replaced by highly reflective solar-powered bollards within the next few weeks.
“As well as improving the night-time visibility of the traffic islands, the new bollards also offer lower maintenance costs and energy savings as no electricity is required.”