Coroner demands safety improvements after young Londoner dies at ‘seriously dangerous’ pedestrian crossing

A coroner has called for safety improvements near a busy junction where a young Londoner was killed as she tried to cross the road.

Ellie Isaacs, 22, died in hospital two days after the collision on the A12 Colchester Road near Romford, close to Gallows Corner roundabout, on June 19 last year.

Coroner Nadia Persaud has written to highways chiefs to warn that further lives are at risk unless action is taken to improve driver visibility of the crossing and reduce the speed limit. It is 50mph and only reduces to 30mph near the traffic lights.

The coroner said there was a “very high level of non-compliance” with the traffic lights and “vehicles were noted not to be stopping” when the lights were on amber.

Ms Isaacs, who was crossing towards the KFC restaurant at about 8.50pm, had pressed the button to activate the green man crossing. She stepped out when the traffic lights changed to amber and had been on the road for 1.2 seconds before she collided with a car.

Her parents Lisa and Terry Isaacs told the Standard that action was needed to make Gallows Corner safer for pedestrians. They said the roundabout had been listed for removal for decades but warnings had been ignored.

Mrs Isaacs said that, shortly after her daughter’s death, the Metropolitan Police wrote to Transport for London to express concerns that the pedestrian crossing was in an “unsafe place”.  

She told the Standard: “The pedestrian crossing is definitely in an unsafe area. You are coming down from 50 mph to 30mph very quickly.

“It’s a very, very dangerous roundabout. There should be pedestrian crossing signs back up that road, warning drivers that there is a pedestrian crossing there. The pedestrian crossing is seriously dangerous. They fly around that roundabout.

“The whole roundabout needs to be addressed. They perhaps need to put a [vehicle] underpass in there as well as the flyover because of the volume of traffic. The pedestrian crossings need to come out.”

The driver stopped at the scene and was not prosecuted, apparently because prosecutors believed he had been too close to the lights when they changed to amber to stop.

Coroner Ms Persaud recorded a verdict of accident at the end of the inquest in September, but this week issued a prevention of future deaths notice to Havering council.

She said: “There are a number of items of street furniture that obstruct the view that drivers should have of pedestrians waiting at the pelican crossing.  

“The pelican crossing is sited shortly following a bend in the road and the immediate speed limit approaching the crossing is 30 miles per hour. Very shortly before the pelican crossing, the speed limit is 50mph.

“A recent site visit noted a very high level of non-compliance with the automated traffic signals. Vehicles were noted not to be stopping at the amber traffic light phase. The combination of the above factors raises a risk of future deaths.”

A Havering council spokesman said: “We were saddened to hear of the death of this young lady and we will assist and work alongside Transport for London, who manage the site on Colchester Road, and the police, to carry out the necessary work.”

Sam Monck, TfL’s head of healthy streets investment and delivery, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ellie Isaacs, who tragically died whilst walking in Romford. 

“The safety of everyone on the road is our top priority, which is why we inspected the crossing where the collision happened to see whether improvements were needed.  

“This inspection determined that the design and operation of the signalised pedestrian crossing met TfL’s robust current design standards and that there was good visibility of the traffic signals on both approaches. 

“We will continue working towards our Vision Zero ambition of eliminating death and serious injury from London’s roads.”

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