Five years on, residents are still terrified of a repeat of the Bath tipper truck tragedy

“I remember the loud bang, I remember the beeping of the driver, that poor little girl and her granny. It’s just awful.” Five years on from a crash which cost four lives and left the people of the West Country in shock, the memory of the horrors of February 9, 2015, remain fresh.

Five years ago today, on Landsdown Lane, a 32-tonne tipper truck went out of control, crashing in to pedestrians and parked cars. A court later heard its brakes were defective, meaning the driver was helpless and could not stop it on the steep hell. Bath four-year-old Mitzi Steady was killed, along with Robert Parker, 59, Philip Allen, 52, and Stephen Vaughan, 34 – all from Wales.

Others, including Mitzi’s grandmother sustained life-changing injuries.

Mitzi Steady died in the tragedy when a tipper truck that lost control in the Lansdown Lane in Bath on Monday February 9 2015.

The crash devastated the community around Lansdown Lane and shocked the city of Bath. Five years on, our sister title Bath Live has spoken to residents who remain traumatised. For one person the trauma is so severe, it made them want to move away.

They said: “Nothing has changed, the road is still dangerous – cars fly by my house. “I remember the loud bang, I remember the beeping of the driver, that poor little girl and her granny. It’s just awful.

“That road feels like a time bomb before there’s another accident. I can’t unsee what I saw that day.” After the crash, safety improvements were put in place on the road; including a zebra crossing, a speed camera and a 20mph speed limit.

Five years on, residents are still terrified of a repeat of the Bath tipper truck tragedyLansdown Lane where the crash happened

But the resident told Bath Live the lane is still used as a rat run for people coming from the M4, saying they would like to see more traffic calming measures.

The resident said cars slow down for traffic calming, but then speed up straight away. “I think it is a shame to their memories, when people speed down here,” the resident said.

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Bath and North East Somerset councillors said this week work was continuing to improve safety on Lansdown Lane. Some people feel the road is safer now, but many said they felt there was still an accident waiting to happen.

John Roberts, who has been living on Lansdown Lane since 1983, said there was a “horrendous” problem with lorries and buses driving down the hill.

Five years on, residents are still terrified of a repeat of the Bath tipper truck tragedyLansdown Lane was the scene of a horrific crash five years ago which claimed four lives. Today residents still have concerns about the road.

He said: “We have big buses which do a loop from the hospital and come down here.” Mr Roberts suggested chicanes are put in to stop traffic coming down too fast and another speed camera is installed.

He added: “I can often smell brakes of cars coming down – to be honest I’m not sure what the answer is, but I think those would help.” “It is impossible to forget what happened here, it was awful.”

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Zena Barnes, who lives on Haviland Grove, off Lansdown Lane said: “It is hit and miss if people adhere to the 20mph limit but the speed camera does work. “It does catch a lot of people out but the problem is they slow down past it and they speed up again.

“The 20 limit does feel very very slow but the cars speed going up the hill. “People ignore the zebra crossing and that is an accident waiting to happen, having it so near to the roundabout is the problem I think, because people are thinking about the roundabout and not the crossing. “I don’t know what the answer is.”

Get all your local traffic news, powered by In Your Area: lan Brown, who has been living on Haviland Grove since 1971, said: “The issue is that it’s a steep hill. “The 20mph limit works for most people going down but going up they do 50.

“I wouldn’t want there to be another accident.” Chris Lee, who moved to Haviland Grove last August had not been aware of the major crash. He said thought that in the few months he had been living in Weston he had noticed several problems around Lansdown Lane.

Mr Lee said: “The road is bad, it’s very steep. I take it all the time, when I go to Bristol or though the centre I’m on it.”

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He suggested there be more “sleeping policeman” put in and that people needed to think more about their driving technique. “It can burn the brakes going down the hill but people need to shift gear, some don’t.”

Mr Lee also added that he sees cars park on the corner of Haviland Grove leading to Lansdown Lane. He said: “Those cars block the view and I have to creep out to see what is coming, it’s not good. “I thought people weren’t allowed to park before a junction.”

‘I remember that night and the loud bang’

Other people spoke of how the memory of what happened that day is still with them when they leave their door.

Another resident who wished to remain anonymous, said they remember the loud bang of the crash five years ago. They said: “I notice fewer HGVs but it’s still quite a bad road. They could do with some chicanes maybe to slow people down.

“I remember that night and the loud bang, I remember hearing the helicopter, just awful.” Mark Fisher, who has been living on Haviland Grove since 1996 said: “The 20mph limit is actually too slow, it’s ridiculous. I think the road is safe.

“But people have to be careful, there are kids about but the 20 can feel very slow.” Mr Fisher added that he had just missed the crash five years ago, having just got home. “It’s really bad what happened, I had just got home and missed it, I’d been driving up that road minutes before.

“It’s still in my memory what happened, I think it’s with all of us.” Mr Fisher said that he thought problems were caused by young “boy racers” who use Lansdown Lane as a rat run off the motorway. He added that he thought the current zebra crossing was problematic saying that “people assume cars will stop for them but they do have to look up”.

“People forget that, but you can’t walk straight out like some people do – they still need to look.” Liberal Democrat councillor for Weston, Shelley Bromley said: “As councillors for Weston, Ruth Malloy and I regularly receive e-mails from residents who are worried about the general use of Lansdown Lane by heavy vehicles, parents and carers parking illegally or carelessly on Lansdown Lane, and also about the safety of the pedestrian crossing at the bottom of Lansdown Lane. “To that end, the council will be installing new signs at the top and bottom of Lansdown Lane with a new compulsory weight restriction.

“We also have a meeting with the cabinet members for transport and the design engineer to consider the safety of the lower section of Lansdown Lane, including parking and the pedestrian crossing near the roundabout.” Councillor Joanna Wright, joint cabinet member for transport at Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: “Over the last few years we have introduced a number of traffic safety improvements in Lansdown Lane, including width restriction, a speed camera, a new zebra crossing and a raised table at the junction with Broadmoor Lane to slow traffic. “Last year residents raised concerns with us about the difficulty crossing the road between the school and Brookfield Park and we are currently investigating ways to make it easier and safer to cross at this point.

“We will also be looking at ways to stop people from parking on the pavement in this part of the road to improve safety for pedestrians.”

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