Royston driving instructor speaks out after latest A1(M) Letchworth Gate filter lane smash

PUBLISHED: 13:45 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:45 11 September 2017

The slip road from A1(M) northbound at J9 coming on to Letchworth Gate. Picture: Danny Loo

The slip road from A1(M) northbound at J9 coming on to Letchworth Gate. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

A Royston driving instructor has condemned the infamous Letchworth Gate A1(M) filter lane after seeing a motorcyclist “miraculously” walk away from a crash that left his bike wedged under a van this morning.

Alan Haynes was heading along the A505 into Letchworth shortly before 8am today when he witnessed the aftermath of the crash on the northbound filter lane coming off Junction 9 of the motorway.

He said: “I don’t know how that biker’s got out – it’s a miracle. He was walking around, but that bike was pretty much under the van. It was wedged.

“As a driving instructor, I drive around there a lot and you do see an awful lot of crashes there. It’s very blind because of the angle.

“When you’re waiting to turn you’re only looking at what’s coming across from Baldock way. If people don’t take notice of the road marking or the signs and ignore the slip road, coming up before turning left and across you, you’ve got no chance.

“The lanes on the right-hand side have both got traffic lights, so I don’t know why there aren’t lights for the slip road too. That would cut out a lot of accidents straight away.”

A police spokeswoman confirmed that nobody had been reported injured after the crash.

Thousands have signed a petition launched last month that calls for the filter lane to be closed – and about two thirds of voters in this paper’s online poll have backed this.

Stevenage driving instructor Allen Shadbolt was among those who signed the petition, taking a similar line to Alan.

He said: “I use this junction and couldn’t believe this ever got approval. It needs to be scrapped or controlled by a traffic light filter system.”

Katy Howard, the petition’s author, called the slip road “a complete and utter death trap” – while Potton’s Michael Montgomery declared it “the worst-designed slip road in history”.

Responding to the petition last month, Herts County Council’s highways department said there had been no fatal or serious crashes at the junction in the past five years.

Ralph Sangster, the cabinet member for highways, said there was no plan to close the slip road.

You can see the petition for yourself at change.org/p/herts-county-council-s-highways-close-letchworth-gate-junction-filter-lane-northbound.

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