Car runs red light while angry parents protest about safety of Cookstown pedestrian crossing

Protesters on the pedestrian crossing on Morgans Hill Road where a number of children have had near misses
Protesters on the pedestrian crossing on Morgans Hill Road where a number of children have had near misses
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Dozens of angry parents gathered at the pedestrian crossing on Cookstown’s Morgans Hill Road to protest at the speed of cars using the road on Monday.

The social action was the result of a number of incidents where children were either knocked down or had to “jump out of the way” of cars speeding through the red light.

Locals want speed bumps on the road where cars 'run the red light' with one hitting a child

Locals want speed bumps on the road where cars 'run the red light' with one hitting a child

And while the protest was under way, one of the two on-site policemen was forced to sprint after a car that ‘ran’ the red light after shouts from fuming protesters.

The vehicle was the second to flout the traffic signal despite the road being flanked by dozens of locals holding placards saying “slow down”, “keep our kids safe” and “red means stop”.

Another motorist was reported to have been using their mobile while driving.

Monday’s protest was organised after news that two more children had a near miss on the road.

Emma Bartley's son Blake, seven, was hit by a car at the crossing in February

Emma Bartley's son Blake, seven, was hit by a car at the crossing in February

The seven and nine-year-old reportedly had to “jump out of the way” to avoid serious injury when a car ignored the same red light.

They were the latest to have suffered near misses at the crossing.

Emma Bartley’s seven-year-old son Blake was hit by a car there in February.

“He was crossing the road, he saw the car coming and it hit him in the back,” she said.

Little Blake told the Mail he still suffers nightmares and when asked if he felt safe crossing the road, he simply said: “No.”

The mood at the scene was one of anger, with many parents feeling “nothing will be done until a child is killed”.

But they said if speed bumps were installed, it would slow cars down.

“I would like to see more signs and more speed ramps,” said Laura Sproule.

“Drivers fly,” added Karen Donnell, “it’s not just for the kids, it’s for the adults as well.

“Someone’s going to be killed... enough is enough.”

The residents are supported by Mid Ulster UUP councillor Trevor Wilson and local DUP MLA Ian McCrea in their calls for action.

The politicians have said they will be working with the relevant departments to see what can be done at the crossing - an action both the police and TransportNI have welcomed.

Trevor Wilson, who joined residents to protest in the rain, said: “I welcome the steps taken by these residents to highlight the dangers at this crossing. A number of near misses have been reported.”

While in a statement, Ian McCrea said: “I was delighted to stand shoulder to shoulder with concerned parents and local residents. I would encourage drivers to be mindful of that fact and pay due care and attention when driving in and around our towns.”

The PSNI said it was aware that “some motorists have been ‘running’ red lights in the Morgans Hill Road area” adding that it would continue “to monitor the situation and take robust action.”

The driver who was pulled over by police during the protest was issued with “a fixed penalty notice for breach of a red traffic light on Monday”.

In relation to calls for speed bumps along the road, a TransportNI spokesperson said: “TransportNI together with PSNI has agreed to meet with local public representatives to hear their concerns and will consider if any action is appropriate.”