LEYTON: Take action before someone else dies

THE man who tried to save the life of pedestrian Joe Sheridan, killed in Lea Bridge Road last Thursday, has witnessed four other accidents in the same place in six years.

His wife's father was also knocked down on a nearby zebra crossing.

Malcolm Durrant, landlord of the Hare and Hounds pub in Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, said: "One time I saw a man flying through the air. And in the 1990s a lorry clipped a cyclist's back wheel and killed her instantly.

"Some drivers are oblivious. The road is this bad because it's so long and so straight. They should have some sort of chicane system like in countries abroad."

But Mr Durrant said the council had installed eight extra CCTV cameras in the past 12 months which have made a difference.

Mr Sheridan's friend Tony Hampford, club secretary of the E10 club also in Lea Bridge Road, agreed the cameras have helped.

He said: "The camera (outside the club) does slow the traffic down. It is a busy road and is meant to be the fifth busiest into London.

"They used to fly over that bridge but now there's a speed camera, so they have to slow down. There's also one by the Tesco petrol station.

"People used to shoot up the inside lanes but they don't do that now they know there's a camera on them."

Shopkeeper Anubsai Patel, who lives above his business in Lea Bridge Road, said: "I've lived here for 33 years and the road is always busy so I always use the crossing."

Oluwole Kehinde, owner of Leyton Express Grocery and Off-Licence next door, said he thought there should be lights and crossings in strategic areas, such as bus stops.

Atiye Simsek who lives above her shop, Vatan, said she would only allow her seven-year-old daughter to cross the road if she used the proper crossing.

She added: "They should put in crossings here, like one in front of my shop, but also people should be more careful. I see many accidents, all the time."

ONE in eight road accidents in Waltham Forest happen in Lea Bridge Road.

Police figures show that there were 4,886 accidents on the borough's roads in the five years up to the end of 2006. Of these, 628 were at the accident blackspot.

Lea Bridge Road saw two deaths and 69 serious collisions over that period. Data for 2007 is not yet available.

Both listed fatalities occurred a week apart in July 2003.

First, 76-year-old Henriette Ryan was hit by an ambulance responding to a 999 call. The accident, which happened at the junction with Albany Road, led to calls for the creation of a new crossing.

Chinese student Di Xu, 24, died in a hit-and-run accident. She had been in the country only a few days.

Earlier that year, a man was shot after his car collided with another, close to the Leyton border with Clapton.

In June 2005, Venita Trim called for Waltham Forest Council to make the road safer after her 11-year-old daughter was knocked down by a car.

The accident prompted local shop owner Charles Farrer to comment: "This road is insane.

"The traffic is busy all day and drivers get frustrated. Some of them take big risks."

A year on, the road was closed following a three-way pile up involving a motorbike, a car and a parking warden riding a scooter.

Cabinet member for environment, Cllr Bob Belam, said: "The council has an excellent record of reducing accidents in Waltham Forest and we are due to meet Transport for London's (TfL's) target of reducing serious accidents by 50 per cent and all accidents by ten per cent, by 2010.

"The council has been successful in attracting funding from TfL to implement a local safety scheme in Lea Bridge Road.

"During the next financial year, £200,000 will be spent on improving pedestrian safety on Lea Bridge Road between the junctions with Burwell Road and Markhouse Road."

MANY tributes have been paid to Joe Sheridan.

Friends described him as a nice, friendly man who cared deeply about his family.

Born and bred in Leyton, the father was married and previously worked as a window cleaner.

His friend of 30 years, Tony Hampford, narrowly missed seeing the accident as he was working at the E10 Club down the road.

He said: "It's terrible. He was just a nice guy. He never hurt anyone. He loved his family. It's just a shame that someone's life could just be gone in a split second."

Mr Sheridan grew up in Overton Road, Leyton and both boys went to the Cardinal Wiseman School in Leyton, now part of Holy Family School, Walthamstow.

He loved football and was keen to tell anyone about the superiority of his team, Arsenal.

Mr Hampford, who had known his friend since he was 21, said: "I'll always have good memories of him. He was a rockerbilly and I was a punk and we'd go to the Marquee, the West End. He had a lovely family."

News of his death has rocked people across the country, who knew him as his alias Skint1, a keen blogger and popular member of two online communities, and they too have been paying tribute to him.

An online collection for his famiily at www.nelly'splace.com has reached £700.

Mr Sheridan's funeral will be held on Tuesday.

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