‘I saw 38 drivers on their mobile phones within one hour on Birmingham's most dangerous road’

Better Street for Birmingham has revealed the shocking use of mobile phones by drivers on Coventry Road in Hay Mills
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It’s one of the busiest - and most dangerous - roads in Birmingham. With seven lanes of traffic the Coventry Road/A45 in Hay Mills has already claimed the life of one youngster this year.

Azaan Khan, 12, fatally collided with a car while riding his cycle, in the summer. And the dangers still linger.

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Campaigners at Better Streets for Birmingham (BS4B) have told BirminghamWorld how they witnessed a shocking total of 38 drivers using their mobile phones within one hour while driving along the 40mph stretch near the junction with Berkeley Road during one recent visit. 

With its seven lanes they say the road is more like a motorway than the type of road that is appropriate to run through a densely populated city neighbourhood.

Birmingham City Council is proposing to reduce the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph. But BS4B say this is not enough. They are calling for some of the space that the road covers to be reclaimed for the community to offer better wellbeing for locals.

Mat Macdonald, co-chair of the group, told BirminghamWorld: "It’s deeply unfair that the residents of Hay Mills run the gauntlet of seven lanes of traffic, many of them with young children in tow, often several times per day, just to get about the area where they live. 

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“The standards of driving here are appalling, as they are across the city – we saw 38 drivers on their mobile phones in the space of one hour at this junction when the schools were closing, right next to the flowers laid out in memory of Azaan Khan who was so tragically killed this summer. 

“We need to be more aware of our responsibilities behind the wheel, where it is all too easy to forget the impact our actions can have. 

Mat MacDonald (Right) and other volunteers from Better Streets for BirminghamMat MacDonald (Right) and other volunteers from Better Streets for Birmingham
Mat MacDonald (Right) and other volunteers from Better Streets for Birmingham

“And while we are very happy that the council is going to reduce the speed limit here from 40 to 30mph, more needs to be done to make this area safe. 

“It is all too easy to speed on this road, which looks and feels more like a motorway than a street in a densely populated urban area. 

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“Reclaiming some of this space for the community from those who are simply driving through would not only reduce speeding, but would also send a strong and reassuring signal that the council is making the happiness, wellbeing and safety of Hay Mills’ residents its top priority here."

What happened when BirminghamWorld visited the Coventry Road at Hay Mills?

We visited Hay Mills last Wednesday (November 22) and nearly got knocked over while crossing Berkeley road right off Coventry Road. We spoke to local residents, including parents, cyclists and the elderly, who told us drivers don’t slow down for pedestrians on the road. 

One parent, Ghulam Abbas, told me: “The public is not caring about the pedestrians, they can crush everyone. I think the speed should be 30mph. U-turn is forbidden here as you can see, but drivers still do it. They don't care about the pedestrians. Even sometimes when a pedestrian is crossing, they will not stop.”

Coventry Road in Hay Mills Coventry Road in Hay Mills
Coventry Road in Hay Mills

One cyclist, Paul, who was cycling on the pavement on his way to work said: “This is a very bad road and that is why I won’t ride on it.” 

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When we posted our story on our Facebook page we received more comments from people outlining how dangerous the road is. One BirminghamWorld reader said: “Multiple deaths have occurred on that stretch of road and nothing ever gets done, it's absolutely heartbreaking how many lives have been lost.”

Another BirminghamWorld reader wrote: “Drivers in Birmingham don’t care about anything or anyone.” One person commented: “That road is a death trap. I used to cross it when looking after my brother, very scary road to cross.”

Another added: “Death trap junction. It's bad for drivers too as the car behind doesn't slow down when you're turning into Berkeley road so you fear getting rear ended. Horrible road all along.”

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