Safety fears for users of popular footpath

A concerned walker is calling for action to make a Boston Spa footpath safe before someone is killed.

Geoffrey Eason, of Wetherby, claims two vehicles have recently crashed off the busy A1 motorway and crossed a popular path before coming to rest in a field.

“There are no safety barriers on the side of the A1 at that point,” said the keen walker and cyclist about the bridle path at the top of Rhodes Lane in Boston Spa.

“In the past three weeks there have been two vehicles come off the A1 and go through the wooden fence after crossing the path.”

The retired motor mechanic with Leeds City Council says the asphalt footpath, which runs from Boston Spa to Bramham, is very popular with walkers, dog owners, cyclists and people riding horses.

And the 63-year-old added: “Last week I saw a group of 20 youngsters, who looked like they were from a school, cycling along there.

“If a vehicle came off the A1 when such as they were on it, it would be catastrophic.”

Mr Eason, of Autumn Avenue, regularly walks his eight-year-old labrador, Alfie, along the path with his wife Jennifer and knows the route well.

“It is about four feet below the level of the motorway and there are no barriers, only a wooden fence between the road and footpath,” he added.

“If a vehicle came off the A1, at the speeds they travel along there, they would be airborne or rolling.

“I have spoken to people who use the path about the dangers and when they think about it they are horrified and feel really vulnerable.”

He called for action to make the route safe and added: “The A1 needs barriers alongside where the footpath runs and along another similar stretch near Wetherby.”

Local councillor Gerald Wilkinson said he had never heard of the issue before but would support the erection of barriers which he would follow up with the Highways Agency.

When contacted, a spokesman for Leeds City Council told the Wetherby News that the public rights of way department had requested an inspection of Rhodes Lane this week but thought it would need reporting to the Highways Agency.