Coventry's shared space junctions 'safer'

image captionThe intention is to give a pedestrianised feel to much of the city centre

The safety record of a new road junction without traffic lights or pedestrian crossings has been defended by a West Midlands council.

Coventry City Council has introduced the shared space junctions as part of a major refurbishment of the city centre.

Councillor Lindsley Harvard said: "There's been one accident in 14 weeks and that compares with one every six weeks when the lights were there."

There are shared space junctions at Gosford Street and Hales Street.

Councillor Harvard said average speeds in the city centre had fallen to 18mph (29km/h) since the road system was changed.

A day following the accident, a student was hit by a bus while crossing at a different shared space in the city, although it was not clear whether the accident was connected to the new junction.

But Councillor Harvard said: "The police have investigated that and I've been told this morning that the bus driver was not at fault. A student walked straight into the road."

The changes to the traffic system were made as part of a £7m redevelopment of the city centre in time for this year's Olympic Games. Coventry will host Olympic football at the Ricoh Arena.

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