What's being done to combat Bradford's 'Wild West' driving?

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BradfordImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Both West Yorkshire Police and Bradford Council have taken steps to combat poor driving in the city

Driving in and around Bradford has been described by some as "horrible, dangerous and like the Wild West".

As part of the BBC's We are Bradford project we spoke to people about the standard of driving in order find out more about an issue which has prompted the city's police and council to take action.

In 2017 figures showed Bradford was the only district in West Yorkshire to see a rise in the number of people killed or seriously injured on its roads with the number rising from 178 the previous year to 192.

The figures also showed the district was the only one to see a rise in the number of crashes owing to excessive speed and drinking.

The city also featured heavily in a recent list of crash for cash hotspots, with five postcode areas - BD9, BD8, BD3, BD7 and BD5 - featuring in the top 25 worst affected areas, only Birmingham featured more often.

Stacy, 41, from Pudsey - a few miles to the east of Bradford - said on Twitter "it's like the rules don't apply".

She went on to say: "It's like it's every man for themselves, you have to be twice as alert.

"Coming down Leeds Road into Bradford people will just pull out in front of you without any regard, just assuming that you are going to stop for them.

"You see people on their phones - that tends to be the younger drivers - you see a lot of cars with a lot of people in - more than there should be - you see children with no seatbelts on. It just seems to be a way of life."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
Image caption,
Perwaiz Rajput said he would "pray" before leaving his house that he will come home safely

Perwaiz Rajput, who has been a driving instructor in the city for almost 20 years, said he had noticed standards dropping.

"It's gone from being safe and OK to a very dangerous situation in many areas of Bradford," he said.

"People do not care how they drive or what they do, especially at peak times and around busy junctions.

"I get out the house and I pray that I'm going to get back alive."

'Drivers need re-educating'

Shad Miah, a 37-year-old restaurant manager, drops off and collects his children from school each day before driving to work in Wakefield.

He said roads such as Manningham Lane, Midland Road and Leeds Road were bad for speeding drivers at times and inconsiderate drivers around schools often left the roads gridlocked.

"I sometimes walk to the school because I do not have time to deal with the traffic," he said.

"Midland Road can be like a race track. We've asked for speed bumps or speed cameras but we were told there had not been enough deaths. That sounded disgusting to me.

"We've got some young drivers on the road that either need re-educating or they need to have their cars taken away."

Image source, West Yorkshire Police
Image caption,
West Yorkshire Police's Operation Steerside tackles dangerous and nuisance drivers

The issue has not gone unnoticed by those in authority.

West Yorkshire Police's Operation Steerside has a team of 11 officers dedicated to tackling nuisance driving and the "fatal four" offences; drink/drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt, speeding and using a phone at the wheel.

Supt Daniel Greenwood said while Bradford has a "bad reputation" for poor driving standards, provisional figures for 2018 suggest the number of people killed or seriously injured is in decline.

"Whether it's real or perceived it's impacting on people's behaviour, they're saying 'I won't drive in Bradford' or 'I'm afraid I'm going to die [on the roads] and that's not helpful," he said.

"My message to people is really simple, when you press that accelerator a little bit harder, when you go over the speed limit, you have no idea what's round the corner, or going to step out from behind that bus and split seconds can and do change lives for the worse."

'Racing cars'

Bradford Council has also taken steps to clampdown on poor driving in the city.

On 7 March, councillors sanctioned powers to impose fines on drivers caught making noise, including playing loud music, revving their engines, shouting, swearing or making sexual suggestions.

The move came after more than two-thirds of people said they felt "unsafe" on the city's streets due to poor driving.

Councillor David Warburton said: "Anti social behaviour of revving loud engines, playing loud music and groups congregating and some times racing cars on inappropriate streets at inappropriate times is clearly wrong.

"We want to do everything we can, alongside the police, to combat that and make sure the public are safe at all times."

This article was created as part of We Are Bradford - a BBC project with the people of the city to tell the stories which matter to them.

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