South West Wales

Louise Lucas: Kingsway layout 'contributed' to death

Sgt Louise Lucas Image copyright South Wales Police/Twitter
Image caption Sgt Louise Lucas was based at Llanishen police station in Cardiff

The "unconventional" layout of Swansea's Kingsway was a "contributing factor" in the death of an off-duty police officer, an inquest has heard.

Sgt Louise Lucas, 41, died after she stepped into the path of a single-decker bus in March 2015.

An inquest into her death began in Swansea on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, a road safety expert told the coroner Sgt Lucas most likely "forgot" traffic flowed both ways on the road while crossing.

Independent road safety expert Mark Steventon said: "The highway's unconventional configuration was a contributing factor."

He added: "It is my opinion that the most likely explanation is that [Sgt Lucas] was engrossed in a conversation and momentarily forgot that traffic travelled both ways.

"It would also be difficult for her to have heard the bus coming behind her because of the location of the engine at the back of the bus."

Mr Steventon also explained how pedestrians develop an expectation of a conventional road layout and a counter-intuitive layout would need an extra level of concentration before crossing.

He said the temporary guard railing - which was introduced along the central reservation following Sgt Lucas' death - has since been "effective in inhibiting crossing movements" .

A "major redesign of the road is required", he added, with acting coroner Colin Phillips saying this was an on-going process for Swansea council.

Earlier, civil engineer Mark Thomas said the rails along the central reservation may not have prevented Sgt Lucas' death.

He said the road had designated crossings and markings.

The coroner asked whether the risk of pedestrians looking the wrong way while crossing the unconventional layout of Kingsway had been identified during previous audits.

'Safety concerns'

Mr Thomas replied: "Yes."

He said: "A measured approach was taken and a number of considerations were taken on board.

"I consider the fact that we incorporated designated signalling points for pedestrians to be an appropriate response to safety concerns raised in the audit."

Mr Thomas added there was evidence pedestrians "continue to cross the Kingsway using the central reservation" and not the designated crossing points, despite the introduction of guard rails since the incident.

On Tuesday, the inquest heard evidence from Sgt Lucas's best friend Karen Williams who said she would not have seen the bus coming.

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