ROAD FEARS: Mum’s walk to school video calls for safety measures on A87 at Lochalsh

The A87 at Kirkton

A Lochalsh mum has made a video of her “terrifying” walk to school with her children as part of a campaign to improve road safety on the A87.

Lucia Gregoria Perez posted the video – A Walk in Kirkton – on Youtube to convey how dangerous she believes it is to live on this stretch of road.

The main A87 from Balmacara to Auchtertyre carries a 60mph limit and is extremely busy with tourist traffic, lorries and buses.

The video illustrates just how vulnerable families and children are as they walk to school on the busy A87. 

Yet it is also the main route to the primary school in Auchtertyre and the roadside walkway is regularly used by pedestrians and cyclists.

Lochalsh Community Council and local residents have been calling for safety improvements for around 10 years including a reduction of the speed limit to 40mph and a barrier between the walkway and the road.

But government roads agency Transport Scotland maintains 60mph is “appropriate”.

Mum-of-two Lucia was spurred to make the video after one of the family’s dogs, Floki, was killed on the road outside their house which is directly beside the A87.

“Floki was normally a very good dog but she got out and it happened in an instant,” said Lucia.

“It made me think if it could happen to a dog, it could also happen to a child because they are not aware of the dangers and they can do something very quickly.”

Lucia walks to Auchtertyre Primary and back daily with her five-year-old daughter Maya and her younger daughter Alicia.

“It’s terrifying, especially when the big lorries and buses pass, just inches away from you,” said Lucia.

“They don’t slow down when they see you walking at the side of the road. When cars are slowing down to turn in to Auchtertyre, other vehicles are overtaking them. It’s really scary.”

Lucia walks to Auchtertyre Primary and back daily with her five-year-old daughter Maya and her younger daughter Alicia

The 10-minute film shows Lucia, with a pushchair and her dog on a lead, dashing across the road during a brief lull in the traffic to access the walkway. HGVs thunder by, just inches from Lucia and the buggy. Cars are seen overtaking at speed. 

Captioning on the video describes the serious incidents that have taken place at various sections of the road over the years including fatalities, and a cyclist who was seriously injured after being knocked off her bike. 

Only one sign announces the primary school and pupils are seen playing beside the wire fence which separates the playground from the A87 where overtaking regularly takes place.   

It concludes: “We need to reduce the speed limit on this road – before something else happens.”

Last year local residents called in the Safer Roads Foundation, which commissioned a consulting engineer to carry out a safety study on the A87 Balmacara to Auchtertyre section.

The study concluded the speed was too high and recommended it be reduced to 40mph. However it brought no change in stance from Transport Scotland.

Lucia has sent her video to Michael Woodford, chairman of the SRF, who said: “My heart was in my mouth when I watched this compilation of evidence and this is extremely powerful material.” 

The SRF is now attempting to move things forward by commissioning another set of independent speed engineers to do a report into this stretch. 

Local resident and mum Sarah Longley, who sits on Lochalsh Community Council, said: “All of us in Kirkton are scared for our lives and witness horrifying speeds and crazy overtaking on a daily basis.” 

Emma Bennon, also a Kirkton resident and community councillor, said: “We are urging people to report to the police any incidents of dangerous driving between Reraig and Auchtertyre as this could help our campaign for a speed reduction.”

Transport Scotland says assessments of the speed limit confirm that the current limit at Kirkton remains most appropriate, given the measured speeds, injury accident data and road environment.