Highlands & Islands

Skye crash survivor in 'keep left' campaign

Sharon Anslow's crash Image copyright Sharon Anslow
Image caption Sharon Anslow was freed from the wreckage of her car by firefighters

A woman injured in a crash has started a campaign calling for more signs and markings on roads in Skye reminding visitors to the isle to "keep left".

Sharon Anslow said she tried to avoid a car on the wrong side of the road while she drove to work in Portree.

After the accident, other people have told her of similar incidents.

She said tourism was hugely important to the island's economy and wants to make the roads safer for both visitors and islanders.

'Near misses'

About 2,000 people have signed her Keep Left petition so far and it has the support of Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch SNP MSP Kate Forbes.

Highland Council said it shared responsibility for Skye's roads with Transport Scotland, and that it had its own petitions procedure for members of the public to raise issues with it.

Transport Scotland said road safety was of "paramount importance" to the Scottish government and that it assessed the safety performance of the trunk road network.

Image copyright Sharon Anslow
Image caption Ms Anslow said other people have told her of near misses on Skye's roads

Ms Anslow, whose accident happened on 29 December, said: "I have been driving the same road for 20 years and I have always been cautious.

"My Mum is always telling me to be very careful, and I tell her that I always am and that it is other drivers I'm worried about.

"On the day of the crash I was just travelling to work on a Saturday to get a little bit of extra overtime.

"It was very quiet on the road, but as I came round a corner there was a car on the same side of the road as me. I tried to avoid it, but it was too close to call."

'Momentary lapse'

Ms Anslow said her car was pushed into a ditch by the side of the road.

She was freed from the wreckage by firefighters and suffered bruising and a sprained ankle in the crash.

Police said a driver received a fixed penalty notice following the accident.

Ms Anslow said: "I have only just started driving again, which is terrifying."

Image copyright Sharon Anslow
Image caption Ms Anslow's accident happened on her way to work

Her campaign for more signage and road markings started with a Facebook post about her experience.

Ms Anslow said: "There were lots of comments from people who had near misses."

On her decision to start her petition, she said: "It is not about knocking tourism, it is about trying to make the roads safer for everyone - both visitors and islanders.

"Accidents can happen from just a momentary lapse of concentration and drivers can be distracted by the beautiful scenery.

"More and clearer signs and road markings could help remind people to keep left."

She said she also hoped to encourage hire car companies to place "keep left" stickers inside their vehicles.

A Highland Council spokeswoman said: "Anyone wishing to petition the council should follow the council's petitions procedure.

"Highland Council is not solely responsible for all the roads on Skye as trunk roads are the responsibility of Transport Scotland."

'Accidents sadly happen'

Transport Scotland said the trunk road network was assessed on an annual basis by screening all locations where three or more personal injury accidents have occurred in a three-year period.

A spokesman said: "Alongside accident clusters, we also look at accident patterns and rates in the form of route accident reduction plans. This ensures that full consideration is given to accidents that may be spread along a corridor.

"Further investigations are carried out and, where appropriate, mitigation measures are prioritised and delivered."

He added: "It is essential that we use the personal injury accident evidence available to enable us to prioritise resources across the country to effectively support the delivery of the Scottish government's 2020 casualty reduction targets."

Ms Anslow is meeting her local MSP Ms Forbes to discuss her campaign.

Ms Forbes said: "Whilst accidents sadly do happen, I agree that everything that can be done, should be done. That includes signage at key points on the Highland road network.

"I have committed to supporting Sharon Anslow's campaign and look forward to our discussion to move it forward."