Sitting ducks in Seville East

Helen Lewis and her daughter Jaruwan at the bus stop in Seville East. 198805 Picture: JED LANYON

By Jed Lanyon

Most people are fortunate enough to say they’ve never been in a car accident.

Some might say they’ve been in one accident throughout their lifetime, an event that may have been a traumatising experience.

For Seville East resident Helen Lewis, she has had the misfortune of being involved in three car accidents. All along the same location along the Warburton Highway, just metres from her home.

On all three occasions Ms Lewis had been attempting to turn right into Peters Road, only to be rear-ended by another vehicle.

“The first time I was hit, it was by a gentleman who wasn’t paying attention,” Ms Lewis said.

“I thought that it was just a one-off incident but then about two or three years later, I had a young girl hit me.

“And she admitted that she hadn’t been paying attention, but it was quite traumatic.”

On the third occasion, Ms Lewis was driving with her daughter Jaruwan, who was just four-years-old at the time.

Both of them suffered strong bouts of whiplash, and Ms Lewis now attributes those incidents to her ongoing back and shoulder pain.

“It was obviously very scary for her (Jaruwan) and it becomes more traumatic with every accident,” Ms Lewis said.

“On that last one, our car was completely totalled and had to go to the wreckers.

“You’re a sitting duck, powerless to do anything… through no fault of your own because of the bad design of the intersection.

“It’s been pretty much the same scenario every time. I’m just sitting there, indicator on, waiting to turn.

“You can see it happening in the rear vision mirror. It’s horrible because you know that they’re going to hit you.

“I’ve found it so traumatic after having it happen three times, that I no longer turn into Peters Road anymore. I actually turn in at Douthie Road. At least there’s a flat section there.”

But when Ms Lewis did turn into Peters Road, she was sure to indicate early.

“We usually start to indicate just before Joyce Road and then start to slow down to let the traffic behind know that you’ll be turning right.

The distance between Joyce Road and Peters Road is 500 metres.

“We’ve had nearly all of the other residents in the street having at least one rear-ender.”

In addition to being involved in three accidents, Ms Lewis has had the misfortune of witnessing another serious accident on the highway.

“One of our neighbours from many years ago was on his motorbike. We were out walking and someone literally came up and collected him. He was thrown to the opposite side of the highway.

“He was very lucky that there wasn’t any traffic coming from the other side at the time.

Despite her fears for motorists, Ms Lewis said that her greatest concern is for Jaruwan, who starts Year 7 next year, and will be forced to cross the highway after departing her school bus.

“We’re feeling very nervous about that. She’ll be trying to get across the highway in peak hour traffic.

“It’s of paramount importance that this road is made safe for children and other pedestrians.

“My fear is that they won’t do anything until a child gets killed. What else has to happen?”

As Seville East residents continue to push for safety upgrades on the Warburton Highway, the Mail will share stories from the people who use the road every day.

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