A nine-year-old girl killed after riding her scooter into the path of a bus may have mistaken a traffic calming measure for a pedestrian crossing, an inquest heard.
Caitlin Hunt died instantly in front of her brother Aiden, ten, when she fell under the wheels of the single-decker on a ‘courtsey crossing’.
The unofficial crossing points – where the road is raised and paved but drivers still have right of way – are an increasingly common traffic calming measure in suburban areas.
A coroner heard there were no plans to change the crossing outside shops in Blair Parade, Swindon, Wilts., despite the youngster’s death.
But speaking after the inquest, Caitlin’s mother Claire Hunt, 42, said: “The raised platform at the crossing is confusing for adults, let alone kids.
“Plenty of people round there think it’s a crossing and everyone crosses there.
“There are bumps on the pavement for disabled people there so surely that means it’s a crossing?
“We want it changed. It just isn’t safe. Who knows what might have been different?”
The ‘beautiful and vibrant’ youngster was riding along the edge of the road with her brother and a friend when she suddenly rode out without looking.
She was hit by a Thamesdown local service bus travelling at around 15mph and suffered multiple traumatic crush injuries when she was trapped underneath.
Three witnesses rushed to her aid and attempted CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but was declared dead shortly after the collision.
Police said driver Robin Langston was not to blame for the accident which happened just before 6pm on March 18 and no changes needed to be made to the road.
Pc Jason Trafford said: “Unfortunately the bus hit her flat, being a flat-faced bus, and has then run over her and her scooter.
“The driver immediately steered right and braked after the impact but it was too late by this point.
“Unfortunately Caitlin didn’t look. It was her actions and her judgement that brought her into conflict here.
“In my opinion Mr Langston could have done nothing to avoid the collision.”
Pc Trafford said the section of the road was an unofficial ‘courtesy crossing’, where drivers are not expected to stop and there was a zebra crossing 80m away.
When asked by the coroner if Caitlin may have been confused by the crossing, Pc Trafford said: “It is a courtesy crossing that the council did work on in the last year.
“It is not a pedestrian crossing but the pavement does have bumps to aid visually-impaired.
“They council reduced the the width of the road to slow down traffic.”
He added that the only collision of note on that road was a minor incident between two cars.
Caitlin’s father Steven Hunt nodded when coroner William Coward asked him if he thought she had confused the raised platform for a real crossing.
Caitlin, of Swindon, was a Year 4 pupil at Rodbourne Cheney Primary School.
Her family wept as Mr. Coward, the Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner, said: “Caitlin died as a result of multiple traumatic injuries sustained in a collision with a bus.
“Caitlin died from injuries resulting from a road traffic collision after riding her scooter into the path of a bus.”
After the inquest Reneira Hunt, Caitlin’s step-grandmother, said: “She was a beautiful, vibrant and happy girl. She always had such a smile on her face.”
‘Courtesy crossings’ are increasingly common on Britain’s roads, especially on housing estates where they are used as informal crossing places.
Pedestrians do not have the right of way and rely on drivers to give way but some campaigners say they are confusing to both pedestrians and road users.
Verdict: Death in a road traffic collision.
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