DANGEROUS drivers are endangering young lives in Barton by using roads in the area as a race track.
Angry parents are demanding action is taken after several near-misses in recent weeks that have brought the problem sharply in focus.
The races have taken place in recent weeks in Hatfield Road, India Road, Alfred Street and surrounding areas.
Cars and motorbikes race up to speeds of 60mph on the small residential streets, often on the wrong side of the road.
Lee O’Connor, a window fitter, lives in Alfred Street with his four children, aged from 18 months to nine, and partner.
Lee said she his partner had a close call with a speeding car that has shocked him into action.
“My missus almost got run over by a car doing 60mph,” he said. “The vehicle missed her by inches when she was putting our baby into the car. I was so angry, I chased after it. I was livid. It is a 20mph limit in this area, but that is being constantly ignored by drivers.
“A couple of kids have come off their mopeds, they are flat out and can’t keep control as the road bends.”
In Gloucestershire in 2012, 43 children and 153 pedestrians were knocked over in the road by vehicles. Of the 33 deaths, eight were pedestrians. In total, there were 1,446 road casualties in the county.
Lee has called for more speed limit signs and also an extra speed hump to slow motorists down.
“ We have at least 15 families in this street, all the kids play with footballs or on their bikes,” he said.
“They don’t always look into the road, they forget. If a car is coming, a kid will die, I’m sure of it. It has got worse in the two years I have been here.”
George Hobbs, owner of Hobbs shop in Barton Street, said: “I’ve seen cars and motorbikes racing at about 50 to 60mph. They overtake people on the wrong side of the road and driving very erratically. It makes no sense and they’re wasting their time.”
City councillors in the area are now calling for more CCTV cameras and visible policing to help tackle the problem.
Said Hansdot, Sheriff of Barton and Tredworth, said: “It’s not acceptable that they are using the road in this way. They think they rule the roads and that they are better than pedestrians.”
Usman Bhaimia, city councillor for Barton and Tredworth, said: “We used to see the police in the area all the time, but not any more. There should be more police and CCTV cameras to stop these races from happening. Local residents are not happy.”
Gloucestershire police sergeant Tim Wood said: “This is the first time we have had this reported as a concern so I would appeal to Councillor Bhaimia and any other residents who have been experiencing any problems to get in touch with the local policing team.”
James McLoughlin, spokesman for road safety charity Brake, said: “Drivers who choose to flout the law by breaking speed limits are needlessly and selfishly putting the lives of other road users at risk. They should face the full force of the law.”
Gloucestershire County Council was unable to comment before The Citizen went to press. may get council comment