Calls issued for new safety signs on A7 in Borders following latest fatal accident

Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton alongside the A7.
Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton alongside the A7.

Campaigners are stepping up their calls for action to make the A7 road through the Borders safer following another fatal accident on the Edinburgh-Carlisle route.

Motorcyclist Jackie Kennedy was killed in a collision with a van on the A7 at Fountainhall on Friday afternoon.

The A7 at Fountainhall.

The A7 at Fountainhall.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash that killed the 50-year-old, of Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire, to come forward.

That plea has been accompanied by a call by the A7 Action Group for signs highlighting the death toll claimed by the road over the years as a warning to drivers to take care.

Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton, joint chairperson of the group with fellow MSP Oliver Mundell, has written to Scottish Government transport minister Michael Matheson and Scottish Borders Council calling for the A7 to be made a priority for upgrades and safety measures.

There are currently no plans lined up to make any improvements of note to the route, and that is a cause for concern among Borderers, according to Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP Mrs Hamilton.

She said: “This is a reminder to Transport Scotland and Scottish Borders Council that the A7 needs urgent attention.

“The A7 Action Group and I have suggested that we work together to implement improvements, and signage that reminds drivers to watch their speed given the high accident rate along the route would be one way of doing so.

“The A7 is an important route through the Borders, and we need to see more investment in order to make it fit for the 21st century.

“I will continue to work with Transport Scotland, Scottish Borders Council, the A7 Action Group and other stakeholders to push for improvements to make the route safer.”

In her letter to Mr Matheson, she says: “The A7 trunk road through the Borders has seen many accidents, some of which have been fatal, in the past few years.

“As a result, I am keen to see action taken to advise motorists of the high accident rate through informative signage.

“The signage could inform drivers of the number of accidents and fatalities on the road in a hope that it will enact behavioural change.

“These measures would be cost-effective, informative and could be easily implemented.”

Any witnesses to last Friday’s accident are asked to call police on 101, quoting incident number 1,822 of May 31.

Inspector Richard Latto, of Police Scotland’s road policing unit in Galashiels, said: “We continue to extend our deepest sympathies to all of Jackie’s family and friends at this very difficult time, and our investigation to establish the full circumstances of the collision is ongoing.

“If you were on the A7 at around 1.15pm on Friday and witnessed what happened, or if you have any other relevant information, then please contact us immediately.”

Between 2012 and 2016, those being the latest detailed statistics available, 40 lives were lost on roads in the Borders, seven of them on the A7.

Three of those were on the trunk road section south of Galashiels and four of them on the northern section.