‘I’ve got stuck on top of it’: Speed ramp raises the ire of low-riding Limerick driver 

Áine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Áine Fitzgerald

Christopher Fitzgibbon with his Passat at the pedestrian crossing in Galbally, which he says his car can’t travel over Picture: Michael Cowhey

Christopher Fitzgibbon with his Passat at the pedestrian crossing in Galbally, which he says his car can’t travel over Picture: Michael Cowhey

A FRUSTRATED Limerick motorist claims a pedestrian crossing which was constructed as a safety measure is an accident waiting to happen.

Christopher Fitzgibbon from Galbally says his car, which is lowered, is unable to surmount the raised pedestrian crossing outside the national school in Galbally due to its height.

The 23-year-old claims he is at his wits’ end and has resorted to driving his 06 Volkswagen Passat up on the footpath or takes a long detour of several miles to overcome the obstacle. And, he claims he has damaged five different cars on the six-inch high crossing.

“My car won’t go over the speed ramp because I have a lowered car. But it fits inside NCT specifications. Lowered cars are in difficulty. A Ferrari comes out of a garage that low. I have got stuck up on top of it. I’ve asked the council to remove or rethink their ramp and they are not willing to do anything about it and it’s over a month on,” Mr Fitzgibbon told the Limerick Leader this week.

“In my daily car alone, a total of €2,100 in damage has been caused,” he continued.

Mr Fitzgibbon’s big fear is an oncoming car will crash into the back of his vehicle. He has contacted the council, the gardai and the RSA about his concerns.

“My car gets stuck on top of the speed ramp. You obviously have to accelerate to go up on a speed ramp. When I’m on top of it I come to a sudden stop without using my brakes so those coming along behind me can’t see that I’m coming to a stop which is putting my safety on the line,” he insisted.

“If you come from one side, you have to go around a bend and you are onto the speed ramp. I have asked them (the council) do I do a three point turn between the bend and the ramp? Do I reverse around the bend? Or do I join the pedestrians and drive on the footpath to get over it? They won’t answer my questions. I have logged it as a complaint with gardai as well.”

Mr Fitzgibbon lives about three and a half miles from the pedestrian crossing. He says the new safety measure has resulted in him taking a long detour or mounting the footpath to get around the crossing.

“I go to work and from work and use it once or twice in the evening again. It can’t take the height of it,” he continued of his car.

“I’m driving up on the footpath so I can get out over it. To cover my own back, I went to the local gardai just so they are not going to come around the bend some day and see me in the middle of the footpath.”

When contacted a spokesperson for Limerick City and County Council said the raised pedestrian crossing provides “a safe crossing point for children attending the nearby national school and also provides an effective traffic calming measure” and they say it has been constructed in accordance with specific guidelines.

In relation to Mr Fitzgibbon’s claims that his car cannot traverse the crossing without damage to his vehicle, the spokesperson said the local authority has requested a meeting with Mr Fitzgibbon at the location on numerous occasions.

“We have asked Mr Fitzgibbon to drive his car over the ramp so that we can investigate his complaint and, if required, explore possible solutions. To date, Mr Fitzgibbon has not contacted the council with a view to arranging a meeting at the location.”

In response, Mr Fitzgibbon said the reason he wouldn’t drive over the ramp is “a disclaimer wasn’t provided”.

“I did question why they (the council) wouldn’t provide a disclaimer, and asked is it because ye think it is not a safe environment for a car and it’s too risky to provide it? I asked them if I could go and meet them and they refused to meet me today at their offices.

“I haven’t refused to meet them - I will not drive the car onto the ramp without the disclaimer but will have the meeting, but they say the meeting is irrelevant if I do not drive the car onto the ramp.”