M6 smart motorway horror crash victim slams Government’s ‘disingenuous gesture’ πŸ’₯πŸš‘πŸš“πŸš‘πŸš“πŸš‘πŸš“πŸ’₯

A biker who was badly hurt in a horror crash on the M6 has slammed the Government’s delay in the smart motorways rollout as a ‘disingenuous gesture’.

Jack Gallowtree suffered life-altering injuries to his left leg when he was flung from his motorbike while riding along the motorway at junction 18 for Holmes Chapel on April 26 last year.

It happened after his bike had a mechanical failure along the section of the M6 which no longer has a hard shoulder for vehicles to stop safely in.

Read more of the top stories from across Cheshire here.

Following the terrifying incident, the 34-year-old branded smart motorways as a ‘death trap’ and has called for them to be scrapped.

The Government announced yesterday (Wednesday, January 12) that it would pause the rollout following safety concerns recently highlighted by the Transport Committee.

Jack Gallowtree suffered life-altering injuries following an accident on the M6 southbound at junction 18 near Holmes Chapel

But Jack said this did not go far enough and called for the reinstatement of the hard shoulders on the completed motorways.

The Wolverhampton man said: “For a start they say five years but we’ve actually already had two of those five years so it’s only three years from now onwards.

“There’s always a catch and they’ve said it before – that they’d just suspend the ones that hadn’t been signed off on. But we’ve got a Government that seems to believe honesty is not the best policy.

“You see them squirm, bob and weave using their wordplay all the time and it’s no different with smart motorways.

“If they remove the one consistent lifeline and element of safety (a hard shoulder) to replace it with half-a**** measures to try to make everything safer, they’re not going to turn around and say ‘well yeah, it isn’t safer, we f***** up, caused however many people to die and however many to be injured’.

“They’re not going to put their hands up and acknowledge any wrongdoing or be held accountable. They’re going to do everything they can to avoid that.

“It’s just another disingenuous gesture.”

Jack Gallowtree suffered life-altering injuries following an accident on the M6 southbound at junction 18 near Holmes Chapel

The Government also promised to spend Β£900 million to ‘improve safety’ on the existing smart motorway network, including an extra Β£390 million to install additional emergency areas.

But Jack claimed this was the Government attempting to create ‘legal loopholes’ in a bid to avoid responsibility for further deaths or injuries on the network.

“The Β£390 million they are spending – paint is a hell of a lot cheaper than that. That’s all they need to do to reinstate the hard shoulder,” he said.

“They could compensate all the families who have had a loved one killed by these death traps and they would still have change left over to maybe address the abysmal state of English roads with all their potholes.

“If they’re going to p*** Β£390 million up the wall, the one thing they could do, that would be useful, is remove the metal barriers. Those are lethal for motorcyclists anyway but vehicles would be able to pull over onto the grass verge and out of the way.”

Jack’s accident happened when he lost power in the fast lane and began working his way over to the inside lane where two lorries were travelling slightly behind him in what was previously the hard shoulder.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps.

He moved over to the very outer edge of the tarmac in lane one, to give the lorries enough space to pass, when he said the bike bucked to the left.

Jack believes he was told by a police officer he travelled 300 yards at 60 miles per hour, however he is not certain about this as he was heavily sedated at the time.

As a result of the impact, Jack lost a piece of his left tibia, taking with it a chunk of leg upon exiting his body.

He also sustained a shattered kneecap from something slicing through it, causing damage to the bones behind the patella.

His leg is now a centimetre shorter than it was before the accident but he has been able to start walking again, although he says he now ‘looks like a penguin that s*** itself’.

Jack said: “I’m still as crippled as Forrest Gump when he was a young lad. My leg is still very much broken, the Tibia gave up healing. I have about 30 degrees of movement in my knee and until I have another major surgery, I’m not going to progress any further.

“I’m always at least a two out of 10 in pain, with the cold weather it knocks it up to a three or a four.”

He added: “Because I had a motorcycle accident, people always ask if I’ll get back on a bike again. I want to get back on a bike again, I’ll happily get on a bike again.

“But there’s no way I’m going on an English motorway again, whether it’s a smart motorway or not, because you’re not even given the option to opt out of a smart motorway.

“Maybe I would if there were signs saying ‘you’re approaching a smart motorway, you don’t want to risk your life on this death trap, turn off at this junction’.”

The pause in the smart motorways scheme will be ‘until a full five years’ worth of safety data becomes available’ for schemes introduced before 2020.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: β€œOne of my first actions as Transport Secretary was to order a stocktake of smart motorways and since then, I have worked consistently to raise the bar on their safety. I am grateful to the Transport Committee and to all those who provided evidence for its work.

β€œWhile our initial data shows that smart motorways are among the safest roads in the UK, it’s crucial that we go further to ensure people feel safer using them.

β€œPausing schemes yet to start construction and making multi-million-pound improvements to existing schemes will give drivers confidence and provide the data we need to inform our next steps. I want thank safety campaigners, including those who have lost loved ones, for rightly striving for higher standards on our roads. I share their concerns.”

The 19-mile stretch of smart motorway on the M6 between junctions 16 for Crewe and 19 for Knutsford opened fully to drivers in March 2019.

M6 smart motorway horror crash victim slams Government's 'disingenuous gesture'

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