Couple’s close call with bus route bollard

Michael Snowdon, back home in Spalding.
Michael Snowdon, back home in Spalding.
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An elderly couple have told of their near-death experience when a bus gate bollard came up through their car as they drove over it.

Michael and Nancy Snowdon, who are both in their 80s, thought a bomb had gone off under their Ford Focus Ghia. They were badly shaken as the bollard smashed into the car boot.

Now the couple, who live in Spalding, are contacting Norfolk County Council to complain about the danger posed by the bollards, which rise and fall to allow bus access only along certain routes in King’s Lynn.

They are also annoyed that they had to claim on their insurance and lose a large no claim discount to have extensive repairs carried out on the car, and say the experience has put them off visiting King’s Lynn again.

The couple, who only occasionally visit the town and are not familiar with its layout, were trying to find their way to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where Mrs Snowdon had an appointment with a specialist, on October 16.

She recalled: “We missed the sign and found ourselves in a housing estate with no apparent way out, and followed a bus to escape.

“There was suddenly a huge bang, which we thought was a bomb. A large bollard had come through the road, with no warning, and through the car, doing immense damage.

“We were lucky that we weren’t killed – a few feet forward and it would have come up between the passenger seats.”

The bollard wrecked the driveshaft and left the car stranded at the Saddlebow Road gateway until a breakdown truck arrived to take it away.

Fortunately, a nearby resident, who was a hospital driver, took Mrs Snowdon to the hospital for her appointment while her husband remained with the badly damaged car.

Mr Snowdon said some police officers from Saddlebow investigation centre, who stopped to help, seemed “only concerned that the bollard was not damaged”.

Mrs Snowdon said there was marking on the road but they did not see it as they were close behind the bus. She said: “We were very shaken by this experience. It seems a barbaric thing to do.”

A county council spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear about this couple’s experience, but it is clearly marked as a bus lane and the bollards are there to make sure it is not abused.

“There are people who will take the chance to go down routes they are not supposed to.

“These sort of devices are not exclusive to King’s Lynn and fortunately this sort of occurrence is extremely rare.”