A573 'most dangerous in Britain'

The A573 between Macclesfield in Cheshire and Buxton in Derbyshire is the most dangerous road in Britain, according to a new report.

Fatal and serious crashes have increased by 127% on the route in the last three years, according to the Road Safety Foundation.

The group said the road, popular with tourists and bikers, had severe bends, steep falls, and was edged by dry-stone walls for nearly the entire length.

Between 2003 and 2005 there were 15 crashes but this figure rose to 34 between 2006 and 2008.

Police records show that the vast majority of casualties were motorcyclists, from outside the local area, male, and with an average age of 35.

The report said as many as 10% of Britain's motorways and A-roads present an unacceptably high risk to drivers, with half of all crashes occurring on just one tenth of the country's road network.

Most of the higher-risk roads are in north-west England, Yorkshire and the Humber and the East Midlands, while Scotland has the highest risk rating of all the regions and the West Midlands was found to be the safest region.

The report, which covers 28,000 miles of roads, also found that one third of all fatal and serious crashes occur at junctions and that single carriageways offer six times the risk of danger to motorists than motorways and twice that of dual carriageways.

Drivers are seven times more at risk on major roads than on minor ones.

The only southern road in the "most dangerous" table is the stretch of the A285 in West Sussex from the A27 at Chichester to the A272 at Petworth.

The report also lists the UK's top 10 highest-risk roads when collisions involving motorcyclists are excluded.

Topping this list is the A18 from the A16 near Ludborough to the A46 at Laceby in North East Lincolnshire. Most of these roads are single-carriageway A roads, with nine of the 10 in the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber regions.

The report also revealed the UK's 10 most improved roads, with the list being topped by the A40 between Llandovery and Carmarthen in South Wales, where junctions were upgraded, new road markings introduced and extensive resurfacing carried out.

Road Safety Foundation director Dr Joanne Hill said: "Simple, relatively inexpensive engineering measures, such as improvements to signing and lining, resurfacing and the layout of signals at junctions, are paying dividends and are affordable, particularly when done as part of well-planned routine maintenance."

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