Officials have been urged to introduce further safety measures at a Co Down accident black spot after a young child was knocked down.
The eight-year-old boy was struck by a van on the Dundrum Road in Newcastle shortly after 7pm on Wednesday. He remains in hospital.
Earlier this month a teenager was knocked down on the same stretch of road.
Local independent councillor Glyn Hanna said the road has been the scene of many accidents over the years, with people flocking to the area to get to the nearby beach, especially in spells of good weather.
“That road has always been bad, a black spot,” he said.
“Only a few weeks ago another young fella was knocked down. The car park to get to Murlough Beach is on one side of the road and work was previously carried out on the footpath and more signage was put up, but there’s just that high a volume of people in the area.
“You also have to bear in mind there are three caravan sites within about a quarter-of-a-mile that people are inclined to walk to and from. There is one caravan site on the beach side of the road and another on the other side, so a lot of people are crossing over.
“That road has a 60mph limit and I’ve been trying to get the speed limit lowered. I would like to see it reduced, even to 50, but even then it would still be a fast road.
“The road has been well improved over the last 30 years or so, but with the speed and the nature and shape of the road, it’s bad, especially for young children.”
Mr Hanna said his heart goes out to the child injured this week and the driver involved.
“The Department for Infrastructure are ultimately responsible for the safety of the road at the end of the day,” he added.
“One problem is, you can’t put a pelican crossing on a 60mph road, you’re just not allowed to do it. It has to be a 30mph road. So, DfI are restricted to a certain extent, but more could be done to help reduce the speed of vehicles and signage and all that, but it’s going to be very difficult.
“If the traffic was even slowed down to 40mph it would make a big difference.”
DfI said it was sorry to hear of the accident and wished the boy a speedy recovery. It added: “As with all road traffic injury collisions, the department will await the outcome of the PSNI investigation to consider any safety remedial actions that may fall within the remit of the department.”
“There are currently no plans to change the current speed limit on the Dundrum Road.
“Safety measures were recently completed in January 2020, which included the provision of a footway for accessing the local car park and dropped kerbs and tactile paving to aid pedestrians crossing the road, as well as two new pedestrian crossing warning signs erected on each approach.”
Police in Downpatrick have appealed for information over Wednesday’s collision.
“Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who may have dash cam footage that could help with enquiries is asked to get in touch with police on 101, quoting reference number 1838 of 21/07/21,” it said.