Resident calls for brighter street lights after 'shocking' fall leaves her seeking hospital treatment

Liz Whitelock trips over in Hitchin due to dim streetlighting

Hitchin's Liz Whitelock was left with severe bruising and had to go to A&E after her "shocking fall". - Credit: Liz Whitelock

A Hitchin resident has demanded improvements to street lighting in one part of the town, after she suffered severe bruising and needed hospital treatment following a "shocking fall". 

Liz Whitelock was walking down Milestone Road in the evening of Sunday, March 28 when she fell and smashed her face into the concrete, causing what she describes as "severe bruising" to the left side of her face.

She says she had to go to Lister Hospital's Accident and Emergency department, where they treated her for her injuries.

Speaking about what happened, Liz said it was a "shocking fall" that was caused by dim street lighting overlooking the pavements in the Westmill area of Hitchin.

Liz Whitelock Hitchin fall streetlight

In a later video shared on Facebook, Liz points out the exact spot where she tripped and fell due to the streetlighting - Credit: Jacqueline McDonald

Liz said: "I was just around the corner from my home, but the light was so poor that I tripped and fell. My head hit the concrete, it was a shocking fall and I was lucky I didn't suffer a serious injury.

"I would like to point out this is not about politics, but public safety. I consider myself lucky, but I do not want a serious accident to occur or even death. 

"We as pedestrians have the right to be safe."

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Liz says she is considering setting up a petition in the wake of supportive comments from fellow residents, who say they've also suffered a similar fate walking around the streets of Westmill.

"I put a comment on Facebook was amazed that a lady got in touch who said she had ended up in A&E after a similar accident the week before.

"Another woman had to have dental treatment after her fall. It's clearly a serious issue."

Street lights, which are managed by Hertfordshire County Council, were switched to LED lighting last March in a bid cut carbon emissions and save millions of pounds in electricity costs.

HCC has now publicly responded to Liz, explaining that less than half of street lights in the area are on all night as per its 'part night lighting policy'.

A spokesman said: "We’re sorry to hear about these injuries and we hope that the resident concerned is recovering well.

"We haven’t made any changes in the Westmill area of Hitchin recently, but we will continue to monitor our street lighting system to ensure people feel safe when out during the hours of darkness.

"About 60 per cent of street lights are on for part of the night. They turn on at dusk, switch off at 1am and then switch back on again at 5am until dawn. They also dim as the night gets later.

"The part night lighting policy, combined with the switch to LED street lights, has led to a 60 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from street lighting, as well as improving light pollution, reducing demand for energy and avoiding around £5million a year on the council’s electricity bill, benefiting Hertfordshire’s taxpayers."