TRIBUTES PAID TO MOTORCYCLIST

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RESIDENTS living near the location of a fatal traffic accident which claimed the life of a Donaghadee man this week say he is the fifth person to die in what they describe as an ‘accident blackspot’.
Twenty six year-old Steve McDowell died after the motorbike he was riding collided with a van near the junction of the Killaughey and Windmill roads on Monday evening.
Police investigating the accident have appealed for anyone with information or who has dash cam footage to contact the PSNI’s Collision Investigation Unit.
Tributes have been paid to the local man, who was a keen and careful motorcyclist, with members of Dundonald Motorcycle Club expressing their shock and sadness, after many club members recently enjoyed his company at the North West 200 motorcycling event in Portrush.
One local resident, who heard the crash while sitting in his home, said ‘there have always been people crashing here’.
Pensioner Cecil Armstrong said the impact of Monday’s crash was so loud he thought someone had come through into his garden.
Mr Armstrong said motorists coming over the hill are suddenly confronted with a crossroads.
He explained that when his wife is driving out of their home he has to go out onto the road to guide her out, ‘otherwise they’d be on top of you, coming over the hill’.
“I have been on with the police on numerous occasions and nobody does anything about it,’ he said. “Something needs to be done to make this road safer.
“I know there have been three killed at the spot, and I’ve lived here seven years, but someone told me there have been five people killed,” added Mr Armstrong.
Another resident said it is a rural road with a 60 mile per hour speed limit but people do drive very fast along the road.”
“I have lived on the road for years and there’s always been crashes along it and the reasons have always been about speed,” added the resident who declined to be named.
Traffic restrictions had to be set in place along the road outside the nearby Ballyvester Primary School, to reduce speed to 30mph during school drop-off and pick-up times.
One of the tragedies the residents referred to was the death of 51 year-old Bangor cyclist, Brian Marshall, who was struck by a car in June 2007 and later died from his injuries.
Police officer, Sergeant Miller-Devlin said a ful investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collision is ongoing.
Ards and North Down councillor Janice MacArthur offered her condolences to Mr McDowell’s family but said she had campaigned for improved speed restrictions, particularly around the nearby Ballyvester Primary School, to be put in place.
Mrs MacArthur said though she did not know the circumstances of this latest incident, she had recently engaged with police in an effort to address the issue of speed on the road.
The DUP councillor added: “My thoughts and prayers are with all those concerned and I trust they will gain strength from knowing that others are praying and thinking of them.”
North Down MLA Stephen Dunne also said it was a ‘terrible tragedy to happen on our roads’ and offered his ‘sincere condolences to the man’s family’
“This serves as a reminder to us all around the dangers of our roads every day.”
Alliance councillor, Gillian McCollum described the young man’s death as a ‘devastating loss’.
Others used social media to express their shock and sadness at the Mr McDowell’s untimely loss.
Paying tribute, The End of the Line motorcycling club said: “Completely devastated to hear the news that Steven McDowell junior died last night after a bike accident, can’t believe it was only last week that he and his dad Stevie spent the weekend with us at the NW200, RIP mate.”