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MAG UK discuss dangerous barriers with N-Ireland minister

Picture: Wim Taal

The Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure accepts that wire rope crash barriers pose a hazard to motorcyclists’ safety.

Motorcycle Action Group UK’s Northern Ireland Representative, Martyn Boyd, and MAG UK Director, Ian Churchlow met with officials of the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure (DfI) in July 2020 to discuss MAG’s concerns about the continued use of wire rope style crash barriers on the trunk road network across the province.

At this meeting, MAG explained the motorcyclists’ concerns about wire rope crash barriers. In turn, the Department for Infrastructure officials explained the regulatory issues and the difficulties associated with alternative rigid systems, that currently make it difficult for an immediate unilateral cessation of their use. Nevertheless, they understood and accepted MAG’s perspective. At the end of the meeting, the DfI accepted that wire rope and steel post type crash barriers are hazardous to motorcyclists’ safety in a collision with such a barrier. The DfI agreed to actively promote the wider use of much safer Motorcycle Protection System barrier installations at high-risk locations which are or could be particularly hazardous to motorcyclists. The Dfi also agreed to work with the local universities on any research projects, with the goal of developing a crash barrier system that is much less harmful to motorcyclists but still effective against twin-track vehicles.

Minister Mallon: “I’m committed to improving safety on our road network for all road users.”

Nichola Mallon, Northern Ireland’s Minister for Infrastructure (photo: DfI)

Recently, in December 2020, MAG had another meeting about wire rope barriers, but this time with Nichola Mallon, the Northern Ireland’s Minister for Infrastructure. Minister Mallon said: “I’m committed to improving safety on our road network for all road users, and this review addresses a long-standing issue impacting a vulnerable road user group.”

Because of the danger that they pose to motorcyclists, MAG wants the use of wire rope barriers to end and is working constructively with the DfI in Northern Ireland to achieve this goal. MAG’s Martyn Boyd commented: “I found the meeting positive and proactive, and The Minister and officials gave fair consideration to our concerns and suggestions. I thank Minister Mallon for granting this meeting and look forward to further constructive dialogue with her Department. This is another step forward on the path to improved road safety.”

The DfI will schedule another meeting with MAG for early 2021, which will allow further discussion on any recommendations coming from the review. Additionally, Minister Mallon invited MAG to input to the upcoming Northern Ireland Road Safety Review.

Source: MAG UK

Top photograph by Wim Taal

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