Norwegian motorcyclists celebrate the fact that life-threatening wire rope barriers will be removed along a six-kilometre stretch of the E6 north of Oslo.
Norways motorcyclists’ association NMCU (a member of FEMA) put a stop to the use of wire rope barriers, or cable barriers, as these are a death trap for a motorcyclist who hits such a railing. In the early 1990s, wire rope barriers gradually began to be erected along new road sections in Norway, and the NMCU spent considerable time and effort putting an end to the life-threatening barriers.
When the ban on wire rope barriers was introduced in 2006, NMCU reluctantly agreed to allow existing ‘egg cutters’ to remain standing. However, in 2013 the NMCU had to go to the barricades again to prevent the 2006 ban from being lifted. That fight was also rewarded with victory.
In the early summer of 2020, the government allocated 600 million Norwegian kroner (approximately €55.5 million) for extra maintenance of the national road network. This is to maintain activity at a time when many contractors experienced dramatic assignment failure as a result of the Corona pandemic. NMCU reacted quickly to ensure that some of the so-called Corona millions would also benefit motorcyclists.
To NMCU’s great joy, the input has paid off in the form of removing wire rope barriers and replacing them with conventional steel railings. This is confirmed by construction manager Alman Mazumder at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. He says that in the first instance, wire rope barriers in both directions will be removed on a six-kilometre stretch between Skedsmo and Kløfta. “The goal was to replace the wire railing all the way to Jessheim, but there was not enough money for that. But next year there will be new funds, and then we will continue the work”, Mazumder says.
Construction manager Mazumder continues: “It was primarily traffic safety for motorcyclists that was the motive for removing the railing, but that it is also profitable in terms of maintenance. The work of removing the wire railing should be well underway towards the end of October 2020. This work will be carried out only at night, and there will then be a narrowing of the roadway”. Mazumder states that it will cost about a thousand kroner (€92.57) per meter to replace wire rope barriers with steel railings. Thus, about 12 million kroner (approximately €1.1 million) will be spent this time on improving motorcycle safety on this single stretch.
‘Now that it is agreed that wire rope barriers are dangerous for motorcyclists, we hope that they will be removed on other stretches as well.’
One of those who has previously been strongly involved in the fight against the now banned railings is NMCU’s county secretary Kari-Anne Søreng-Stensrud in the Oslo and Akershus district. Kari-Anne said: “I think it is incredibly gratifying that our meticulous and tireless work to inform about the dangers of this type of railing finally hit home. It is great that our work is bearing fruit, and that we have such good cooperation with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration that such decisions are made.” She continues: “We have fought for this for many years. Among other things, we have made a video with computer simulation to show how scary wire railings are for motorcyclists. It is gratifying that there is no longer any prestige in keeping the dangerous railings. Now that it is agreed that wire rope barriers are dangerous for motorcyclists, we hope that they will be removed on other stretches as well.”