A big day for road safety in Northern Ireland, as the Motorcycle Action Group NI (MAG) confirm that the use of wire rope barriers is to be terminated – following a meeting with the Department for Infrastructure.
This is a hugely positive outcome for riders in Northern Ireland, but also has the potential to have a knock-on effect for policy makers in the rest of the UK. It was back in July 2020 that we reported that wire rope barriers were recognised as a hazard to bikers, so it’s taken a bit of time for something to change.
Change talks have appeared to run on for the entirety of the year, January 2021 saw a change to regulations which govern central reservation crash barrier requirements, where central reservations were required to install rigid barriers with a service life circa 50 years.
Further to this, any wire rope barriers that require replacement due to damage or age will be replaced by a rigid barrier.
Does this spell the end of wire rope barriers?
So it won’t be a widespread rip-up-and-replace job, much rather a slow moving effort to replace the budget friendly cheese-wire that runs along many of the roads – acceptable enough to stop large moving vehicles, catastrophic for vulnerable road users like us motorcyclists.
Speaking on the rule change, MAG NI Rep Martyn Boyd has said:
“We know we won’t see wire rope barriers being ripped out wholesale and replaced immediately, but it is still great news for rider safety in the long term and I’m confident that I achieved the best realistic result possible. I’m very pleased to have achieved such a positive outcome for motorcyclists regarding this issue.”
Overall it’s a huge outcome for motorcyclists, where safety and government policy seems to often skirt above our lids. Let’s just hope this can start kicking off policy change elsewhere.