Newry By Pass Motorcyclists

The new A1 Beech Hill to Cloghogue dual carriageway (Newry By-pass), has open ahead of schedule, which means that motorists can now travel between Belfast and Dublin in less that two hours.

The Transport Minister, Conor Murphy with the deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Junior Minister Robin Newton, the Taoiseach, Mr Brian Cowen TD took part in the congratulatory opening of the dual carriageway.

As reported in the Department For Regional Developments (DRD) news release there is no doubt that the road, will reduce transport times and costs, facilitating the efficient movement of people, goods and services and assisting in growing a dynamic and innovative economy.

However, the 12km stretch at a cost of just over £150million and was part funded by the European Union, TEN-T (Trans-European Network Transport) Programme, seems to have ignored the exposure to risk of motorcyclists by installing a wire rope barrier system.

Throughout Europe, these systems are being phased out because of their propensity to maim motorcyclists and because they are incapable of stopping Heavy Goods Vehicles.

The DRD report that, “Environmental considerations have been an important aspect of this project, not least because of its location on the outskirts of the city of Newry and on the boundary of the Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

“The scheme includes mitigating measures relating to noise, landscaping, water quality and the protection of vulnerable animals.”

“Motorists now have new views across this attractive landscape, including views of the impressive 18-arch Craigmore Viaduct on the nearby Belfast – Dublin railway line.”

Right To Ride’s, Trevor Baird, says, “Well it’s good to hear that vulnerable animals are being protected and motorists have new views to look at (while trying to concentrate on where they are driving), while vulnerable motorcyclists face what is considered by riders’ organisations around the world, as the most dangerous type of crash barriers because of the exposure to the lethal upright posts.”.

Generally road authorities and engineers have constraints and budgets to work within for the placement of vehicle restraint systems on Northern Ireland roads, however road safety engineers are responsible for designing the road network to be as safe as possible, for all road users including motorcyclists.

They design road safety engineering schemes to reduce the number and severity of casualties and to prevent them in the first place.  While engineering solutions may strive to protect the majority (i.e. cars), the long term impact may be far more costly due to the lack of consideration of motorcyclists and their potential injuries from wire rope barriers, simply because we represent a minority of road users.

With the phasing out of wirerope barriers in some European countries and the Highways Agency in Great Britain using concrete barrier systems for the central reserves when existing systems reach the end of their useful life on high speed roads, is Northern Ireland becoming the “dumping ground” for wirerope barrier manufacturers?

Links – Information

Right To Right’s position on Crash Barriers – Click Here



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  1. See BBC report:
    Shows wirerope barriers especially on the outside of curve with no protection for motorcyclists.
    And dignatories happily cutting the ribbon without concerns for motorcyclists safety.

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