Craigantlet A Vision Zero

Do you ride or drive through or over “Craiganlet”?

This is a well known commuter route between Belfast – Dundonald – Bangor and is a much more pleasent ride via motorcycle than the main route of, dual carriage way and four lane road via Holywood.

If you do then you might be interested in the announcement of a public consultation by Transport Minister Danny Kennedy (Department of Regional Developement – DRD) on plans to improve the road network in the Craigantlet area.

Two public exhibitions are to be held to outline the options under consideration and Roads Service staff will be in attendance to answer queries and listen to any views expressed.

The Minister said: “I am aware there has been significant interest in the options for improving the road network in the Craigantlet area from members of the public, including local residents and regular commuters.

“These public consultation events will provide an opportunity for people to find out about the proposed improvements and to have their say on the options which are under consideration.”

What will be considered in the proposed plans offered as options for the public to have their say.

In this case, you will have to go to the two public exhibitions  at Craigantlet and in Bangor to find out the exact details.

However from a BBC News report from July 2012 – “Craigantlet residents object to rural roundabout” the BBC report that, “Residents of a rural part of north Down have raised objections to plans for a roundabout on a commuter route between Belfast and Bangor.

The Roads Service wants to tackle rush-hour traffic jams at the junction at Craigantlet, between Whinny Hill and the Ballymiscaw Road.

It says 18,000 motorists use the route every day, and it plans to build two large roundabouts with four lanes of traffic in between.”

On the Northern Ireland Roads website they have produced a comprehensive background to the proposal which appears to date back to around October 2011.

The Northern Ireland Roads website also carries plans of the scheme of the then suggested replacement of the two junctions at the Ballymiscaw Road/Whinny Hill T-junction and the Whinney Hill / Craigantlet Road / Dunlady Road / Holywood Road staggered crossroads with roundabouts.

While this may be part of the current proposal, the junctions certainly do need improving both for residents – daily commuters and the “ordinary” road user.  You may be all three of these!

Certainly for motorcyclists the junction could do with improvement for line of sight and approach.  There is often gravel grit at the junctions while the staggered crossroads road surface leaves a lot to be desired, especially for slow maneuvers and the isolation in the middle of the road when turning right into the Holywood Road towards Newtownards.

A Vision Zero For Craigantlet

As previously mentioned, although a commuter route, the Criaganlet route is also is much more pleasent ride for a motorcycle than the main route of the dual carriage way and four lane road via Holywood.  Cutting through towards Newtownards, there is the road down Bradshaws Brae which has had a shed load of money spend on it on re-surfacing.

Contained in the Northern Ireland – Road Safety Strategy to 2020 – Vision: Driving Road Safety Forward – is the consideration of the provision of specific route treatments for popular motorcycle ‘runs’ such as motorcycle ‘friendly’ barriers and additional signing.

At present if you travel from the Belmont Road up towards Craigantlet, a short distance up the hill on the Ballymiscaw Road, there is a major scheme in place.

The scheme, which has a significant investment of around £320,000, involves the resurfacing of the carriageway, top soiling the existing stone verge and widening both existing footways.

However coming down the hill on the outside of the bend, still in place is a major section of armco barrier and while necessary for errant vehicles and the protection of users of the footways, this vehicle restraint barrier is crying out for the addition of a motorcycle friendly barrier (or sub rail).

At the other end of the Craigantlet route is another crash barrier at the Ballysallagh Road/Estate Road on a left hand bend as you travel towards Bangor, which also in our opinion needs treatment with the addition of a motorcycle friendly barrier (or sub rail).

In the UK there are available to road engineers various “Motorcycle Friendly Barrier” systems which focus on a sliding impact and can be fitted to barriers already in place.

These systems usually consist of a lower rail or covering that protects the exposed posts of the barrier being stuck. Other protection involves the post itself being protected with a covering.

Not All About Barriers

VisionZeroMotorcycleRoad2008We have pushed the authorities so that the Craigantlet route could be seen as a motorcycle route (run) and as set out in the strategy to be considered for the provision of a specific route treatment.

Taking into account that the government strategy has a vision for road safety, that the DOE’s major road safety campaign is entitled “Share The Road To Zero” – www.sharetheroadtozero.com

In Norway a “Vision Zero Motorcycle Road” concept has been accepted and enacted by road authorities working in consultation with riders – Norwegian Motorcycle Union (NMCU).  Albeit in Norway at Right To Ride we have claimed the Vision Zero concept as a positive measure for motorcyclists.

That vision via NMCU is that, “A road must be designed in a manner that encourages safe behaviour without accidents, and protects against fatal consequences in case an accident still occurs”.

Some of the aspects to be considered in design and maintenance are: Crash barriers fitted with a sub-rail, forgiving side terrain (verges – roadside funiture), well thought out placing of signposts, cutting down sight-hindering vegetation and other obstructions so that all road users can see and be seen, road installations that will minimize possible injuries to motorcyclists – Sharp and protruding details must be avoided, road marking material with favourable frictional properties.

While there better known motorcycle routes – Antrim Coast Road – Ards Peninsula – Newcastle Mournes – these are longer and complicated routes and the Craigantlet “route” is shorter and covers all types of road use and road users.

While Roads Service consider all these options when building and maintaining our roads and carry out safety audits, to bring these all together in one route as a vision, can only be advantageous for all road users.

To replicate this vision on other identified routes is a concept that we have presented to Roads Service.

Sources – Department for Regional DevelopmentBBC NewsNorthern Ireland Roads SiteNorwegian Motorcycle Union (NMCU)

Links Information

The public exhibitions will take place at the following venues:

Craigantlet Orange Hall, Holywood Road, Craigantlet, Tuesday 21 January 2014 (4:30pm – 9pm).

Bangor Library, Hamilton Road, Bangor, Thursday 23 January 2014 (4:30 – 9pm).

Attendees at the public consultation events will have the opportunity to comment on the proposals and rank the options in order of preference.

The plans will be on show in Bangor Library for inspection from Thursday 23 January until Friday 31 January 2014.

Right To Ride on Crash Barriers – Click Here

December 2008 EuroRAP  – Barriers to Change: designing safe roads for motorcyclists – December 2008 pdf 2.4mb – Click Here

Road Safety Strategy to 2020 – Click Here


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Vision Zero For Motorcycling

For motorcyclists the suggestion of a vision of zero fatalities, “Vision Zero” harks back to 1997. Sweden’s, Claes Tingvall, one of the authors of the 1999 Vision Zero road safety document, stated back then that, “Motorcycles are incompatible with Vision Zero… It will never work to combine motorcycles with our ambitious road safety.”

However since then and as recently as 2012 at the European Motorcycle Forum in Cologne, organised by the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA), Claes Tingvall in his presentation at the forum clarified the statement that was picked up by rider organisations as anti-motorcycling.

Mr Tingvall has said at various times in the last few years – “he no longer saw motorcycles as incompatible with Vision Zero and that progress toward zero motorcycle deaths needed to focus on rider behaviour rather than vehicle or road design. The motorcycle community work on road safety in Sweden is forward thinking and the results achieved are very possible the best in the world.

The truth is the motorcycle community is probably more safety orientated than any other user group in the community when it comes to the road transport system it actually cares more about safety.

Riding a motorcycle is not unsafe but it can be, there are user groups within the motorcycle community who ride with extremely low risks there are motorcyclists who ride with extremely high risks, it gave us the insight that if it can be so safe to riding a motorcycle then it must be possible to do it for all”.

In 2008 the Roads Authority in Norway in collaboration with the riders Group NMCU produced a “Vision Zero Motorcycle Road” showing that motorcyclists can not only fit into Vision Zero but can lead the way for the benefit of motorcycling.

We as motorcyclists must claim Vision Zero as our own and as mentioned by a motorcycling colleague recently we must also redefine it so that it is positive for motorcyclists.

If for Northern Ireland the Minister’s vision and ambition is for zero fatalities then any radical and bold action brought forward must include motorcycles, to lead to our own Vision Zero for the benefit of motorcyclists, with the necessary parity in the transport mix with other road users.

Claes Tingvall – Vision Zero

Hear what Tingvall said of motorcyclists and road safety at a conference in Sweden in April 2011

Audio of Claes Tingvall presentation at the FEMA Motorcycle Forum 2012 – it is well worth listening to this all the way through – Click Here

Norway’s Vision Zero Motorcycle Road 2008 – pdf – 3.4mb – Click Here

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  1. “Normal” fitting of barrier post – Armco Type barriers

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