A11 Riders Action Group

a1 ridersactiongroup-250The new ‘A11 Riders Action Group’ has been formed to challenge the use of the Steel Wire Rope crash barriers installed on a new 10 mile stretch of the A11 between Thetford and the Barton Mills (five ways) Roundabout in Norfolk England.

At Right To Ride we have major issues with these Vehicle Restraint Systems (VRS), as do the majority of riders around the world, so not just in Northern Ireland but Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales and in the rest of Europe as well as America, Australia and New Zealand, in fact anywhere in the world where these systems are installed with motorcycle – scooter or trike riders present.

The purpose of the A11 Riders Action Group campaign is to have this type of barrier removed from the Highways Agency’s list of barriers to restrain vehicles.

The Highway Agency is an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport (DfT), and responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network in England, from its approved product list.

They are also seeking an agreed programme of replacement put in place, of all the existing steel wire rope barriers, as soon as possible.

The Federation of European Motorcyclists Association (FEMA) stated in their – New Standards for Road Restraint Systems for Motorcyclists, “Barrier posts are particularly aggressive, irrespective of the barriers’ other components, causing a five-fold increase in injury severity compared to the average motorcycle crash.

In Scotland, between 1990 and 2005, the fatality rate for impacting motorcyclists is 100% for wire rope barriers, against 58.3% for other barrier types.

In England, between 1992 and 2005, the fatality rate is 66.7% for wire rope barriers, against 58.7% for other barrier types.”

Northern Ireland

wireropea1pic11smallHere in Northern Ireland we brought the issue of these restraint systems to the attention of our own roads authority (Roads Service). In 2011 in Northern Ireland the A2 Bikers against rope barriers (BARB) was formed to attempt to stop the DRD – Department for Regional Development – Roads Service – from updating/upgrading our roads infrastructure with any more anti motorcycling wire rope barriers until an alternative suitable barrier had been agreed.

The A1 (Newry By-pass) a 12km stretch of carriageway uses a wire rope barrier system as does stretches of carriageway around Ballymena and the A1 Dual Carriageway between Belfast and Newry.

The A11 Riders Action Group campaign states that the Highways Agency’s response is, “these barriers conform to the latest regulations and we believe them to be appropriate for this stretch of carriageway”.

Brifen the company which also produces Wire Rope Systems, states that “The kinetic energy of the impacting vehicle is absorbed by both the wire ropes and the posts, the posts collapse on impact and the vehicle is guided along the fence until it comes to rest.” we can only wonder the effect this has on a motorcycle and its rider!

But what is the A11 Riders Action Group doing about this apart from setting up a Facebook Group?

Petition

The group has set up a petition on the Government Petitions website for riders to sign and support.

A11 Thetford to Barton Mills – Central reservation barrier

We the under signed request that the central reservation barrier type being employed on the A11 between, Thetford and Barton Mills be replaced with a design that does not present such a high risk to Motorcyclist and Scooterists.

The steel wire barrier has more uprights plus no prevention for motorcyclists and Scooterists to slide underneath, or through during and incident causing more devastating injuries.

Sign the petition – Click Here

Protest Run

The group have also organised a protest run on Sunday 14th September – “The Game Over Cheesecutter Protest Run – Say No To Wire Rope Barriers”.

The protest run starts at 1pm from Walkers Cafe Barton Mills Suffolk for a slow ride protest on the a11 towards Thetford then at Thetford turning round and heading back to Barton Mills just off the A11.

Protest Ride Event – On Facebook

The group is also in contact with the Highways Agency and is contacting MPs and Ministers as well – the bread and butter of lobbying action.

The members of the group are also working hard to bring together the motorised two wheel community to get these barriers removed from the A11 and elsewhere in the UK.

Clear Opportunity

a11wirerope-250Although in Northern Ireland the protest run is too far to travel, we hope that the protest run and the campaign can move the discussion on wire rope barrier systems forward.

Right To Ride’s, Trevor Baird previously worked in the past with other rider organisations in Europe and the UK on Vehicle Restraint Systems (VRS) issues.

However there is a case for recognising that it is difficult to get authorities to acknowledge that there is a serious problem when riders impact wire rope systems, despite the amount of studies and computer and crash dummy simulations which demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that these systems are unsafe for motorcyclists.

At the present time the discussion has stalled, as other European and Scandinavian Countries, such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway have successfully campaigned in the past against their use.

The A11 Riders Action Group state, “We have a clear opportunity for the government to take a very positive step towards enhancing the safety of motorcyclist and Scooterists, yet they will not take it, WHY?

Links & Information

A11 Riders Action Group – On Facebook

Right To Ride Virtual Library – Crash Barriers – Click Here

FEMA – New Standards For Road Restraint Systems for Motorcyclists – 2012 pdf 2.1mb – Click Here

Cheesecutter – is a term used that suggests that the cable in in the wire rope barrier system causes the most injury to riders. However it is generally accepted that it is the exposed posts in these systems that causes the most injury.

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  1. Chris Andrews says:

    Please keep up the momentum now the road is nearing opening. I really wonder about the people who think this design is OK. Is it that they think they know better? Whenever I look at this cheesecutter barrier my imagination runs riot, and its not good.

    Write to Elizabeth Truss MP. She is rightly proud of this road and its betterment of the area, but has she no idea of what this would do to 4 teenagers in a small car if they lost control. It would rip the car and them to bits.

    Write to the highways agency, tell them what will happen. I really do believe that in the future relatives of victims will sue and win over this dangerous design. Madness. The most dangerous thing on the road next to a head on with a lorry.

    Chris A

  2. These barriers were tested by RRL (NOW TRL) in 1967, I worked there. They were rejected, largely after people viewed a particularly gruesome film of a crash test dummy in a convertible being beheaded. A report of these tests were published and is available from the ministry of transport – for a price – reference RRL LR 127.

    Ken

    Thanks Ken we will go and get a copy to review – much appreciated.

    Trevor Baird
    Right To Ride

  3. andy downes says:

    Why did the highways agency remove this type of crash barrier from the A140 Dickleburgh bypass?

    The A11 is a major trunk road.

    Oh this cant be motor bike riders are second class citizens can it. I was unable to do Saturdays demo. I feel a lot more help is needed.

    Lets get together and mount a mass ride of up to a 1000 plus bikes this would make the powers to be take note.

  4. The WRB as installed on the A11 HAS NOT BEEN TESTED ON

    2 WHEELERS
    3 WHEELERS
    PICK-UPS
    4X4s
    MPVs
    CONVERTIBLES
    VANS
    MINI BUSES

    AND SMALL VOLUME VEHICLES SUCH AS CATERHAM, FERRARI and HUMMER

    This was in a reply from the Highways Agency.

    Andy B
    Riders action group
    volunteer