Biker Safety issues over A11 barriers

The new A11 dual carriageway
The new A11 dual carriageway
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Concerns have been raised by bikers over wire safety barriers along a stretch of the newly built A11 at Elveden.

Motorcyclist organisations have warned that the ‘cheese slicer’ barriers created from wire and posts can cause much more serious injury to a motorcyclist if they crash into them.

Instead, they say solid safety barriers should have been installed in the £102m road scheme.

Babs Craig, from Beck Row Bikers, said: “It is horrible stuff. If you come off a bike and happen to be going towards one of these barriers, you’d know why they call it a cheese wire. Imagine a human body doing 70mph heading straight towards one of these barriers. I hate them.

“They’re up now - no one saw this in any of the planning, otherwise we would have shouted about it. They’ve just taken the cheaper option.”

Paul Milner, vice chairman of Norwich Advanced Motorcyclists, said: “It doesn’t take much imagination to see if you come off and hit one of those barriers you wouldn’t come out of it at all well.”

Mr Milner wrote to Norman Lamb, his MP, and the matter was passed to the Department of Transport, but he says he was disappointed with a ‘standard’ reply saying the barrier met safety regulations.

He said: “If you’re sliding down the road and hit that cable that’s it. If you come off a motorcycle you are going to be hurt anyway, but at least if you’re sliding along a smooth concrete barrier you’ll slide along it. Wire rope will just cut into you. It would be far better to have chamfered concrete barriers.”

Derek Barker, chief observer for Suffolk Advanced Motorists, said that wire barriers would cause serious injuries and there was a risk that HGVs and cars would not bounce off them, but plough through into oncoming traffic.

He also said the posts on these barriers did not have protection that solid barriers did.

A Highways Agency spokeswoman said: “We are committed to providing safe roads for all road users and any safety barriers we install comply with approved standards.

“This section of the A11 is generally very straight and there has been no significant accident history regarding motorcycles. Wire rope safety fence has been installed because it is a compliant, approved system and is deemed to be an appropriate safety measure for this location.”