wire rope barriers road safety inquiry claims Irish

Irish riders win on wire rope barriers

While wire rope barriers continue to be rolled out in Australia despite growing anger from riders, Irish authorities have admitted they are potentially dangerous to riders.

UK riders rights The Motorcycle Action Group held a meeting earlier this month with the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure who accepted that wire rope crash barriers were effective for larger vehicles, but posed a hazard to motorcyclists’ safety.

This follows a recent Victorian Auditor General’s report that slammed claims about the safety and cost effectiveness of wire rope barriers.

The auditor’s report found there was no evidence to support the claimed safety benefits for motorcyclists and scooter riders.

It also found Victoria’s WRB rollout was almost $100m over budget, over time and under-maintained.

Irish win

MAG Northern Ireland rep Martyn Boyd says there is “much work still to be done, but this is a good step forward”.

Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure officers told him that regulatory issues and difficulties with alternative systems made it difficult for an immediate unilateral cessation of their use.

WRB Martyn Boyd Irish
Martyn Boyd: “a good step forward”

“Nevertheless, they understood and accepted our perspective,” he says.

At the end of the meeting, the officers:

  • Accepted that wire rope and steel post type crash barriers are hazardous to motorcyclists’ safety in a collision;
  • Agreed to actively promote, through Northern Ireland road restraint systems standards, the wider use of much safer motorcycle protection system barrier installations at high-risk locations which are or could be particularly hazardous to motorcyclists; and
  • Agreed to work with the local universities on any research projects, with the goal of developing a crash barrier system that is much less harmful to motorcyclists but still effective against twin-track vehicles.

These official Irish and Australian acceptances of the dangers of WRBs represent a significant step in the move to have them banned.

Meanwhile, the potentially lethal barriers continue to be rolled out across the nation.


  1. I remember rolling down the country roads along the Rio Grande two feet distant from farm fence posts adorned with barbed wire.

    Not wanting to become too familiar with any interaction with such, I kept my distance and my riding on the road.

    I personally like the Croatian model of road safety – no guard rails.
    It is very effective with all other than those with a death wish.

    Personal responsibility might serve to eliminate the controversy.

    Thanks for the coverage.


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