I SEE that the Maltby to Blyth road (A634) has been ‘upgraded’ to assist the hapless drivers who are incapable of safely negotiating a benign country road. Unfortunately, the ‘make-over’ has taken on the appearance of a botched celebrity ‘face-lift’ making the road look more like an urban race-circuit than a rural highway. I frequently ride my motorcycle on this route but should I be involved in a mishap or worse still, happen to strike the new crash barrier support posts, the risk of serious injury or death has now increased five-fold compared to that of an average motorcycle crash (source: Barriers for Change, EuroRAP 2008).
Rotherham and Nottinghamshire Councils’ objectives are clear; lower the total number of serious collisions and save money — even if the danger to minority road users such as motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders or indeed any animal caught between the barriers is significantly increased.
Reducing risk for one group of road-users by disadvantaging another demonstrates questionable moral thinking, with the revised engineering design reflective of the now discredited Vision Zero philosophy adopted by Sweden where 46 per cent of motorcycle rider deaths are caused as a direct result of impacting with so called ‘safety barriers’ (source: Definition of a Safe Barrier for a Motorcyclist www.svmc.se).
In addition, the section of the A634 between Maltby Crags and Maltby High Street (A631) has been gifted with hatched lines in the centre of the road but with vehicles typically parked on either side, users are forced into the centre of the road where there is no centre-line delineation This creates a scenario where oncoming drivers both believe they have priority, resulting in the risk of a head-on collision.
Given the council’s apparent ineptitude, as illustrated by the two examples above, we should demand a re-think of this so-called ‘safety scheme’ entailing removal of the barriers that have spoilt another piece of our precious countryside.
Ian Churchlow, director — The Motorcycle Action Group