The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has written to the hon. Gentleman.
Letter from Dr. Malcolm McKibbin, dated 3 November 2006:
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question about what assessment he has made of the safety implications for motorcyclists of wire rope crash barriers in Northern Ireland. As this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.
I can advise that all vehicle restraint systems installed on the public road network in Northern Ireland comply with European Standard EN 1317. There is relatively little wire rope safety fencing erected on the Northern Ireland road network and statistical analysis of collision data has not identified any problems in those areas.
Whilst Roads Service has not undertaken any specific research to evaluate the safety implications for motorcyclists, I can advise that the Government (DfT) Advisory Group on Motorcycling reported in 2004 that the Transport Research Laboratory had undertaken some evaluation of safety fences. I understand the conclusion from this work was that all types of barrier pose some form of risk for motorcyclists, but wire rope is no more of a risk than other types of post and beam barriers.