A motorcyclist who blames a smart motorway for the devastating injuries sustained in an accident has dubbed them a ‘death trap’.
The Department of Transportation (DFT) this week said it is halting the expansion of new-style roads, where the hard shoulder is permanently a live traffic lane, until five years of data on drivers’ safety.
But Jack Gallotri, who was seriously injured in an accident on a section of the M6 that has no hard shoulders, has scuttled the government’s plan as not going too far and ended them entirely. called upon to do so.
The 34-year-old had suffered a serious injury to his left leg after an accident at 18 junction in April last year when his bike had a mechanical fault, Cheshire Live reports.
And he said that instead of stopping the plan, the government should consider restarting the hard shoulder on motorways.
He said: “For starters they say five years, but we’ve actually had two of those five years, so only three years from now.
“There’s always a catch and they’ve said it before – that they would only suspend people who weren’t signed.
“But we have a government that believes that honesty is not the best policy. You see them chuckle, bob and weave using their wordplay all the time and it is no different with Smart Motorway.
“If they remove a consistent lifeline and the element of safety (a stiff shoulder), replace it with half the **** measures to try to make everything safe, they won’t be turning around. And say ‘Okay, yeah, it’s not safe, we f**** up how many people die and how many get injured’.
“They won’t raise their hand and admit any wrongdoing or be held accountable. They’re going to do whatever they can to avoid it. It’s just another fraudulent gesture.”
The government has pledged to spend £900m to ‘improve safety’ on the existing smart motorway network, including an additional £390m to set up additional emergency areas.
But Jack of Wolverhampton said it could be done for much less.
He added: “The paint is much cheaper than what they’re spending £390m on. That’s all they need to do to restore the hard shoulder.”
He called for the removal of metal barriers, saying: “They’re deadly to motorcyclists anyway, but vehicles will be able to move over grassy ledges and out of the way.”
Smart motorways are segments of motorways in the UK that use new forms of technology and active traffic management (ATM) techniques to increase road capacity.
There are different types but they include:
- control – Where the stiff shoulder remains but technology is used to control the traffic flow
- dynamic – Where the hard shoulder can be opened at peak times and used as an additional lane but with a lower 60mph speed limit
- running all lanes – where the stern shoulder has been permanently removed to provide an additional lane, but with regular emergency shelter areas for vehicles that run into trouble
They have been approved by many governments as a more efficient cost-effective alternative to increasing the number of lanes on motorways, but have been heavily criticized by some road safety groups.
Jack’s accident occurred when he lost power in the outer lane and began working his way to the inside lane, where two lorries were running slightly behind him, which had previously been in the stern shoulder.
When he said the bike was on the left, he moved to the very outer edge of the tarmac in lane one, to give enough room for the lorries to pass.
As a result of the impact, Jack lost a piece of his left tibia, causing his leg to explode.
His knee was torn and debris was coming out of it, which damaged the bones behind the patella.
The government said this week that the Smart Motorway scheme would be on hold “until a full five-year safety data is available” for schemes launched before 2020.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “My first action as Transportation Secretary was to order Smart Motorway’s stocktake and since then, I have worked relentlessly to raise the bar on their safety. I am grateful to the Transportation Committee and all of them who provided evidence for its work.
“While our preliminary data suggests that smart motorways are among the safest roads in the UK, it is important that we move forward to ensure that people feel safe using them.
“Stopping plans to start construction and making multi-million-pound improvements to existing plans will give drivers confidence and provide us with the data we need to inform our next steps. I want to thank safety campaigners, including those who have lost loved ones, for rightly striving for high standards on our roads. I share their concerns.”
The 19-mile extension of the Smart Motorway on the M6 between Junction 16 for crew and 19 for Nottsford was fully opened to drivers in March 2019.
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