Riders protest wire barrier

Wire barriers designed to make roads safer for motorists can be lethal for motorcyclists, organisers of a Dunedin protest ride say.

About 20 motorcyclists braved rain and cold weather on Saturday morning to ride from Dunedin to Taieri Mouth, Waihola and Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter facilities at the Otago Aero Club near Mosgiel.

Dunedin couple Christina Johnson and Hayden Kelliher organised the rally to draw attention to the dangers posed by "cheese cutters", the high-tensile barrier wire used to divide motorway lanes nationwide.

"Obviously, riders don't want to fall off [their motorcycles] but people can survive if they have the right protective clothing and don't hit anything solid.

"But if they are sliding after an accident, there's no getting out of it if you hit the wires or the posts which support them," Ms Johnson said.

On Saturday, riders signed a petition calling for a halt to wire barrier installation until a review of their safety for all road users been completed.

The risk posed to motorcyclist was highlighted when Auckland motorcyclist Daniel Evans (21) was killed near Papakura after hitting a wire barrier in October last year, she said.

Protest rides were also held in Auckland, Napier and Palmerston North, and in Nelson-Marlborough and Canterbury on Saturday.

Many riders wore red arm-bands as symbols of the potential of wire barriers to sever limbs at speeds of 70kmh or more, and to emphasise Transit's responsibility for the safety of all road-users.

Transit network operations general manager Roly Frost last week told the The New Zealand Herald the organisation would take part in a two-year Australian and New Zealand study to improve understanding of what type of road safety barriers were best for motorcyclists.

Riders on Saturday's rally raised $125 for the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter.

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