A New Approach to the Mountain Road for TT

Each year, a massive policing operation is required to allow the Mountain Road to operate one way. The attraction for those using the route is that it is derestricted, and there is no conflict with oncoming traffic. However, should there be an incident, the risks involved in dealing with it require it to be immediately closed whilst emergency services attend. Because of this, there are usually six or more police officers and vehicles dedicated to this zone. They are effectively stood to on alert, and not carrying out any effective police function. Indeed, on attendance, the police are often the last thing that is needed, with emergency life saving intervention being a higher priority. 

The Mountain Road is effectively a 'fairground ride', provided at massive public expense, with enormous associated risk. The Coroner for Inquests has previously commented on the effect that speed has had on the likelihood of fatal outcomes in collisions. Evidence is readily available that shows cars and motorcycles travelling on there in excess of 170 miles per hour. 

The question is whether the State's Article 2 obligations will allow this to be sustainable. One alternative, if the 'ride' is still to be made available, is to close the route for the festival, and operate it in a similar vein to the Nurburgring route. This is effectively a decommisisoned race track, which operates on a toll basis, with rescue and recovery provided. Normal road insurance is null and void, and rescue charges are considerable. 

This would massively change the game in respect of roads policing, freeing up resources to manage other routes and interact better with the public. It could open between 0500 and 2000 each day for use, for a fee, and operated to motorsport safety levels. It requires a commitment of resources, but once the public purse costs of policing and associated response is removed, and diverted to commercial operations, these are more palatable. 

It is a radical step, but removing that route from the policing of the TT would be a game changer in terms of resourcing, and indeed statistical impact on casualty figures. 

Why the contribution is important

The sustainability of a 'playground at public expense' has to be questionable. The route ceases to be anything ordinary during TT - and arguably Grand Prix as well, where the 2 way conflict potential is ever present. 

by DerekFlint on April 14, 2018 at 08:57AM

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Comments

  • Posted by Richie April 14, 2018 at 09:36

    Great idea Derek, your ideas for the remaining 48-50 weeks of the year would also be good.
  • Posted by DerekFlint April 14, 2018 at 14:35

    Already done - see post on adoption of Safe Systems approach.
  • Posted by dave2 April 15, 2018 at 23:10

    Firstly, the Nurburgring is not a decommissioned race track. It is used for races most weekends. Neither is the Nurburgring Nordschleife, this is also used for racing, trackdays, industry testing and tourist driving.

    Secondly, with the Nurburgring, insurance from every other country, with the exception of UK / IOM is still valid. It is classed as a toll road. Repairs to the track and barriers is covered by the drivers insurance, as is recovery. There are also areas of the Nurburgring that have speed limits and accidents are still investigated by the police.

    Most of the UK guys drive the 'ring without adequate cover and if they hit the barriers or need recovery, they pay for this out of their own pockets. Things get interesting when they involve other vehicles.

    Source: Me. I go there regularly.

    Also, making the mountain section a oneway toll road will have all sorts of insurance implications. You as a rider won't have a chance finding cover for that and track day insurance won't cover you because it's not a race track. The road would need to be closed to traffic and a "track day" created. I guess this is your idea Derek with your new business venture? Perhaps an all island speed limit and dedicated days for runs over the mountain with your organisation (at a cost and subsequent profit)

    Source: Me. I am a specialist insurance broker. (track days, rallies etc)

    Considering the number of bikes that use the mountain during the TT period, it's fair to say that the number of incidents is very low, the riders do a good job at keeping it under control and the police do a fair job.
  • Posted by Caliom April 19, 2018 at 19:35

    This is something I have thought about for some time, as previously stated insurance would be the biggest issue and if two motorcycles or cars collide, it could turn nasty.
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