Road Safety Week, a national campaign coordinated annually by charity Brake, had Bike Smart as its theme this year, designed to raise awareness that cyclists and motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users in the UK.
While the Bike Smart awareness campaign focussed on one week, the work of the charity to promote road safety, and indeed of manufacturers such as Wrekin Products, continues year-round.
The DfT highlights that more than a third of people killed or seriously injured on UK roads are those traveling by bike  and more than 100 riders are injured every day.
The safety of road users is always taken into account by Wrekin Products when products are designed.
Its latest range of ‘Highway’ branded D400 pedestrian and wheel-safe gully grates, available in both Group 3 and Group 4 compliant versions, are testament to this. The hinged double-triangular grates are of a revolutionary design which deliver grate security and high safety for vulnerable road users.
The Highway pedestrian and wheel-safe grate has the unique Wrekin Tri-Way system of reversible anti-theft hinges, double-triangular seating to ensure silent operation and single-unit opening for easy access.
The wheel-safe grate design prevents trapping of small or narrow wheels in any direction. It ensures safe passage for wheelchair and pushchair users when moving off a pavement and for cyclists on the road, the grate prevents wheels being trapped or knocked out of line.
Another major highway hazard for cyclists – as well as for other road users –is potholes.
Unfortunately for cyclists, if they hit a pothole, they don’t just face a costly repair bill but also a strong possibility of personal injury or, in the worst cases, death.
Collapsed carriageway ironwork installations, and the potholes which result as the reinstatement chips away, are a far-too common sight. With a little understanding of the factors at play, the number of failures and associated potholes can be significantly reduced.
WRc research, reported in the industry-defining Streetworks CP373 document, points to a solution. This research paper revealed that up to 89% of ironwork installation failures suffered from foundation issues and that, in 44% of cases, foundation collapse was the sole cause of failure.
Care in matching the performance characteristics of the elements which have to work together – the manhole cover or gully grate, the mortar and the supporting manhole chamber structure – and in taking account of several factors during installation, are vital to long-lasting ironwork installations.
Engagement between the frame and bedding materials is critical and can be produced by selecting ironwork products which feature mortar engagement slots. Some more sophisticated gully and manhole products have patented engagement surfaces (tread) on the underside to ensure the most robust mortar interlock.
Work in harmony
Having manufactured products with these features for decades, Wrekin Products developed the UniPak polyester resin bedding system to work in harmony with the geometry of, and forces exerted by, its ironwork.
UniPak combines fast-setting (one-hour), low-notch sensitivity, tensile and flexural-capable bedding mortar with factory-cured HA104/09-conforming packing materials.
Together, Wrekin’s Uni-Pak bedding system and ‘Unite’ range of manhole covers compose a high-specification system and have ensured thousands of reinstatements nationwide remain durable and safe under this county’s most demanding traffic situations.
A final and again serious risk to narrow-wheel users are completely uncovered drain holes, the result of cover theft.
Responding to gully grate theft often means several visits by maintenance crews to complete the removal of the remaining frame and replacement and reinstatement of a new frame and cover assembly, leading to increased traffic disruption and extra cost.
A quality, safe and fast temporary-fix to keep roads open when thefts occur is MultiGrate from Wrekin Products.
This cost-effective solution is a composite grating which can be sized on site to replace almost any missing gully ironwork.
MultiGrate is designed to be fitted by a maintenance crew on the first visit. The robust design forms a secure temporary replacement until a permanent one is installed.
This is a small selection of products and their features designed, developed and manufactured by Wrekin Products with road safety in mind.
The safety of everyone who comes into contact with Wrekin is of paramount concern in the design process of all its products. From assembly and transport, installation and gully maintenance through to the millions of road users who travel over our products every day.
Road Safety Week has seen some tremendous work done by Brake to raise awareness of these acute issues and it’s up to those bodies planning, selecting, manufacturing and installing road infrastructure to ensure the momentum is maintained to deliver the safest possible environments.
 Reported road casualties Great Britain: 2016, Department for Transport, 2017