Location Marker Stickers
Many of the thousands of riders and drivers travelling on the roads of Mid Wales – if asked when on the spot, would not be able to provide the road numbers, or even the name of the last village they passed through. With very patchy reception, or no available signal often a common occurrence, the reliance on the triangulation of mobile phone signals, at present, is not a realistic solution to pinpointing the location of a caller.
During one of our monthly club meetings in 2008 it was announced that there was some funding available to help address the problem of providing precise geographical locations to assist the emergency services attending road traffic incidents.
A few of the solutions suggested by the authorities ranged from erecting location signs at accident black-spots to numbers embedded in the tarmac. All seemed to be quite drastic, and expensive solutions.
Officials from Powys County Council were very keen to have our input, so we bounced a few ideas round the group. Like a bolt out of the blue, an effective, simple - and most importantly, cheap solution was to somehow use the already existing road signs. Known accident black-spots would usually have a hazard sign of some kind – warning of a bend, junction, road narrowing etc.
The rear face of road signage (except for speed restriction signs) is normally a plain grey surface. We came up with the idea of using stickers that had location information that was unique to each road sign.
In the unfortunate event of an accident, the person that was in contact with the emergency services could be directed to look at the appropriate sign, and simply read out the grid reference to the operator, saving precious time in getting help to any potential casualties.
The response from the relevant authorities was initially frustratingly slow. But we kept plugging at it, calling for meetings with highway engineers, road safety teams, and anybody who would listen. Official Red Tape was always a hindrance, but one meeting with a senior Civil Servant representing the Welsh Assembly Government was a tipping point in our favour. He was instantly convinced of the merits of the idea, and helped to push the idea forward. But for the moment we were restricted to having the stickers on the backs of the yellow “Ride Safely” signs.
The mantle has now been passed to RoSPA and Dyfed-Powys Police, and we hope they will roll it out over the region. Of course, we would love to see these stickers at all of the accident black-spots in the UK, as we believe they could potentially be a life-saver.
Like all the best solutions to a given problem, it is a very simple one, and as it was a MAG idea, all of the stickers have the MAG logo in the bottom corner. Aberystwyth MAG are extremely proud that it was conceived at one of its regular monthly meetings, from a group of motorcyclists who just discussed how we could contribute to a solution on an important road safety issue.