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Report Examines Road Barrier Design Impact On Motorcycles
IAM and EuroRAP produce report on the effect of road barriers on motorcyclist casualties and what improvements can be made to their design.
The report can be downloaded using the link at the bottom of this report.
Funded by the UK’s Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), the “Barrier to Design” report takes a look at the design of road barriers in the UK with a view to providing a convincing argument that they should be redesigned to reduce casualties amongst motorcyclists who collide with such barriers.
The report hinges on the fact that motorcyclists who collide with road barriers are fifteen times more likely to be killed than other other road users in similar collisions.
There are two collision modes which are considered, one being when the motorcyclist has already been dismounted from the motorcycle before the collision occurs and the other being when the rider is still mounted on the motorcycle.
The main factor in increased likelihood of sustaining fatal injuries is the unguarded lower space beneath the barrier where the upright posts which support the barrier are exposed. For a dismounted rider, colliding with these posts has a higher fatality rate than colliding with a tree or other stationary roadside object. Such collisions involving high pressure points result in severe trauma, fractures and traumatic amputations.
One of the proposed solutions is the use of skirts under the barriers which can be retro-fitted to existing barriers at high risk zones such as on sweeping bends and roundabouts where loss of control and collisions are more likely than on straight sections of roads.
The report also examines the use of tensile wire barriers which have resulted in considerable controversy since their introduction. Many countries have discontinued installing new ones until more information is available about their effect on collisions involving motorcycles. Few crashes have occurred involving these barriers and so there is little information available on their effect and debate continues on whether they are better or worse than sheet metal barriers in motorcycle collisions.
The IAM and EuroRAP conclude that design criteria should be established for highway engineers that provide clear guidance on the design of barriers which account for reducing casualties amongst motorcyclists. They also recommend that road safety engineering departments should follow the lead of the French and have at least one motorcycle “champion” on the team to ensure that motorcyclists are considered on transport engineering projects.
The report writers also encourage more research into the effect of collisions between mounted motorcycle riders and crash barriers to better understand the crash dynamics in these circumstances.
Finally, retro-fitting skirts to existing barriers should be implemented following a study of high risk areas on Britain’s roads.
Download the crash barrier study from the IAM and EuroRAP.