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A Barrier to Motorcycle Safety

August 15, 2009
Saving Bikers Lives - BikeGuard Barrier Under Run System

Saving Bikers Lives - BikeGuard Barrier Under Run System

Canterbury, England – Despite years of effort and numerous reports demanding new standards crash barriers remain a clear and present danger to UK motorcyclists.

A review of the accident statistics relating to motorcyclists colliding with crash barriers reveals that over an eight year period an average of 260 collisions a year took place with 28 of these resulting in a fatality.

UK Highways Agency (HA) and County Council Road Safety Engineers are insistent that progress is being made in fitting collision amelioration systems to crash barriers that present a high risk to bikers but in reality very little seems to be happening. The Highways Agency, which is responsible for Britain’s main trunk roads system, has a highway network of 7,880 km yet only 5km are reckoned to be fitted with biker friendly barrier systems. At County level only 10 out of 69 UK counties have biker friendly barrier systems with an average of 5 high risk areas protected per Council.

Britain is lagging far behind its European neighbours in crash barrier protection systems for bikers. With the Netherlands Norway, France and Spain in particular either retrofitting or renewing barriers with biker friendly systems, despite the fact that the European Committee for Standardisation contiues to drag its feet over the updatuing of the European Crash Barrier Standard EN1317.

There is simple no excuse for the British authorities on this one. Information is widely available in the form of reports covering provision and design of biker friendly crash barriers and guidance to engineers with clear guidelines on the design of barriers and where they should be used. In the Netherlands a protocol has been developed in order to assist in the process of deciding where to place barriers and there is guidance from the Federation of European Motorcycle Associations, the Association des Constructeurs Européens de Motocycles and the UK’s Institute of Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers and others on how barriers should be used.

Meantime the UK the Highways Agencies preferred central reservation barrier is the notorious, to bikers, Briefen tensioned wire cable system often known in biking circles as the ‘cheese cutter’. Only on roads where the Average Annual Daily Traffic exceeds 25,000 vehicles per day are the HA committed to fitting as new or as replacement the much safer ‘New Jersey’ concrete barrier systems. On the plus side the HA have approved for use two biker friendly barrier protection systems, BikeGuard and FlexGuard.

So no excuses then if you are a UK based Road Safety Engineer, get out there identify the high risk areas and fit a biker friendly protection system to a barrier near you and do it now!! No excuses on cost benefit analysis, safety assessments or costs. No excuses do it and save a bikers life!

Examples of biker-friendly barrier sites in the UK are:-

Cheshire: A537 ‘Cat and Fiddle’ Macclesfield to Buxton.
Derbyshire: A54 Macclesfield Road.
Cornwall: A389 Dunmere Wood, Bodmin, A390 Woodcock Corner, Treslin and the A388 Paynters Cross – Hatt.
Scotland: A85 to the south of Glenogle Head, midway between junctions with A827 and A84.
Wales: A5 west of Pont Padog.

EuroRap Report on Motorcyclists and Crash Barriers here…..

UK Highway Agency Approved Systems:-

BikeGuard – Promoted in the UK by Highway Care here…..

FlexGuard – Promoted in the UK by Hill and Smith here……

© Back Roads Rider 2009

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