Government must act to save bikers’ lives: IAM

12.00 | 13 November 2012 | | 3 comments

The IAM is calling on the Government to redesign crash barriers to make them more motorcycle-friendly, as new research shows that modern crash barriers “actually provide no safety benefits whatsoever to motorcyclists”.

Modern crash barriers are designed to save the lives of drivers, but hitting a crash barrier is a factor in eight to 16% of fatal accidents among motorcyclists, according to an IAM-sponsored study. Riders are also 15 times more likely to die after hitting a barrier than car occupants.

Two-thirds of all collisions between motorcyclists and crash barriers which result in death or serious injury include the rider either falling over or sliding under the crash barrier, but adding a shield to the barrier to prevent this would reduce fatalities by up to a third, says the IAM. Crash barrier support posts can worsen the injuries of motorcyclists involved in an accident by five times, adds the road safety charity.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “Crash barriers are designed with cars in mind, but they can cause more harm than good for motorcyclists.

“Modifications are happening across Europe as Governments recognise exactly how dangerous they are. Last year deaths and injuries of motorcyclists increased in the UK, so we must do more to protect them. Adding extra protection to the barrier so that the posts aren’t exposed is a simple and cost-effective way to save lives.”

For more information contact the IAM on 020 8996 9777.


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    Its the age old problem of cost, yes cost effectivenes. It comes down basically to bottom line.

    How much will it cost as opposed to how much insurance would have to pay out. (Predicting that the LA is found guilty of, or admits liability, in such a claim.)

    That’s not going to happen so on balance we will just leave it as it is and let the deaths and serious injuries continue.

    After all it’s only bikers that really suffer and they represent only 1% or is it 4% of vehicle mileage? (Depending on what papers one reads.)

    bob craven Lancs
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    Both TD19 and UK RLG guidance provide guidance on the issue, so it’s up to designers for new schemes to act responsibly. The latter also includes a link to a Eurorap document which helps decide where risks may be higher.

    For existing sites, data is often sparse e.g. only a handful of these type of accidents across a whole county so in strict FYRR terms it can be awkward to fully justify against other priorities. That said I would hope that LHAs as a minimum have a process to very simply analyse this rather than not attempt to look at it at all.

    pete, liverpool
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    This is not news but I applaud the IAM for bringing it to our attention again because it does need attention and action. The idea of thorwing a blanket over existing crash barriers was first mooted about 4 years ago. It was used in a number of sites and to satisfaction, however it has not been taken up by this government. The initial report also included steel wire or cheescutters as the are known. A more recent study has been done regarding all crash barriers and as yet I do not believe that recommendations have been followed. And the death toll continues.

    bob craven Lancs
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