Activate Your Premium Membership Today >

Protest ride over wire rope barriers

Wire rope barriers better roads austroads report hazards support old solar panels promise
Wire rope barriers

All riders concerned about the proliferation of wire rope barriers are invited to join a protest ride in Victoria on May 8, 2018.

Independent Riders Group (IRG) spokesman Damien Codognotto has been vocal about his rejection of the wire rope barriers and has organised the ride.

However, he says it is open to everyone, not just members of IRG.

“This wire rope barrier protest/rally is for all road users, but especially the riding public and emergency service workers,” he says.

“This one is for the victims of bad roads and wire rope barriers and for their loved ones. It will be well run and respectful.

“It is organised by a motorcycle and scooter lobby group but it’s everyone’s protest. The emergency services have been invited to attend as wire rope barrier puts them at risk too.”

This follows the recent comments by the Victorian Country Fire Authority which said they block access to crashes and bushfires.

Damien says VicRoads will spend $4 billion on wire rope barriers between 2015 and 2020, yet admits WRB posts pose a deadly threat to riders.

Wire rope protestWire rope barriers

The protest will start in Bendigo and head to Melbourne via the Calder Highway with more details to be announced on the IRG Facebook page closer to the event.

There will be anti-wire-rope speeches at Parliament House start at 1pm including people “directly affected by wire rope barrier crashes and Members of Parliament” Damien says.

Divided over barriers

There is little research into the effect of barriers on riders and no conclusive proof from the scant research available.
Australian Motorcycle Council chairman Shaun Lennard says riders are better off hitting any roadside barrier in a crash than having no barrier and hitting a tree.

Shaun Lennard safety barriers status national motorcycle safety sentence rope
Shaun Lennard

“They’ve been around in Australia for 25 years now and if the wire barrier was anywhere near the concern that some riders think, there would have been a significant number of fatal crashes caused by the barrier, but there have only been a handful,” he told us earlier this year.

“Many more motorcycle riders are killed hitting trees because there was no barrier than have been killed hitting wire rope barriers,” he said.

Shaun even suggested that the proliferation of cheaper wire rope barriers on straight sections of highway may be a good thing because it means more money can be spent on providing safer barriers on winding roads where riders are more likely to hit them.

“The number of riders running off straight sections and hitting barriers is minuscule,” he says.

However, Damien points out that a rider in Victoria was killed a few months ago because he hit a kangaroo and then ran into a WRB.

Until specific scientific research is carried on the effect of WRB on riders, they will remain divided on whether they impact our safety.

Read some of the many stories below for more views on roadside barrier safety.

  1. WRBs are not a cheap option! They are in fact the most expensive option, one or two impacts from any size vehicle (except motorcycles) and they have flushed any savings down the drain. They are not safer than no barriers at all as they either fail to do the job or pose a risk in themselves.
    The proliferation of these sub standard dangerous even barriers on little or no evidence of their effectiveness makes me suspicious of the deals that may have been made under the table.
    Riders who come off and hit trees are usually on bends and often they have been catapulted into them after hitting a barrier as most barriers are positioned to interact with the bumpers of cars and trucks so they are just the right height to send a motorcyclist flying.
    With no barriers at all the rider has to be unlucky to find a suitable tree.

    1. Exactly.
      Wire rope barrier = 100m wide. Tree = 1m wide. 100 times more likely to hit barrier
      wire rope posts are right at edge of road, guaranteed to hit them. They also cause accidents by blocking off the recovery area where motorcyclists usually regain control & recover.
      Tree is well back from road, doesn’t block recovery area, & if don’t recover probably slide to a stop before reach tree.

  2. These wire barriers were removed in the UK years ago following extensive research that proved that not only were they fatal in a collison for a motorcyclist but they were also ineffective in stopping heavy vehicles from crossing the barrier into the oncoming traffic causing major incidents. There is plenty of research from the UK highways agency and the BMF.

  3. There are so many sides to the points made in this artical its difficult to know what the actual facts are. One could even make the argument that spending funds on any barrier could be put to better use on bettering the actual road.

  4. That is exactly what was found in the UK. They have all been replaced by solid concrete barriers that are much safer for all road users

  5. I’ve watched some TV programs on the construction of suspension bridges which use wire ropes to support the bridge decks. The wire ropes are covered with a protective sheath to prevent corrosion. I don’t remember what the sheaths are made of, but they are smooth, shiny and look like plastic. If the wire rope barriers on roads had a similar covering it would, 1) increase the diameter of the ropes and, 2) eliminate the ‘cheese grater’ effect, while maintaining the strength and flexibility of the wire ropes.

    Of course, that would mean doing something rational for the benefit of motorcyclists and the authorities repeatedly demonstrate that they would rather use safety as an excuse to find ways to oppress and suppress us. Envy makes people behave irrationally.

    1. Amazing isn’t it, that the “authorities” banging on & on about motorcycle safety are responsible for 25% of the deaths.

  6. Lets look at this in context, If you are sliding down a road and about to drop off a 100 metre cliff into a river, a concrete or full armco barrier is a better option than the drop. If a Wire Rope Barrier is in situ, then you will most likely hit one or more of the posts before your headless body goes over the drop.
    Where I live, the road has a new “one rail armco barrier” protecting open run off areas into flat paddocks. Why in the world are these barriers in place?
    If you attend a defensive driving course you will learn the the safest way to drive/ride is to have “situational awareness” at all times. This means no distraction while driving/riding. No texting , putting on make up. looking at your phone or tablet etc. This means being aware of whats going on and what the road conditions are. it means having a plan of what to do at all time if suddenly you are facing a serious risk. This could be animals on the road, a car on the wrong side heading toward you , a wheel bouncing down the road heading your way etc. An aware driver/rider will be able to stop or drive/ride around the object and continue on. Now with the wire rope barriers in place the option off avoiding the crash is gone. so stand on the brakes and wait for the bang.
    I hear on the radio recently a person who I believe was a VicRoads manager boasting that over the last period of time the wire rope barriers in Victoria had been struck 800 times! he then claimed this saved lives and prevented accidents? What a lot of baloney, there is no scientific research behind this role out at all. it just perception and a fanciful worthless idea. The only thing that can be reliably concluded from the “800 Wire Rope Barrier Strikes” is that there was 800 new jobs for panel beaters.

  7. Yeah, I’ll Leave a COMMENT alright – What is it with this Australian Motorcycle Council chairman – Shaun Lennard, saying “riders are better off hitting any roadside barrier in a crash than having no barrier and hitting a tree.”
    IS this the Pathetic Approach of the Australian Motorcycle Council OR Just HIS Personal View ? The way it is written here looks to me like it is the View of the AMC – WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU RIDERS ? So YOU as an Effective Motorcycle Lobby Group – if that IS what You are – Would Rather SMASH into a WRB than HAVE A CHANCE of AVOIDING A TREE ….. Can’t you RIDE A MOTORCYCLE ???

    You make my blood boil … I NEVER thought I would SEE the DAY a Motorcycle Rider/s Representative would WANT ANY BARRIERS Installed on Roads.

    I had the ‘PLEASURE’ of Being Run off the Road by a ‘Motorist’ in a Hotted Up Car in a corner situation and Let me TELL YOU IGNORANT SODS at the AMC – I Survivrd by using my Riding Skills to my advantage and Gained Control of a Sliding bike that was Heading for a Tree – I had to duck under a low branch but I managed to miss the Trunk of the Tree ….. a Very much White Knuckle Ride I can tell you – BUT at Least I had the Chance to DO SO !!!

    An Emphatic “NO WRB’s” for this Survivor – ARE YOU PEOPLE BRAIN DEAD ?

    Do US – ‘THE RIDERS’ a Huge Favour and RESIGN IMMEDIATELY if you can’t represent the RIDERS of AUSTRALIA with HEART & SOUL – You Would rather SEE a Motorcyclist SMASHED to BITS than GIVEN THE CHANCE TO SURVIVE …
    PLEASE RESIGN your Post – You Do NOT Deserve to be there if this is your attitude as an AUSTRALIAN MOTORCYCLE COUNCIL that is supposed to have The Interests of the RIDER at Heart – THE WHOLE LOT OF YOU SHOULD RESIGN if this is the Collective Attitude of the AMC – NONE of YOU Deserve to be There IN MY OPINION !!!
    WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON ? IT IS EITHER US OR THEM – Always was and always will be – Show some Intestinal fortitude and stand up to the bastards – Don’t cringe in the Corner like a DOG, Get out there and BITE the Bastards – Stand UP for the Rights of the RIDER.

    A Question for the Average Rider out there –
    DO YOU want the CHOICE of Riding yourself OUT of Trouble OR do YOU WANT TO SLAM INTO A WIRE ROPE BARRIER ?
    Simple Choice – Simple Answer …. Don’t TRY and Muddy the Water with bloody Politics – THIS A ROAD SAFETY ISSUE – Your Life MAY Depend on IT.
    Here we have Politicians Posing as Motorcycle Riders and Purporting to be ON Your Side and THEY WANT WIRE ROPE BARRIERS INSTALLED on Your Roads and STOP you having a Rightful Decission to TRY and Save YOUR OWN LIFE.

    DON’T Continue on the Dangerous Path you are treading by TELLING US That “riders are better off hitting any roadside barrier in a crash than having no barrier and hitting a tree.” …

    I did not ever think I would ever hear of such a thing – but here we are in the 21st Century and Still Being Treated Like Crap – and what HURTS is IT IS BEING DONE BY A MOTORCYCLIST – A ‘Fellow Bike Rider’ Taking Away Our Rights by Agreeing with a Dangerous Practice that is Posing as a Safety Feature of Having Wire Rope Barriers Installed anywhere the Government sees fit to do so ….

    SHAME ON YOU – ALL OF YOU in the AMC – Australian Motorcycle Council … Are You Just Another Arm of the Government ? I ASK this Because YOU as a Collective of Supposed Riders DO NOT APPEAR to be ON the Side of the Motorcyclists of Australia – Do You ? I thought you were Supposed to be Interested in ROAD SAFETY – It would apprear that You Are NOT !!!

    There has been NO Motorcyclist that I have talked to in the last decade or more that has ever had a positive word for WRB’s – Who Are You Representing here ?

    I’m done … I am but a humble rider in my twighlight years but I still do BITE, When MY ROAD SAFETY IS THREATENED !!!
    Thank You –

  8. I would take issue with Mr.Lenard and say that he is hiding behind the bureaucratic propensity to use studies and “expert” opinion when in this case there is something manifestly obvious .
    No one ever needed research to know care is needed when using a chain saw and that the chain will very smartly cut your leg off .
    So too is the situation with these wire so called ropes which act as a cutting edge at speed , the danger is obvious , and so too is the stubbornness of those whose choice to deploy them is so poor

    1. I would like to know which politicians have a vested financial interest in the installation of these death traps. They have been installed in places where there is nothing but open fields to run into. Explain the logic of that. Money money money…

  9. These wire barriers have other issues too, one of them is the issue of oncoming drivers on high beam. Lots of drivers forgot they are on high beam, especially when traffic is minimal. The wire rope barrier let’s all this light pollution through, potentially blinding drivers coming in the other direction. With the increasing use of led headlights that have already been identified as a major concern because of their high output and poor alignment by manufacturers, can only make matters worse. These wire barriers will not stop oncoming drivers being temporarily blinded by these aggressive LED lights, which I’ve suffered while riding my bike, and it can take days to get over the burnt image on the back of the retina. The solid barriers would go a long way to preventing this.

  10. “Road barriers, if well-designed and POSITIONED are crucial, lifesaving structures”. BUT…what’s really happening in Victoria?
    Before the wire barriers were installed during the course of this year along the section of Calder freeway passing Carlsruhe, where we own our home, I was proud of the well-designed, well-built, safe four lane duel-carriageway provided with a generous 20m-30m grass shoulder and centre median that in most micro vehicle-control-loss events would be ample perpendicular deviation space for a vehicle driver to regain control. Now, every time I drive along the road, I feel unsafe and ripped-off because NOT ONLY ONE wire-rope barrier in the middle of the two lanes (which would be 10m-20m from the fast lane vehicles travelling in opposite directions) BUT FOUR, only a few metres from each carriageway, leaving only fractions of a second of momentary control-loss before CERTAIN DISASTER, have been erected. My mind BOGGLES at how some $4 Billion of our money can be wasted by this thoughtless and reckless overspend. Sure road barriers, if well-designed and POSITIONED are crucial, lifesaving structures but in the wrong place they are not only a GROSS MISMANAGEMENT OF ROAD-USERS AND TAXPAYERS’ WELL-EARNED DONATIONS TO PUBLIC COFFERS (which makes me feel sick to the stomach) but LIFE-THREATENING MONSTROSITIES. All I can summise is that money has got more to do with it than safety or road user benefits and that a few politicians, middle-men businessmen and contractors are laughing all the way to the bank at our society’s gullible management system.

    I won’t even get started on motorcycles danger, emergency vehicle access, caravan towers, trucking, aesthetic pollution and how much delay, inconvenience and safety compromise has been and is being endured during construction.

  11. Well said Stan, there has been a lot of research done on the effectiveness of wire barriers. I noticed that in the Swedish report that the reports mentions guard rails then goes on to tot talk about wire rails – are there any stats for wire v traditional armco barriers anywhere?

Comments are closed.