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Roller barriers may be safer for riders

Roller barriers may be safer for riders

Motorcycle rider advocates have cautiously welcomed a Western Australia trial of new roller barriers with high-visibility plastic rollers on steel polls that rotate when hit by a vehicle.

Similar barriers have been used in South Korea, Thailand, India and the United States and have been under trial with VicRoads at three locations for about four years.

The new roller barriers are being installed on Perth’s Murdoch Drive Connection ramp connecting Roe Highway to Kwinana Freeway northbound.

Roller welcomeRoller barriers may be safer for riders

Unlike wire rope barriers, these barriers have received a cautious welcome from motorcycle rider advocates.

Dave Wright of the Motorcycle Riders Association of Western Australia says they have been waiting “for some time” for these to be installed.

“We believe the outcome of a motorcycle rider crash will result in far less injuries than conventional crash barriers currently in use,” he says.

“However we will wait until after the trail period to give these barriers our blessing.”

Australian Motorcycle Council spokesman Guy Stanford says are “always nervous about barriers”.

“There are no crash barriers that can be considered ‘motorcycle friendly’,” he says.

“In the event of a motorcyclist impacting with any crash barrier the likelihood is that they will be severely injured.

“But we are pleased they are investigating this and coming up with new systems.”

Fellow MC  member Rob Salvatore says it is important the spacing between the rollers is kept to a minimum and the top of the roller posts are smoothly capped.

Local manufacture

The safety barriers have been adapted from South Korean barriers for Australian conditions by Geraldton-based firm Mid-West Traffic Controllers who also supplied two of the Victorian roller barriers.

Spokesman John Wheatland says a motorcycle or any other vehicle is likely to hit the rollers at an angle which reduces the gap for a limb to get caught.

“Riders are more than welcome to have input for safety changes,” he says with suggested updates tested at their facilities in Christchurch.

  1. Are there any statistics which reveal how many motorcyclists have accidents where contact with a barrier has been involved?

    1. The beginings of a potentially great idea. Any barrier is a bad barrier, and its even worse if in an unnecessary location. I think Id rather get to know one of these personally rather than the sharp edges of anything else.
      Its time to look into the idea of BMWs self steering bike and the crash test dummy to create situations that will find out the real worth of these barriers and improve them. Never is contact with any large object going to be a good outcome, but if it saves lives and limbs, then its heading in the right direction.

  2. As a concept it looks very promising, only real world data will prove or disprove its effectiveness.

  3. Two concerns. The posts that support this barrier still represent a significant risk if the rider were to slide into the barrier- unless guarded in some way. Secondly, if a rider were to hit this barrier at an oblique angle then a helmet, arm or leg could protrude thru the two rollers and the momentum/weight of the body could easily cause very serious damage. – perhaps even amputate a limb or break a neck. It would take a particular accident scenario but everything is random when it comes to accidents.

  4. No crash barriers are safe , there has been and always will be only one safe way to construct roads and that is to make adequate run off areas so the vehicle operator can regain control.
    This is shown every week on every motor vehicle race track

  5. Great idea, safer for motor cyclists than the new higher wire rope barriers with all the posts.

  6. Its better than wire rope which will slice you like a cheese cutter, but this one will give you repetitive hard impacts as you slide along it.
    With the original Armco at least you can slide along it if you hit on an angle.
    The best solution is to plant lots of bushes! It will slow a car or motorcycle while cushioning, and its green! And self repairing and I’d say much cheaper.
    If theres is concern of a semi crossing into oncoming traffic one Armco can be placed in the middle of the bushes

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