Definition of a safe barrier for motorcyclists

Definition einer motorradfreundlichen Schutzplanke

The paper presents the final report from a literature review including global research, studies and statistics and a workshop with participants from different areas in Sweden, Norway and the European Union Road Federation (ERF). The best barrier for a motorcyclist is no barrier at all. If the barrier itself is more dangerous than what it is designed to protect, no guard rail should be installed. Since there are bridges, trees, steep mountain roads, oncoming traffic and other obstacles in the road environment, there will always be a need of barriers to protect the road users on roads and bridges. But a barrier is never safe, only less dangerous that the risk behind the barrier. According to all tests carried out, barriers with Motorcycle Protection System (MPS) give the lowest risk of injury, whether the rider slides into the barrier or is sitting on the motorcycle. In a collision where the rider is sitting, sharp edges and corners as well as posts sticking up over the barrier have a major significance for the outcome of injuries. Most studies show a lower risk of injury for collisions with concrete barriers compared to the W-profile and cable barriers, some displays of comparable severity. Guardrails with unprotected posts and protruding parts lead to the most serious injuries. Smooth barriers without unprotected posts, provide less risk of injury. Several studies have excluded accidents with cable barriers because of the low number of accidents. The risk of injury in collisions with cable barriers was higher than all other barrier types in some studies, while the risk of injury corresponded to a collision with W-profile in a few studies. Discontinuous MPS, with protection around the poles, have not been analyzed since they give very little reduction in risk of injury. The distance from the road is important for both avoidance of accidents and the risk of injuries. The most common injuries in guardrail accidents are legs, head, chest and pelvis. All studies show a very high risk of being killed or seriously injured when motorcyclists collide with guardrails. The technical specification TS 1317-8 specifies a test method in which a dummy slid with head first into a guardrail at an angle where few accidents happen. It is a method that could be simplified, without reducing the safety for motorcyclists. There is enough knowledge and experience to come to decisions that will reduce the risk of injury to motorcyclists in terms of design and installation of the guardrails. It is difficult to draw fair conclusions from international research. There are huge differences in the barriers used in different countries, the extent of barriers installed and how the barriers are installed. This makes a comparison more difficult since one type of barrier can be used very rarely or not at all. This is the case concerning concrete barriers in Sweden. (A)

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Institut fuer Zweiradsicherheit (ifz) e.V.

    Gladbecker Str. 425
    Essen,   Germany  45329
  • Authors:
    • Nordqvist, M
    • Fredriksson, G
    • Wenaell, J
  • Publication Date: 2016


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References;
  • Pagination: pp 176-220
  • Monograph Title: Sicherheit - Umwelt - Zukunft. Tagungsband der 11. Internationalen Motorradkonferenz 2016
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01670076
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen (BASt)
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: May 7 2018 3:12AM