Barrier authority disputes wire rope danger

Barrier authority disputes wire rope danger

The danger of wire rope barriers is overstated by riders and representative groups, according to a leading authority on safety barriers.

“Riders killed in barrier impacts is less than 1% of all road fatalities,” says Transport and Road Safety (TARS) Research Centre Emeritus Professor (Road Safety) Raphael Grzebieta.

“It constitutes around 5-6% of all motorcycle fatalities. In other words, any changes to current designs of road barriers will have almost no effect on reducing rider fatalities and serious injuries,” says Raph who claims to be the “world authority on motorcycle-into-barrier impacts”.

The professor once said every motorcycle should come with an alcohol interlock, ABS and other electronic rider aids, while riders should be “lit up like a Christmas tree”.

His comments seem to carry weight with authorities: Victoria has mandatory hi-vis for novice riders and from November 2019 all new bikes in Australia will be required to have ABS or combined braking systems.

Biggest danger

“It is not wire rope barriers that are killing or can potentially kill motorcyclists. It is alcohol, drugs, speed and not abiding by traffic laws that are resulting in motorcyclists being killed on Australia’s roads. Let’s make that very clear please,” Prof Grzebieta says.

His comments follow a recent call for a halt to the rollout of WRBs and TV ads extolling their safety and long-time campaigning by various national and international rider representative groups.

CLICK HERE if you want to the sign her anti-WRB petition.

Widow calls for halt on wire rope barrier ads

The professor says barriers constitute around 5-6% of all motorcycle fatalities. In other words, any changes to current designs of road barriers will have almost no effect on reducing rider fatalities and serious injuries.

Australian Motorcycle Council chairman Shaun Lennard seems to agree with the professor. He suggests the proliferation of cheaper wire rope barriers on straight sections of highway means more money can be spent on providing safer barriers on winding roads where riders are more likely to hit them.

Risky business

Prof Grzebieta says his research of motorcycle deaths reveals that of all Australian motorcycle fatal crashes in the years 2001 to 2006 (inclusive), the motorcyclist was at fault or partially at fault in 84% of crashes.

Of these, the motorcyclist was demonstrating risky riding behaviour in 70% of crashes (excessive speed, alcohol, drugs, disobeying a traffic control law, riding without a licence or any combination of these).  

“If you want to tackle motorcycle deaths and serious injuries focus on these issues first,” he says.

“We are hopefully also about to start a new project to update this research and suggest a range of injury countermeasures. We have a highly experienced rider on the team as well as epidemiologist, medical researchers and crash investigators.”

Barriers ‘save riders’

The professor says Swedish researchers found that wire-rope barriers reduced motorcycle fatalities by about 40-60% depending on location.

“Median barriers prevent vehicles hitting motorcyclists,” he says.

He pointed to an incident on the Centennial Highway in New Zealand where two motorcyclists would have been wiped out had the barriers not prevented a vehicle from crossing the road.

Fast forward to the 5:30 minute point of this video.

“I believe that section of road is still fatality free to this day,” he says.

He also provided this video of a similar incident in Sweden (go to the 20-second point with a rider passing at 29 seconds).

“The barriers also prevent motorcyclists from taking significant risks overtaking vehicles where there are double lines,” he says.

“In fact last week in Poland I saw three motorcyclists zoom past a bus I was travelling on (that was travelling at the speed limit of 70km/h) overtaking on the on-coming traffic side of double lines coming up to a blind corner. Obviously, these three riders have a death wish.”

He rejected claims that WRBs are only safe for cars under 1500kg and not safe for motorcyclists and drivers of SUVs, trucks and buses.Barrier authority disputes wire rope danger

“WRBs actually are very safe for cars, SUVs and have also redirected buses and trucks on a large number of occasions,” he says.

“They are much safer than W-Beam and concrete barriers because of their ability to be flexible and more forging of the impact.

“Sweden installed their 2+1 system throughout their country over a 10-year period and halved their road fatalities as a result. It is a huge success story.

“Their fatality rate is at 2 per 100,000. Ours is around 5.6 per 100,000 I believe.”

Victoria WRBs

He acknowledges that Victoria is installing WRBs at a “furious rate”.

“As a result, Victoria’s 2017 fatalities have fallen from 290 to 258. The 2018 year is on target to fall to 238, he says.

“The WRBs really do work well at preventing fatigue head-on and run-off-the-road crashes, which kill so many road users.

“It is clear the WRBs are the safest. TAC and Vicroads wouldn’t be installing them if they weren’t and nor would have Sweden.”

Barrier authority disputes wire rope danger
WRBs are also prominent in other states such as in Queensland

The professor claims W-beam guardrails (Armco) are more dangerous than WRBs.

“If any criticism of any barrier system should be targeted by motorcyclists it should be these barriers,” he says.

“Half of the deaths are riders laying down the motorcycle and sliding into the very hard W-Beam posts.

“I guarantee you that a rider would not be ‘knocking down four uprights’ of W-beam posts. I can also guarantee you a rider will get sliced up hitting those Charlie posts poking out at the top of the W-beam 1cm or so at 100km/h.

“The other half of barrier-involved rider deaths are riders sitting upright when they hit the barrier. Half of those (1/4) slide along the top of the W-beam where the W-beam and Charlie posts (C-sections) slices riders up like a chain saw and the other quarter go over the top into the hazard being protected.”

 

Rub rail recommendation

Prof Grzebieta says his research recommends that for winding roads, a lower rub rail should be installed to protect riders who slide into them. These rails were recently installed on the Old Pacific Highway, NSW.

“However the numbers you would protect are very, very small. This is the optimum solution for a country as large as Australia,” he says.

“Regrettably, we can’t do much about those riders sitting up right striking the W-beam barriers presently although I have suggested a covering over the Charlie posts would be worth exploring by barrier manufacturers.

Old Pac barrier danger
Rub rails installed on the Old Pac (Image courtesy of Ralph Leavsey-Moase)

“One of the Swedish researchers has developed just such a system and it appears to work very well. Nevertheless, this would assist with ¼ of them. You will not be able to protect the other ¼ who will simply fly over the top of the barrier – and it wouldn’t matter what barrier you had.”

He says the problem is that W-beams do not work very well for cars, SUVs and heavier vehicles.

“However, in the hilly winding roads they tend to be used more frequently. WRBs aren’t used in such areas as there are issues with sharp curves and rope tension during a vehicle impact.”

Prof Grzebieta says US data shows that putting any kind of in a barrier in front of a hazard such as a tree or pole is highly protective.

42 Comments

  1. Getting back to what this argument was originally about; – Look at the bottom photo and assume there is no guard rail. It appears that there may be a ditch or creek behind the shrubbery, and for the sake of this discussion we will say that there is. There are two guys on motorcycles racing each other up the road (yes, there are some real idiots out there) and one of them thinks he can overtake by braking late into this corner. Suddenly he realises that he is going much too fast to take the corner. What happens next will vary depending on the speed he is travelling at, but the following is very likely.

    If the bike has ABS and doesn’t have a setting for dirt (which he wouldn’t be using here anyway) the combination of ABS and road tyres would give very little braking and he could travel over the dirt and slam into the ditch at significant speed causing serious injuries. He possibly could make the bike fall over (lay it down) by turning the steering, but that would depend on the surface, and doing that is not as successful as locking the rear brake on a bike without ABS.

    If the bike doesn’t have ABS one of three things will happen. 1) He will stay on the bike, travel across the dirt and slam into the ditch at speed causing serious injuries. 2) He will lock the rear brake, turn the steering and lay the bike down, and stop in a much shorter distance by sliding on the dirt than he could by staying on the bike with the road tyres, having very little grip on the dirt, trying to stop the weight of both the bike and the rider. 3) It is highly likely that a lesser skilled rider would brake too hard (without ABS) and fall over, and slide to a stop without serious injury – the same outcome as if he laid the bike down. Either way, falling over and sliding on the dirt, wether intentional or not can save him from serious injury.

    Again, laying a bike down is not a ‘one size fits all’ technique for every emergency. But it can save you from serious injury in some situations.

  2. The following is from the report mentioned by Elaine Hardy

    http://www.righttoride.org.uk/effects-of-advanced-anti-lock-braking-systems-motorcycle/

    According to a study carried out by the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO Impact Assessment) with regards ABS in certain motorcycle specific accident configurations, the study states that “ABS potentially has a negative impact on rider safety in certain accident configurations that are specific to motorcycle accidents: in certain accident situations, falling off and being separated from the motorcycle results in less severe injuries than impacting an obstacle while still in control of the vehicle, albeit at reduced speed.

    1. At last!! Something worth debating, an actual link that qualifies as evidence, finally. Well done MotoRain.

      So hear we go, from the link:

      First its only a survey for the purpose of kicking off a pilot study, and secondly its only has 61 participants. Thats not a very good start. The purpose of such studies are to see if there is any glaring trends, and then if there are, to formally investigate them.

      There are some interesting observations drawn from this survey, i.e that injuries seemed random and not related to speed but rather to circumstances. Intuitively I think most motorcyclists would not be so surprised by this.

      One of the questions they were exploring was, “Does ABS give motorcyclists a false sense of security”?

      Factors of the crash that were considered, Speed, impairment, weather, time of day, month, season, crash outcome, what was crashed into, road type, damage to bike, personal injury.

      Conclusions, (paraphrasing):

      ABS in the great scheme of things, won’t make much difference one way or another.

      Being trapped on the bike is bad news.

      But the absolute cherry on the top, is this quote from the article “If they are, that sounds horribly like the old ‘laid it down’ myth resurfacing. (..) I very much doubt that a sliding rider decelerates at anything even close to the deceleration rate at which a rider braking hard (which ABS of course allows).”

      Wow MotoRain, hoisted by your own petard.

      1. “Whenever you are about to crash you should lay the bike down.” Yes that is a myth, or rather a misconception. It doesn’t negate the fact that, as stated in the report, in some crashes the injuries will be worse if you stay on the bike. You really have no idea what you are talking about, and have picked out and misquoted one point from the report. Your problem is that you want to win at all costs. It doesn’t matter to you if you are wrong.

        Again, laying a bike down is not a ‘one size fits all’ technique for every crash. But in some situations it can save you from serious injuries.

        1. More twisting and turning MotoRain – No one has stated “Whenever you are about to crash you should lay the bike down”. The Myth is and always has been that “laying the bike down” as a valid technique. So stop pretending its this new thing. Hears why – pick an accident scenario, any scenario, and if you claim its safer to “lay it down under those circumstances” then its up to you to support that claim for that scenario. Watching TV really closely or thinking that its a good idea IS NOT EVIDENCE, its wishful thinking.

          So far you have failed to support your claim. The report you linked to did not endorse “laying it down”, in-fact the comment at the end specifically calls this a myth.

          I have read the entire article and there is no mention of “laying it down” as a technique. Your grasping at straws if you think being trapped on a crashing bike is the same thing as “laying it down”, because I could use the very same point in the article as a reason not to fit seat belts to bikes. You need to think rationally and not be married to this myth.

          There are no situations where “laying It down” has a single shred of science or evidence to support it, if there was it would be headline news, and people would teach you how to do it.

      2. Robert,

        The purpose of the study was to find out information regarding the dynamics of ABS brakes in a crash scenario. Yes only 61 and yes it was a pilot, but the wealth of information was fantastic not least because of the variety of riders from around the world but also their responses – including comments at the end which you might find useful.

        As I was the person responsible for the study, I can state that the objective wasn’t to determine whether ABS gave a false sense of security – though you could interpret it like that, but rather what happens in crash scenarios – what are the dynamics and – whether riders actually knew how to use them in an emergency situation (similar, but not quite the same as your perspective). As you will find – although the general view was/is that with ABS brakes the rider goes forward, the study highlights – not necessarily so, 51% fell sideways (left or right) while 31% went forward over the top (page 10).
        In the discussion section, Kevin Williams gives a brilliant explanation of how things work. Kevin is a highly experienced trainer – his website – Survival Skills may be of interest.

        For me the most valuable piece of information was the fact that speed doesn’t correlate to the seriousness of injuries. My colleague Jim Ouellet worked with me on this study and we were really excited to find this piece of evidence. As you are probably aware, the road safety gurus (including the emeritas prof) don’t want to hear that. They just don’t understand that motorcycles are not cars. But anyway – I’m digressing.

        Unfortunately ABS is a hot potato at the moment and industry/governments would really not like to find out that there are problems. Which TBH, could be resolved or rather reduced by teaching riders how to use ABS in emergency situations. We would love to expand the study, but lack of finances is a constraint.

        There are very few studies which have looked at the dynamics of ABS brakes in crash scenarios (actually, none that I am aware of). In the USA, they did a naturalistic study of riders and although about a third of the bikes had ABS, they didn’t bother to examine the data to see what difference they may have made. I hope that explains the background a bit more to the study.

        All the best, Elaine.

        1. Hi Elaine. I agree that the most interesting insight was that injuries were more related to circumstance than speed. So interesting that I mentioned it as an unrelated point while discussing “laying it down”. I can fully understand why such information is unwelcome, money. You can’t blame anyone for circumstances, if you get my drift.

          I’m of two minds about ABS, there are disadvantages as well as advantages, does one significantly outweigh the other? I’m not so sure. Kind of handy in the wet, or on an unfamiliar bike, or a bike with bad tyres perhaps. Don’t know, so many variables.

        2. Hi Robert – re your comment about the value of ABS versus no ABS – from my perspective, whatever works – I certainly don’t see ABS as a negative in fact I think it has its place – and in most cases, you can switch off if not required. Horses for courses I guess.

          What I do think would be helpful is to teach riders how to use ABS in an emergency, but I guess that’s valid for all bikes – i.e. to teach riders how to brake in emergency situations – there were some fantastic videos put out a few years back by Mick Doonan(?) about that.

          It’s interesting – the whole discussion about survival skills and I guess we could talk ourselves blue in the face.

          I wrote another report which might be of interest – not so much the report per se, although item 6.3 “Action taken by Motorcyclist” (tables 1,2 and 3) could be, but you might find useful the comments from experienced trainers and crash investigators with regards technology and crash avoidance. If you go to pages 24/25 – the focus group discusses technology, in particular warning systems with regards to collisions.
          http://righttoride.org.uk/documents/Northern_Ireland_Motorcycle_Fatality_Report_2012.pdf

          Best regards, Elaine

  3. To MotoRain – Wow MotoRain so many posts, lets see if there is any substance in them.

    Apparently you have more detailed information about how it all works, yet curiously your going to keep that to yourself! You recently stated this was all about a safety issue, … you don’t seem very concerned.

    Re reaction time – Please learn to read for comprehension. I said “the sequence of events is started the moment you brain perceives a threat via the optic nerve, then sends signals to the mussels, via nerves.” Emphasis on the word STARTED. Even if Adrenalin makes you react faster (not sure it actually affect the speed of electrical nerve impulses), it still has a measurable delay that translates into the stopping distance equation.

    More wacky claims:

    “thousands of riders have done it” really!!… Whats their names?

    “Technique that can save your life in some situations” Well what situations? Under what circumstances? Using which types of bike? What rider aids fitted? Until all this can be documented, tested, and practiced its not a ‘technique’.

    “Motor bikes never fall over in a crash” – WHAT. What insanity is this? Where on earth have I said anything remotely close to that. This must be your new arguing technique of putting words into my mouth so that you can fabricate some sort of….win..I suppose…I don’t know, perhaps you could elaborate. Regardless, your fanciful scenarios are just that, because if you cant practice a set of actions you cant turn it into a technique. If you think I’m wrong just think of how you learned to ride a bike in the first instance. But then who am I to judge, perhaps you were born with the knowledge of bike riding.

    But, to quote yourself (in part), The most disturbing thing about this it that you have no consideration for other peoples safety. You are trying to convince others that a technique exists, when there is no evidence to support it.

    1. When I saw this first I thought it must be a typo, however when it is repeated then it becomes an indicator of precision. The structures which move our bones are called “muscles” please note the spelling “mussels” those are the things which live in the sea and people eat them.Which begs the question as to how watery your logic is Robert.
      I know a small bit of human physiology and the conduction time from brain to foot is averagely 0.15 milliseconds , then to put things in cerebral terms your brain moves 20million billion bits of information per second that is 20 with fifteen zeros behind it so in a millisecond it can only move 20 with twelve zeros .It takes about 63million bits of info to create a visual image so I think the old cabbage has enough room to do lots in that one thousandth of a second .
      Then there is the matter of evidence , when people testify in court it is called the witness giving evidence so some of these dudes who did lay their bikes down are giving witness evidence , how ever I suspect they could not be bothered with our silly arguments.
      Yet when I read what you say, another lecturer of mine comes to mind , my Latin teacher ,and he is saying “Scantus Simplicitus”

      1. When I first saw your reply I thought you might bring some evidence to the discussion…oh well one lives in hope.
        Instead you pick me up on a spelling mistake (give yourself an elephant stamp and a gold star for that) and imply that a poor speller is what, incapable of logical reasoning? Wow how desperate are you. Please post some evidence to that claim. AND…Re read your own post, because what goes around comes around, he he he, I am laughing so hard now.

        You know a small bit about human physiology, cool, and thanks for the info. However it does nothing to support “laying it down” as a technique, what it does do is confirm that nerve impulses are a factor in the stopping/reaction time equation.

        Re – Evidence. Ok have you ever heard of “false evidence”? I.e. a witness may be lying, misinformed, deluded, etc. What you are confusing is the colloquial term of evidence with truth. To find the truth about a claim, you can certainly start with a claim like “laying it down is a real thing” for sure, but to find out if the claim is true you need evidence in the form of controlled experiments, that is the only way to know if it is true.

        As far a Latin goes I’m more of a Cui bono, person myself!

  4. There are some excellent papers from studies done by crash scene investigators – of crashes in MotoGP races – look for them.

    In the meantime, watch John Hinds – trauma doctor for Irish road racing presentation – watch and learn gents – simply you are all missing the point.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocHeJG5o8N0

    and BTW ABS is not a pancea…
    http://www.righttoride.org.uk/effects-of-advanced-anti-lock-braking-systems-motorcycle/

    1. Elaine Hardy, tell me, what do you think would happen in a situation where a rider on a road bike with road tyres has run off the road onto the dirt where the road tyres have very little grip. I only need one example to prove that laying it down is a useful technique. Are you a highly experienced motorcyclist (decades of experience)?

      1. Dear MotoRain
        As you are the person making the statement that laying a motorcycle down is a useful technique, you are the person that has to provide the audience here with evidence. So you need to provide the research papers that back your “belief”. Not me, not Robert, not Doulos – just you.

        From my experience of many years working with motorcycle crash scene investigators and as a rider, there is another word for laying a motorcycle down (aka a lowside) while riding – it’s called “crashing”.

        Arrivederci. All the best.

        1. Elaine, your refusal to answer my question has destroyed your credibility. Anything you say from now on can not be believed because you have become emotional and defensive, which is very unprofessional behaviour. Like many others you are supporting what you want to be true instead of what is true. You are saying what supports your own inadequate riding ability. I’m finished with this discussion now. There is nothing to be gained by arguing with incompetent fools.

  5. Robert, are you saying that motorbikes never fall over in a crash? Of course they do and everybody knows that. It can take a lot of skill to keep a bike upright in a dangerous situation, but it takes very little skill to make it fall over. ABS was invented because people were locking the brakes and falling over. Yes that’s right, if you lock the brakes and keep them locked the bike will fall over. In some crashes it is preferable to fall over and be off the bike to avoid a serious impact. If you’ve run of the road and onto the dirt your road tyres will have very little grip and will be very ineffective in slowing down the weight of you and the bike. If you lay the bike down you will stop in a much shorter distance. It could prevent you from being flung over a cliff, running into something at head height like a tree branch or something protruding from the back of a truck, and numerous other situations.

    This all started years ago when some journalists quite rightly pointed out that some of the times when a rider said that he had to lay the bike down he actually just stuffed up his braking and fell over. Some people mistakenly took that to mean that you can’t lay a bike down to prevent serious injury. Whether it was done intentionally or not, in some of those crashes it was falling over that saved them.

    The most disturbing thing about this it that you have no consideration for other peoples safety. You are trying to convince others that a technique that could save their life doesn’t work. And you are doing it just to satisfy your own ego and trying to avoid looking like a fool. Too late, you’ve already proven that you are a fool.

    1. So now its “Some Journalists…….” in addition to “watching TV very closely”. I won’t hold my breath waiting for you to tell us who they are.

  6. BTW, Robert. What you said about reaction times applies to the initial reaction – the time from when you are happily riding along, have recognized that there is a danger, and have applied the brakes and taken whatever other evasive action is necessary. When you have made the initial reaction and adrenaline is surging through you body things happen much more quickly. But maybe not for you. Maybe you are one of the people who have poor reactions and think that everybody is the same. For your own safety you should give up riding. People like you don’t survive very long. You have never tried to lay a bike down and can give no proof that it can’t be done. But thousands of riders have done it. It is not a ‘one size fits all’ technique that should be used in every emergency. But in some situations it will save your life. And to survive as motorcyclists we need all the ‘tricks’ we can get.

  7. Yet more on “laying it down”.

    To MotoRain – Give up?? Sure, the day you bring some evidence to the table that amounts to more than pub talk and watching the TV very closely.

    To doulas – Surely you have heard of ‘reaction time’, it has been ingrained into driving courses and road rules since the horseless carriage! The two second rule ring any bells?
    I’m sure your physics lecturer will attest that the sequence of events is started the moment you brain perceives a threat via the optic nerve, then sends signals to the mussels, via nerves.

    Something else your physics lecturer will also confirm is that a claim “laying it down” has to be verified, via experiment, someone one claiming something is a fact does not make it true!

    What has been produced to support “laying it down” so far in this thread, and its previous incarnation, has been less than Bigfoot’s existence.

    Lastly, one more thing for you to consult with your physics lecturer, it is up to the person making the claim to bring evidence to support it, its called ‘the burden of proof’. Seriously go ask him/her.

    1. Again, Robert. We know something you don’t know, and we can make bikes do something you can’t do. I could give you much more detailed information on how it all works. But that is not what this article is all about. My comment was about how a road barrier can make a corner dangerous for motorcyclists. But you turned it into something else, wasting a lot of time and space waffling on about something you know nothing about. You must be a very inexperienced and incompetent rider, so stop pretending that you know everything about riding.

  8. I don’t know where some of you guys are coming from but I know many old bike riders whom have told me the only way they have avoided some accidents was to lay their bikes down.
    There was a technique of old speedway riders called “laying down at speed” to get them out of trouble.
    What is more do you really imagine the Moto GP guys are not schooled in how to minimise the damage to themselves and the very expensive racing bike?
    Ever been in a shunt? everything happens in slow mo and you really can take action if you have learnt to maintain presence of mind
    So YEAH MotoRain does know something you don’t

      1. Robert, are you a lawyer? You always want to win an argument and it doesn’t matter to you if you are right or wrong. This is a safety issue and it could save some peoples lives, so I will say this. If you really want to practice it, buy a dirt bike and you can practice it on the dirt without doing much damage to yourself or your bike. The reason the technique has been criticised in recent years is because it won’t work with rear ABS, and many people don’t want to accept that ABS can kill you as well as save you.

        Doulos is right about things going into slow mo. I have experienced that many times but have been reluctant to mention it because inexperienced, incompetent people like you won’t believe it. In an emergency some people just panic and crash. For others, their thoughts become incredibly rapid which makes everything seem to slow down. It gives you the ability to make numerous assessments of the situation and take numerous corrective actions in the space of 1 second. But if you haven’t experienced it you won’t believe it.

        1. It not about argument it about evidence, and the fact that you have not presented any! It really is that simple.
          The day you come up with some evidence will be the time to re-evaluate “laying it down”. Watching TV really closely, or repeating what some guy said in a pub back in the day is pathetic.

          As a side note your time slowing down during an accident is a perception only, physics and the speed of electrical impulses in your nerves determine how fast you react.

          1. There is a saying my physics lecturer used to say , “a second is a long time in the world of physics” in fact even a millisecond is a fair time .Does Robert know the speed of cerebral neuronal activity? More particularly has he ever crashed ?
            And as far as evidence there is many whom will attest regards crashes and “lying down” .
            What may be produced to debunk what has been asserted ? so far it has just been opinionated gainsaying.

  9. I met Raphael Grzebieta at a Motorcycle workshop in Malaga a few years ago. He came across as being a condescending, pompous, arrogant, know-all. Didn’t like him then, not least because he talked down to an audience of expert motorcycle crash investigators.

    He told me that he disagreed with the SMC’s (Swedish Riders organisation) campaign against crash barriers, completely ignoring the fact that one of many causes of crashes is due to infrastructure which includes wire rope barriers.

    We all know that and the fact that his BS studies highlight “the motorcyclist was at fault or partially at fault in 84% of crashes” indicates that he hasn’t got a clue. What does that mean “partially at fault”?? What a stupid statement. I’ve worked with some of the best in the world and I can say – hand on heart – that I wouldn’t give him the time of day. What a phoney!

    BTW – just to give my credentials. http://www.righttoride.org.uk/ni-motorcycle-fatality…/

  10. Many of the claims made are misleading e.g. Most WRB promotion (including Raphael’s own report) claims 100% of crossover accidents are stopped by WRB. In fact motorcyclists are particularly prone to going through or over WRB. Trucks and larger vehicles are often not contained by WRB. Many vehicles are also flipped by WRB turning a minor incursion into a major accident.

    WRB’s make even less sense when compared to alternatives:

    The preferred alternative in many installations is concrete which stops more vehicles, does not allow riders to go through it and also stops glare from oncoming traffic lights. Vehicles slide along concrete rather than come to a sudden stop (generally more forgiving to motorcyclists)… whereas motorcyclists in particular come to a very abrupt stop when they hit the WRB posts.

    The stats where Raphael claims 84% of accidents (in Victoria) are the riders fault don’t seem to be available. Raphael says he used the period 2001-2006 for this data. In 2001 (in Victoria) 35% of road fatalities involved illegal riders (often car drivers riding without a bike license)… whereas a few years later that fell to ~10%… a difference of ~25%. When allocating blame you have to understand it is normal for both vehicles to be at fault in some degree. The question to ask is what percentage of car drivers were at fault? When allocating blame to cars it might also be 84% (or higher)? The type of at fault mistake should also be considered? Despite repeated requests nobody has ever provided the car figure or any explanatory data. As the data isn’t available for comparison you can’t go back through it and check that the assumptions made were reasonable. Data from the same time period doesn’t seem to indicate rider at fault in this many accidents… and in fact this is at odds with much road safety research that shows driver primarily at fault in most accidents e.g. Failure to give way. Allocation of blame is thus used to blame the victim rather than to address the cause of the accident?

    In fact the original report that Raphael wrote on WRB remains unavailable. It’s not clear why this report remains unavailable if there are no contentious issues? We know for example that in the testing some of the cars were flipped by the end posts… but that fact never made it into the final report (understating potential problems). These kinds of issues continue to dog WRB’s e.g. with one recent fatality occurring because a car was catapulted into trees. Similar installations exist all over Victoria… and continue to be installed (refer end treatments of centre of the road WRB installations)… so the issue will simply increase in frequency over time.

    The claim that barriers constitute only a small percentage of fatalities ignores the Towards Zero premise… that all deaths are preventable… and instead argues it is OK to ignore the needs of some road users (motorcyclists). This kind of thinking was responsible for decades of inaction on motorcycle safety… instead relying on the trickle down effect (what is good for car drivers is good for riders too). We know trickle down road safety doesn’t work! Furthermore it fails to recognise that road safety improvements are cumulative… and ignores the fact that the costs of WRB alternatives are almost identical. The dramatic reduction in motorcycling risk over the past few decades puts lie to the claim that small reductions in injuries and fatalities are not worth chasing.

    Many of these points are expanded on further in the WRB Report:

    https://mega.nz/#!UPp1jahC!-y3kowUG3umAazL4zk1peeLIBtTM8MjuVNxPARW9Mf0

    🙂

  11. Many of the claims made are misleading e.g. Most WRB promotion (including Raphael’s own report) claims 100% of crossover accidents are stopped by WRB. In fact motorcyclists are particularly prone to going through or over WRB. Trucks and larger vehicles are often not contained by WRB. Many vehicles are also flipped by WRB turning a minor incursion into a major accident.

    WRB’s make even less sense when compared to alternatives:

    The preferred alternative in many installations is concrete which stops more vehicles, does not allow riders to go through it and also stops glare from oncoming traffic lights. Vehicles slide along concrete rather than come to a sudden stop (generally more forgiving to motorcyclists)… whereas motorcyclists in particular come to a very abrupt stop when they hit the WRB posts.

    The stats where Raphael claims 84% of accidents (in Victoria) are the riders fault don’t seem to be available. Raphael says he used the period 2001-2006 for this data. In 2001 (in Victoria) 35% of road fatalities involved illegal riders (often car drivers riding without a bike license)… whereas a few years later that fell to ~10%… a difference of ~25%. When allocating blame you have to understand it is normal for both vehicles to be at fault in some degree. The question to ask is what percentage of car drivers were at fault? When allocating blame to cars it might also be 84% (or higher)? The type of at fault mistake should also be considered? Despite repeated requests nobody has ever provided the car figure or any explanatory data. As the data isn’t available for comparison you can’t go back through it and check that the assumptions made were reasonable. Data from the same time period doesn’t seem to indicate rider at fault in this many accidents… and in fact this is at odds with much road safety research that shows driver primarily at fault in most accidents e.g. Failure to give way. Allocation of blame is thus used to blame the victim rather than to address the cause of the accident?

    In fact the original report that Raphael wrote on WRB remains unavailable. It’s not clear why this report remains unavailable if there are no contentious issues? We know for example that in the testing some of the cars were flipped by the end posts… but that fact never made it into the final report (understating potential problems). These kinds of issues continue to dog WRB’s e.g. with one recent fatality occurring because a car was catapulted into trees. Similar installations exist all over Victoria… and continue to be installed (refer end treatments of centre of the road WRB installations)… so the issue will simply increase in frequency over time.

    The claim that barriers constitute only a small percentage of fatalities ignores the Towards Zero premise… that all deaths are preventable… and instead argues it is OK to ignore the needs of some road users (motorcyclists). This kind of thinking was responsible for decades of inaction on motorcycle safety… instead relying on the trickle down effect (what is good for car drivers is good for riders too). We know trickle down road safety doesn’t work! Furthermore it fails to recognise that road safety improvements are cumulative… and ignores the fact that the costs of WRB alternatives are almost identical. The dramatic reduction in motorcycling risk over the past few decades puts lie to the claim that small reductions in injuries and fatalities are not worth chasing.

    Many of these points are expanded on further in the WRB Report:

    https://mega.nz/#!UPp1jahC!-y3kowUG3umAazL4zk1peeLIBtTM8MjuVNxPARW9Mf0

    🙂

  12. In my opinion anyone who doesn’t ride making statements about rider safety at this level is an ignorant over opinionated imbecile!
    The shear number of idiotic assumptions and feeble interpretations of statistics are mind numbing.
    In any analysis of safety systems you exclude the outliers such as drunks suicides and hoons as their inclusion would lead you to incorrect decisions.
    Stating that one or two deaths from barrier impacts doesn’t matter as it is insignificant in the scheme of things is not only offensive but idiotic in the extreme! Barriers are meant to save lives and reduce injury not the other way round, if a barrier type is likely to harm more people than another type then choosing it simply because it seem cheaper and performs better under some conditions then defending it instead of finding a better way is criminal.

    I watched a YouTube video of brake checks and cut offs the other day, in it several trucks had to take evasive action and drive down the median fortunately there were no WRBs to cause a serious problem had there been WRBs there would have been major pileups and probably a large number of fatalities. I’ve seen a number of videos of impacts with WRBs and most would have not been an accident but for the barrier and in all but a few the barrier was the greatest danger to other road users due to cables flinging out like whips and chunks of metal flying though the air! I even saw one of those thin support posts spear through a windshield and out the back of a car leaving a large hole in the passenger head rest.

  13. Funny how Raph is now promoting under run rails… The under run rails on the Old Pacific Highway and other locations came about as a direct result of lobbying by the MCC of NSW whilst Raph was noticeably absent.
    Then of course there is Raph’s original study carried out in conjunction with DEKRA in Germany where modelling of a motorcycle impacting a Wire Rope Barrier came to the conclusion that WRB’s were not safe for riders.. Have a look at Page 9 and 10 in this document
    https://www.dekratechnologycenter.de/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=52723&name=DLFE-1242.pdf
    The full argument behind this is at
    https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/ladocs/submissions/44825/Submission%2015%20-%20Inquiry%20into%20Motorcycle%20Safety%20in%20NSW%20-%20Redacted%20Version.PDF
    Raph changed his tune a little since then. I think a big fat grant for some research might sort all of this out. Mind you Raph has always been anti motorcycle, have a look at some of his statements in the Staysafe committee hearings.
    The posts in all of these barriers are the issue, but at least a W Beam can give you the opportunity to ride it out. I know of at least two high profile riders that have ridden out glancing collisions with a W-Beam and a Jersey barrier, something you can’t do with a WRB.
    To date we have a rider at Gin Gin losing his leg after aqua planing into a Wire Barrier, a rider killed on the Calder Highway and another rider quite possibly killed by a Wire Rope barrier at night recently in Sydney. The evidence is starting to mount that these barriers are not safe for riders but at a cost to the lives and limbs of riders. Sure it’s a cheap fix, but not at the expense of my life and my partners life.

    1. well put.
      Grzebieta says wire rope barriers aren’t used in hilly areas. The Oxley is now full of these murderous motorcycle killers.
      As far as his idea of making the national speed limit 80k goes, I don’t know what most people would call him but I bet international expert isn’t one of them.

  14. Yep, the barrier in the last pic will stop larger vehicles from hitting trees, rolling over etc etc, but not us.

    The “Emeritus Professor” must only be an expert in statistics, which is mainly the ability to twist any bullshit into something that sounds feasible.

    So less than 1% is ok? What is that number in human lives? And only 5-6% of all motorcycle fatalities. Going on that logic, removing barriers will cut motorcycle fatalities by 5-6%, presumably, replacing them with air fences? Put a motorcycle crash test dummy into armco and a wire rope barrier, and I’d bet it would prove that a rider that hits armco would suffer certain types of injuries and probably die, and a rdier that hits a wire rope barrier would suffer different types of injuries and more likely die as well. Hmmm, serious head injuries and/or spinal injuries as opposed to likely loss of limbs and/or decapitation. They choose the latter for us in many situations.

    The real important word here is “cheap”. They are cheap and therefore more of them can be put up in more places, meaning that they’re saving money on armco, and making it more likely to kill us than not.

    As far as stopping oncoming traffic from hitting us head on, stop the dickheads using their phones will decrease the liklihood of them drifting over the centre line and killing us. Cheaper than putting up wire rope barriers everywhere. Heres a suggestion; make fines for the use of phone whilst driving really scary and the idiots will them find themselves funding these safety initiatives!

  15. In the bottom photo with the blue bike in it – from a motorcyclist’s point of view this corner has a run-off area like on a racetrack. It is smaller than on a racetrack, but the speeds would be much slower so it would be effective. There is room for the rider to lay the bike down (don’t start that argument again. It works, and on dirt it works very well), which is something MotoGP riders often do in the gravel trap to avoid hitting the fence. And behind that there is some soft shrubbery to further slow you down and reduce any impact. Instead the authorities, in their infinite wisdom, have installed a solid steel barrier to ensure that riders will be seriously injured.

        1. Mark and Robert, it really astounds me how little you guys understand about riding a motorcycle. Watch closely when MotoGP riders run off into the gravel trap. Sometimes they just fall over. Other times you can see them deliberately make the bike fall over. This usually happens when they have travelled most of the way through the gravel trap and are obviously going too fast to stop in time. Watch closely, you’ll see it. I’ve done it many times in the dirt, and in the example here it would be on dirt. As soon as you get on the dirt your road tyres give very little grip. But if you lay the bike down parts of it dig in and slow you down.

          There are two reasons why people say that laying a bike down is not an effective safety technique;- 1) They don’t know how to do it. 2) They have ABS which prevents them from doing it. I won’t say any more about it except, I know something you don’t know and I can make a bike do something that you can’t do.

          1. Well then, don’t say anything about it because, as was pointed out the last time.

            A. No one teaches this,
            B. No one practices this, therefor no technique.
            C. There is no time in a real accident.
            D. You can’t know what is going through the mind of a MotoGP rider just by “watching closely” at your TV screen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.