Protest ride over wire rope barriers

Wire rope barriers better roads austroads report hazards

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.

9 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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
      plus
      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.

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