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.
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.
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.