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A literature study on crash barriers

From SMC Sweden: a literature study on crash barriers and the impact they can have on motorcyclists.

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, threes, 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, gives the lowest risk of injury, whether the rider slides into the barrier or is sitting on the motorcycle. We therefore choose the term MPS in the future since it gives positive effect, mainly in sliding but also in a sitting collision. In a collision where the rider is sitting, sharp edges and corners as well as posts sticking up over the barrier has 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 depending on the low number of accidents. The risk of injury in collisions with cable barriers was higher than all other barrier types.

Click here to read the full report.