Ameliorating motorcyclist injury risk from flexible barrier collisions in Victoria
Run-off-road crashes area major cause of death and serious injury on Australia?s roads. Typicaly involving roadside objects, such crashes account for over half of all fatalities in regional Victoria. While conventional barriers, such as concrete barriers and steel guardrails, have had only limited success in addressing run-off-road crashes, more recently, flexible barriers used over long lengths of roadway have shown great potential, especially in high-speed settings. European and Victorian experience indicate reductions of up to ninety per cent in serious and fatal injury run-off-road crashes. Flexible barriers deform and re-direct errant vehicles by absorbing a substantial proportion of the kinetic energy at impact, thereby frequently avoiding the severe outcomes generally associated with rollovers or crashes into rigid objects. However, there have been concerns that these barriers pose considerable injuryrisk to motorcyclists who strike them. In order to address these concerns, while still obtaining the safety benefits for the vast majority of road users, a number of barrier devices with the potential to ameliorate rider injury risk have become available. This paper reviews the main options availableand identifies thosethat maybesuitable fortrial onAustralasian roads.