Europe Progress – On Crash Barriers

The Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA) reports that in November 2009 progress has been made in the European standard for motorcyclists protective guardrails EN 1317-8.

A new draft standard for protective road restraint systems has been approved by Technical Group 1 of CEN (European Committee for Normalisation).

The proposal is now on its way to become a European standard.

FEMA says, “After more than a year of joint work between users (FEMA), test houses, manufacturers and road administrations, what we hope will be the last TG1 (Technical Group 1) meeting took place on November 27th 2009 in Brussels, at CEN headquarters. At that meeting, the draft of standard EN1317-8 was finalized. This will become the European standard for protective road restraint systems for motorcyclists.”

FEMA has called for years for such a standard and is now hoping that WG1 (Working Group 1) will approve it during its next meeting.

WG1 (Working Group 1) – March 2010, this group is in charge of proposing documents for approval to TC226, thus if approved, it moves to Technical Committee 226 (TC266) which can adopt the future standard EN1317-8 at the end of June 2010.

However FEMA also report, “Should this vote be postponed because of conflicting agendas or lack of political consensus, it would delay the formal approval of the standard to June 2011 at the earliest.”

Right To Ride says – While this is one area that appears to be moving forward, i.e. standards for motorcycle protective guardrails, there were concerns about the standards in relation to other vehicles and how they react to collisions with these specifically designed motorcycle friendly systems, rather than for motorcycles and riders.

For example Bikeguard (pdf 3.7mb) in the UK is fully tested to BS EN 1317 part 2 and fully approved by the Highways Agency for use on the UK trunk road network. (“HA Accepted EN1317 Compliant Road Restraint Systems” – Miscellaneous Section – September 2009) as is Flexguard (pdf 1.1mb) and, Biker Safe (external website) has been tested to meet the standards EN1317 and UNE 135900 relating to vehicle and dummy post impact tests respectively.

So already bike friendly crash barriers that can be and are fitted on the UK trunk road network, are a reality!

Bearing in mind Roads Service under the Department for Regional Development are responsible for roads in Northern Ireland.

There are other issues for riders, as it would appear that the standard at present concentrates on riders who slide into barriers and does not include riders who are upright on impact, therefore excluding 50% of the problem.

While a new standard may be implemented, it is how this is implemented in the “real world” for motorcyclists to be taken into consideration.

This is because new road projects and the retro fitting of motorcycle friendly systems and in fact reviewing roadside restraint systems without protection, which have been already fitted, (not to mention the auditing of these systems regarding motorcycle safety), implies significant extra cost and acceptance by the European road authorities and in the case of Northern Ireland, our own Roads Service.

EuroRap – Barriers to Change: designing safe roads for motorcyclists – December 2008 pdf 2.4mb Annex 1: Dutch decision tree Page18/19

Of more importance is the issue of wire-rope barriers, that have been considered by motorcyclists as the most dangerous restraint system fitted on our roads, which seems to have been lost in the details.

Off course we can only rely on the news that is issued by riders’ organisations involved in campaigns and lobbying for motorcycle friendly crash barriers as well as other unreported work may be going on in the background.

FEMA Full Report Here

FEMA Survey

In August 2009 FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations) launched a wide European campaign which included an online question survey to gather individual testimonies from riders and relatives describing injuries suffered while hitting guardrail.

FEMA said, “Faced with incomplete accident records, it is essential to gather as much data as possible in order to get a clear and accurate view of typical accident configurations, in order to elaborate a safe and adapted test standard for future barriers.”

However the survey has shortfalls, it only covers riders who slide into barriers and does not include riders who are upright on impact, therefore excluding 50% of the problem.

The survey is available Here

Right To Ride – Issue – Barriers To Motorcycle Safety Click Here

www.fema-online.eu

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