Barriers unsafe for riders

25-04-2020 by admin

A renewed push by the state government to bring down Victoria’sroad toll through a $350 million plan to upgrade 2500 kilometres of rural and regional roads may begood news for drivers.

But another group of road users argues they have been left out of the conversation when it comes to road safety.

Macedon Ranges motorcyclist and Victorian Motorcycle Council spokesman John Eacott says the flexible roadside barriers earmarked for the Calder Freeway under the government’s plan posea serious danger to riders.

Mr Eacott, who rides his motorcycleto Bendigo via the Calder at least once a month,said it was not the wire rope safety barriersthemselvesbut the upright supportswhich were most dangerous.

“The upright supportsof WRSBsare designedtogive way under theweightof a car or something heavier, they don’t do thatfor a motorbike,” he said.

“That impact goes back into therider, thebarrierstays upright and causes severe injuries to the motorcyclist.”

Mr Eacott said solid concrete or steel “Armco” barriers provided better protection for all road users, but those options were often not considered.

“There are better alternatives but unfortunatelymotorcyclists, as only 4 per centof the motoringpopulation, are considered to be the sacrificial elements,” he said.

“There doesn’t seem to be much concerngiven to the damagethat wire rope safetybarriers can do to motorcyclists.”

Mr Eacott said concrete barriers were widely used in other parts of Australia.

“You come downaround Melbourne, you go all throughNew South Wales,and concrete barriers are used quite extensivelyin the middle of roads,” he said.

“They must be acceptable in those situations, why can’t they be acceptable in regional Victoriafor all road users?”

Mr Eacott said while the wire rope barriers were cheaper to install in the shortterm, they ended up costing more over time when maintained appropriately.

“All these different barriers have their limits,we accept that, but the WRSBs seem verymuch driven by economics becausethey are cheaper to install,” he said.

“But over a 10 year period, the maintenancecosts of WRSBsis actually far in excess of either Armco or concrete, so it’s a shortterm saving which is detrimental to the safety of motorcyclists.”

Victoria Police announced a renewed crackdown on motorcycle riders yesterday, following a spike in the number of fatalities recorded in recent months.

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