Road Safety News

Motorcycle crash cushion reviewed by BSI

Monday 4th March 2013

A crash cushion engineered specifically to protect motorcyclists from lethal roadside objects has been reviewed by the British Standards Institute (BSI).

'Biker-Mate’ was independently tested last year and results showed an absorption rate of 60 - 69%. The motorcyclist protection system has been developed by the UK-based business Euro Road Safety.

Originally designed to be attached to passive safety systems such as lattix posts, Biker-Mate was soon developed further to fit other systems.

Biker-Mate is designed to structurally deform around the collider; absorbing a large percentage of impact energy and diverting the motorcyclist away from potentially lethal objects.

The results of the BSI-witnessed tests, which simulated a real-life crash using a lamp column and a dummy, showed a clear correlation between use of the system and increased motorcyclist safety. The results “represented a potential difference between life and death to bikers travelling at high speed”.

In its subsequent report, BSI stated: “[The results of the tests] verified that Biker-Mate can absorb a large amount of energy, thereby potentially reducing injuries to the motorcyclist on impact. Biker-Mate was also successful in the deflection of the dummy as witnessed during the test.”

Peter Hudson, Euro Road Safety business development executive, said: “As this is a totally new innovation there is currently no UK or EU standard by which to test the product, however, BSI was impressed. They independently tested Biker-Mate and confirmed not only our results but also an even greater rate of absorbency and deflection than during previous tests.

“The results of this new report means that the bikers now have a product to rely on that could protect them from major injuries or even death in the event of collision with roadside objects.”

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Dave, I wouldn't disagree with your argument. I am sure if that was the case some lawyer would make such a claim against the relevant authorities.

Maybe if motorcyclists had been a consideration in the first place when such a street ornament was initially positioned, then given that consideration it wouldn't be deemed now necessary to need such protection.

Just look at a general roadside barrier on a bend, say. Great for cars to bounce off etc but with posts that can rip a leg or an arm off an unfortunate motorcyclist, doesn't bear thinking about - and all that would have been necessary is a horizontal barrier that went all the way down to the steet/tarmac level. Thus covering the posts.
bob craven Lancs

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Bob, if there are 3 posts near each other and the LA opts to treat 2 of them and leaves a 3rd untreated and eventually an unseated rider hits the 3rd post and receives serious or fatal injury do you not think a lawyer somewhere will ask why the 3rd post wasn't treated? Do you think 'we didn't think it needed it' will be a good defence? Hence my question about the criteria to treat posts. And if you treat posts with covers are we not admitting that they're likely to cause injury and therefore should be relocated?

Finally, last time I looked these were about £300 a post. How many posts are there near the carriageway in the average LA?
Dave, Leeds

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I am sure that when they suggested the benefit of impact occurring at high speeds they meant what they said, "A potential difference between life and death", thus meaning at higher speeds a motorcyclist would be more likely to survive such an impact as against not surviving it.

I would further suggest that at lower speeds it would make a vital difference in the degree of injury possibly suffered by the unfortunate motorcyclist.

Another comment about what should be covered or not, and whether a LA would be liable if not covered, is a nonsense as all signage presently in place has been approved before being placed and therefore is currently the responsibility of the authorities anyway. Should any motorcyclists come into contact with it, that is.
bob craven Lancs

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For sites where moving the hazard is impossible, it's great to have an option. We have however used them without the yellow/black covering - not distracting road users from the highway, usually, in our case a bend with an accident history.
Jenny, Hampshire

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Fair observation by Dave - as we can’t really predict if, when or where any particular roadside feature might be hit by a motorcyclist, going to extremes, imagine how ridiculous it would look if every tree and every item of street furniture within striking distance of a carriageway therefore had a crash cushion fitted. There is another solution – self-preservation - and the clue is at the end of the fifth paragraph where it refers to ‘bikers travelling at high speed’.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (6)

It's an interesting idea but how are LAs to decide which posts to treat? Using casualty data could mean treating after the event. Treating all posts is unfeasible and cherry picking posts based on potential danger is far from ideal and could have legal implications if a rider hits the post you've not treated.
Dave, Leeds

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Always far more lucrative to fix the symptom rather than fixing the problem.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

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