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Government must act to save bikers' lives

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The IAM is calling on the government to redesign crash barriers to make them more motorcycle-friendly, as new research from Sweden shows that modern crash barriers actually provide no safety benefits whatsoever to motorcyclists.  

Modern crash barriers are designed to save the lives of drivers, but amongst motorcyclists, hitting a crash barrier is a factor in eight to sixteen per cent of fatal accidents, according to an IAM-sponsored study. Riders are fifteen times more likely to die after hitting a barrier than car occupants.  

Britain’s current barriers protect car occupants by redirecting the car away from the barrier and slowing it down over a short distance. The car’s body, seat belts and air bags also help to minimise injury. For motorcyclists, there is no such protection, leaving the rider’s body to take the full impact, resulting in serious injury or death.   Two-thirds of all collisions between motorcyclists and crash barriers which result in death or serious injury include the rider either falling over or sliding under the crash barrier. Adding a shield to the barrier to prevent the rider from sliding underneath and colliding with support posts would reduce fatalities by up to a third. Crash barrier support posts can worsen the injuries of motorcyclists involved in an accident by five times.  

IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “Our crash barriers are designed with cars in mind, but they can cause more harm than good for motorcyclists. Modifications are happening across Europe as governments recognise exactly how dangerous they are. Last year deaths and injuries of motorcyclists increased in the UK4, so we must do more to protect them.  Adding extra protection the barrier so that the posts aren’t exposed is a simple and cost-effective way to save lives.”

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