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  • Keeping motorcyclists safe

New guidelines and high strength steels are reducing injuries to motorcyclists on the road, but more needs to be done

ArcelorMittal has actively contributed to the preparation of the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations’ (FEMA) new booklet: New Standards for Road Restraint Systems for Motorcyclists.

FEMA's goal is to reduce injuries to riders and passengers by replacing existing restraint systems which are unsafe for motorcyclists with new types of barriers which deform on impact.

Motorcyclists are more likely to be involved in a collision with a safety barrier on bends and curves, where acceleration and deceleration occur and stability may be compromised. Riders typically slide into the barrier and may impact it with any part of their body.

Deformation critical to rider safety

To minimise injury, the barrier must decelerate the motorcyclist and/or deform on impact to absorb energy. Material selection is a critical factor.

In terms of deformation, some materials, like concrete, are particularly inefficient. By comparison, properly designed high strength steel (HSS) barriers are flexible enough to absorb the momentum of the rider and their motorcycle, yet robust enough to safely contain and redirect the rider.

One of the simplest and most effective motorcycle protection designs that FEMA has identified is a two-part steel barrier (see pictures). The system offers a normal guardrail at the top, with the addition of a long and continuous protective sub-rail underneath.

The sub-rail stops the rider sliding under the barrier and into roadside obstacles such as trees or lighting poles. As it is long and flat, the sub-rail is also effective at decelerating the motorcyclist and prevents them hitting the posts which keep the barrier in place.

Long-term steel safety barriers

  • Safety barriers made of HSS usually have a simple flat profile which helps to reduce injuries.
  • HSS safety barriers are more cost-effective than other materials. Their flat profile limits manufacturing operations, minimising production costs.
  • Even after an accident, damage to steel barriers is limited and immediately visible. Sections can quickly be replaced where necessary.
  • The environmental performance of the HSS is also superior as it is lighter – reducing emissions during production and transportation of the finished guardrails to the installation site.
  • When used with ArcelorMittal’s self-healing coating Magnelis®, HSS barriers offer long-term, cost-effective safety for up to 20 years – even in maritime environments.

Safety barrier manufacturers are already using ArcelorMittal’s expertise to produce HSS solutions which provide optimum protection for motorcyclists. Together with FEMA, ArcelorMittal intends to continue our efforts to improve safety for all road users.

Read the full article in the May 2013 issue of the Update client magazine