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Flexible road safety barriersFlexible road safety barriers catch vehicles before they hit something harder – like a pole, tree or oncoming car.

Flexible road safety barriers are installed down the middle of a road to prevent head-on collisions or along the side of the road to help stop run-off-road crashes.

If you hit a flexible barrier, the steel cables flex, slowing down your vehicle and keeping it upright. The barriers absorb the impact of the crash so you and the people with you, don't.

They’re a cost-effective infrastructure treatment that can reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in crashes by 75 percent.

Flexible road safety barrier information

Agricultural vehicles and safety barriers

Motorcyclists

Motorcyclists have less protection in the event of a crash.

Roadside and median flexible safety barriers are highly effective in preventing deaths and injuries for all road users including motorcyclists.

We’re investing in improved roads and roadsides that are safer for motorcyclists. Motorcyclists are more likely to survive an impact with a flexible road safety barrier than an impact with trees, poles or oncoming vehicles which the barrier will prevent them striking in a crash.

The University of New South Wales has undertaken an in-depth analysis of motorcycle impacts into roadside barriers in both New Zealand and Australia. The data shows that barriers of any kind contributed to a very small percentage of motorcycle fatalities.

A study of the NZ motorcycle-barrier crash data from January 2001 to July 2013 shows of 20 motorcycle fatalities sustained as a result of riders hitting a roadside or median barrier, just 3 involved flexible safety (wire rope) barriers, while 13 involved traditional steel ‘W’ beam barriers and 4 other barrier types. Over the same time period there were 97 motorcyclist fatalities from collisions with posts or poles, 70 from hitting traffic signs and 93 from crashing into unprotected trees.

Motorcyclists and safety barriers information

Case studies

3.5kms of flexible median barriers were installed on SH1 Centennial Highway, just north of Wellington, in 2005. This was a treacherous piece of road – in the 4 years to 2000 it recorded 8 fatalities, 2 serious injuries and 7 minor crashes.

In the four years from 2005 to 2009, following the installation of the flexible median safety barrier and lowering the speed limit to 80kph, there were no fatal and no major injury crashes, and just 3 minor injuries recorded.

Between 2005 and October 2015, the Centennial Highway barrier has been hit over 100 times without a single death

Video

The construction of flexible road safety barriers on SH1.

Article

Building more flexible barriers to save lives on our country roads(external link)  - Monash University, 6 August 2018