Safety ‘net’ for riders
A mesh made of a new fabric could save lives on roads, writes Craig Duff
AB‘‘ASYC’’ approach to motorcycle safety could have a big impact on riders’ injuries. The Spanish-built Basyc ‘‘soft impact’’ fabric mesh system is being tested in South Australia, having already been approved in 10 countries on three continents.
The results of that trial are being studied by road authorities nationwide who are looking for a relatively inexpensive way to ‘‘rider-proof’’ Armco-style guardrails. Many riders are hurt or killed when they hit the vertical posts that hold the ‘‘W-beam’’ railing at car height. The Basyc system attaches to the barrier and covers the gap between it and the road.
Basyc says the system has been tested to Spanish standards with motorcycle-rider dummies and to European standards for sedan vehicles. The Basyc trial system was installed on a 2km stretch of Gorge Rd at Cudlee Creek, near Kangaroo Creek reservoir, in the Adelaide Hills.
Basyc says its system ‘‘will capture, contain, absorb and redirect a sliding rider. It will prevent the rider from passing through or wedging between the W-beam rail’’.
The fabric material is a flexible, tensioned mesh barrier designed to to absorb the energy of impacts.
Falling riders are redirected in the same direction by the material’s high tenacity and high elasticity.
The textile mesh is made of a fireproof, recyclable product that has UV protection, and is reportedly good for decades. It is covered in a paraffin and Teflon coating to reduce friction temperatures on impact and ensure the rider slides on the mesh instead of being grabbed by it.
The product is easily installed because it’s not necessary to remove the existing beam and little maintenance is required.
The Gorge Rd stretch was identified as a priority after six crashes (five involving motorcyclists) between January 2004 and December 2008, resulting in three fatalities, two serious injuries and two minor injuries.