Safety ‘net’ for rid­ers

A mesh made of a new fab­ric could save lives on roads, writes Craig Duff

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

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.

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