PROPER BAR­RI­ERS CAN SAVE LIVES

New Straits Times - - Cars Bikes & Trucks - ARMAN AH­MAD cbt@nst. com. my

THEDe­wan Rakyat was told on Wed­nes­day the in­stal­la­tion of safety rolling bar­ri­ers in Jalan La­pan­gan Ter­bang Subang had re­duced num­ber of road ac­ci­dents in the area by 94 per cent within six months.

Ac­cord­ing to Deputy Works Min­is­ter Datuk Ros­nah Rashid Shirlin, as re­ported by Ber­nama, the new bar­ri­ers had fea­tures such as clearer light re­flec­tors as well as the abil­ity to ab­sorb shock en­ergy and reduce the im­pact of a col­li­sion on the driver and ve­hi­cle.

The in­stal­la­tion of the bar­ri­ers had been com­pleted in De­cem­ber last year, and now the min­istry is plan­ning to ex­tend its use from the Kuala Lumpur In­ter­na­tional Air­port (KLIA) round­about to the KLIA high­way at Sepang later this month.

How­ever, there is a draw­back to in­stalling the bar­ri­ers as their cost, at RM1,500 per me­tre, is six times more ex­pen­sive than nor­mal bar­ri­ers (RM250/ me­tre).

As such, the min­istry is do­ing a cost ben­e­fit anal­y­sis on the types of bar­ri­ers and their ef­fec­tive­ness.

It is un­clear whether the min­is­ter was mis­quoted, but if the bar­ri­ers can ac­tu­ally reduce ac­ci­dents by 94 per cent, then its in­stal­la­tion in ac­ci­dent-prone ar­eas should se­ri­ously be con­sid­ered at it may help bring down our wor­ry­ing road ac­ci­dent sta­tis­tics.

How­ever, the govern­ment may also want to con­sider study­ing the com­mon steel W-beam guardrail that is used on public roads and high­ways in Malaysia and its dan­ger to mo­tor­cy­clists.

There have been a few re­ported cases of rid­ers who were de­cap­i­tated af­ter run­ning into them.

One was re­ported in Jalan Per­sisiran Pan­tai Nusa­jaya only a few years back.

An­other hor­rific in­ci­dent oc­curred in 2015, when a woman pil­lion rider was de­cap­i­tated af­ter she re­port­edly fell on the rail­ing af­ter the mo­tor­cy­cle crashed. Her hus­band lost his left arm in the in­ci­dent.

A study con­ducted by a lo­cal univer­sity in 2007 found the W-beam bar­ri­ers to be dan­ger­ous.

Al­though the study was con­fined to ex­clu­sive mo­tor­cy­cle lanes, the bar­ri­ers may be sim­i­lar to those found on many of our high­ways. A sim­u­la­tion done in the study iden­ti­fied them as a dan­ger to mo­tor­cy­clists.

“It has been pre­sented in this pa­per that a W-beam guardrail ex­ist­ing along ex­clu­sive mo­tor­cy­cle lanes is dan­ger­ous to mo­tor­cy­clists as it causes the rider to slide and tum­ble along the top of guardrail be­fore land­ing on the ground head first. This im­pact al­most al­ways re­sults in fa­tal­i­ties or cat­a­strophic in­juries. The rea­son for th­ese haz­ards has been at­trib­uted to in­clude non con­sid­er­a­tion of mo­tor­cy­clists in the de­sign of this guardrail,” noted the study .

Given that mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dents ac­count for most of the in­juries and deaths in the country, per­haps it is time the govern­ment con­ducts a new study to find an im­proved rail­ing that is safer to mo­tor­cy­clists as well as cars.

Bar­ri­ers on a Malaysian high­way.

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