My questions/comments are in your text in bold, blue italics.
I recommend you refer Vanessa Juresic (RTA NSW) to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Crashes Involving Roadside Objects - March 2005.
Please note. The Executive Summary clearly documents the lack of hard evidence/data on crashes involving road furniture, including wire rope barriers (WRB). If that is true in Victoria, it is probably true elsewhere.
Chapter 8 covers WRB. That the Federal ATSB did not continue with motorcycle & scooter safety tests on WRB because it would cost too much is clearly documented on page 209.
The bibliography indicates a paper avalanche. In the time available there were too many reports for the Victorian Road Safety Committee (VRSC) make a comprehensive, effective study of. We suspect many of these papers/reports suffer inadequate data collection, have poor methodology, or are not relevant to Australia's conditions and circumstances. To make sense of this large amount of material we need unbiased researchers to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.
Australian road authorities have spent hundreds of millions of tax dollars, maybe billions, in WRB. Exact information is not available. We think the Victorian Auditor General should audit all road barriers in use in this state. Given the massive amounts of tax dollars involved, road authorities might be accused of conflict of interest if they refuse to release raw data on WRB crashes and overall costs or refuse to allow independent studies of the material in the VRSC report on roadside objects and elsewhere.
Saturday, October 22, 2011, 9:36:48 PM, you wrote:
Don't forget those questions re WRBs
From: Damien Cognotto OAM
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 9:16 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: Wire Rope Barrier info
Thanks for keeping me informed.
We have a Parliamentary Inquiry into motorcycle safety. The public hearings are after the Phillip Island GP so I'm busy but I'll try to get something done on this tomorrow. I appreciate the opportunity.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011, 7:54:13 PM, you wrote:
I know this is for NSW but if you'd like to send me as many questions as you'd like to, please do.
To: Vanessa (RTA NSW)
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 8:23 AM
Subject: Re: Wire Rope Barrier info
This may take a few emails as I have a lot of correspondence from my recent story to get through. I will be sending you comments/questions I have received from members and those that have been posted on the website discussion forum.
The most asked is "why does the RTA persist with installing a safety barrier that is potentially lethal to all motorcyclists?"
Could persisting with WRB have anything to do with financial commitments and/or career cultivation?
Also "why doesn't the RTA sheath or cover the wire ropes to protect motorcyclists in the event of an impact with them?"
Australia is the WRB capitol of the world. I'm told there are 3 local manufacturers - Brifen, BHP and another. In my opinion covering WRB has two problems for manufacturers and road authorities.
Ask Vanessa (RTA NSW) how many kilometres of WRB are on NSW roads? It should be a simple accounting query to find out. WRB sales to local and state road authorities must be recorded. If full records are too hard try asking for the last finacial year's state expenditure on WRB, include installation, maintenance and repair. One estimate was that WRB costs $50,000 to buy and install. Consider the freedom of information law. In Victoria it costs $24.
Has a NSW road authority ever paid compensation to a victim, or a victim's family, after a casualty crash at a WRB site? Victims include truck drivers and car occupants. See attached.
Could covering WRB be seen as an admission that WRB is dangerous to riders so measures had to be taken to improve safety? Road authorities can't say they did not know about WRB safety concerns. Would this leave road authorities across Australia open to law suits including possible class actions? If road authorities knew WRB was dangerous and they did not do the research then fix the problem, is that negligence?
As you can imagine, a lot of our members are heavy haulage drivers by profession, they comment "unless a heavy haulage truck is fittted with a bull bar, the vehicle simply rolls over the top of the wire rope barrier, what's the point of them!"
WRB doesn't even stop cars, let alone trucks. Perhaps the worst truck/WRB crash was in Yatala Qld. in 2006. It made national media. RACQ Engineer John Wikman went on TV to call for WRB to be replaced.
The worst car crash was at Burrumbeet, Victoria, earlier this year. Five casualties in a 4WD. Three dead.
The road authorities in both above cases said that no barrier would have stopped that truck or that car ... but how do they know that. Where is the good science to prove it?
Has the RTA tested these barriers for impact with convertible (soft-top) sports cars? It has been shown that small vehicles can wedge themselves under and through into the oncoming lane of traffic, therefore occupant decapitation is a real possibility.
Can low/small vehicles, eg soft-top sports cars, get under WRB? Yes. Has it happened? Probably. Can we get details? Very, very doubtful indeed.
Does WRB deflect up to one lane width when hit by a car or truck? It does. That is plainly obvious in the crash test videos. So, leaving aside the fact that WRB does not stop cross-over or head-on crashes in all situations how can any road authority justify centre-of-the-road WRB installations, especially in high-speed roads carrying heavy traffic?
I have recalled that the 3 different types of wire rope barrier (2 wire, 3 wire and 4 wire) having mixed construction, can be seen between the Old Bar turnoff and the Cundletown turnoff along the centre divide of the Pacific Highway running along Taree NSW.
Given there are at least 3 types of WRB in NSW and a type using box steel posts on Eastlink in Victoria, can the RTA NSW supply a list of all the WRB types in use in this State?
The question has been asked "why are there different installations in the same location?", quite obviously, while the wire rope barrier is in itself a danger to all motorcyclists, the 2 wire is invariably much more dangerous then the 4 wire principly on the surface area to impact ratio.
Are there any safety/installation guidelines or regulations for road authorities in NSW when using WRB? If not, why not? How does this effect a road authorities duty of care to all road users? If guidelines exist but are not followed what is the legal liability of the road authority to the victim of a crash at that WRB site?
You were saying that the RTA doesn't have a set Installation Standard for WRB. Does this mean the RTA is erecting the barriers beyond the manufacturers specifications? I recall discussing WRBs with the Brifen Rep at the Motorcycle and Scooter Safety Summit. He was explaining that their system was uni-directional and not to be used as a lane divider or installed on curves, something I have seen in numerous locations.
So, if the brand is Brifen and their WRB is installed on a curve, then the road authority, it seems, is ignoring the manufacturer's advice on installing the WRB. How does that affect liability in the case of a casualty crash?
Road authorities and WRB manufacturers often say that there is no evidence to suggest that WRB is a danger to motorcyclists. Doesn't that just mean that WRB crash site data has not been collected or is not available?
If WRB crash site data has been collected, can we have it? There should be no privacy issues because victims do not have to be identified. This is road safety not national security.
About 2002 crash tests were carried out by Monash University Accident Research Centre using Toyota Echos at Laverton in Victoria. The full report has never been released. Can we obtain a copy through the NSW RTA?
VicRoads conducted tests on padding for WRB posts. Were there impact tests or just weathering tests? Can we obtain copies of the results of those tests through the NSW RTA?
Last question. Why did the RTA NSW get a spin doctor to respond to your road safety questions rather than a road safety and/or technical officer like and engineer?
All for now, regards,
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2011 3:54 PM
Subject: RE: Wire Rope Barrier info
I hope this email finds you well. I will take care of this inquiry for you - could you please give me a call to discuss?
Thanks so much,
Media Unit | Corporate Communication | RTA NSW
Sent: Sun Oct 09 21:46:47 2011
Subject: Wire Rope Barrier info
I am preparing to do a follow up article for anational club magazine with regard to Wire Rope Barriers. I would appreciate your assistance in getting a copy (electronic is fine) of the RTAs Wire Rope installation standards.
Also, can you please supply the names of the manufacturers/suppliers of Wire Rope Barrier the RTA sources from?
Perhaps someone from the new Transport NSW organisation would consent to being interviewed for the magazine?
WORK IN PROGRESS .........................................