Roadside protection systems such as steel guard rails or concrete barriers were originally developed to protect occupants of cars and/or trucks – but not to protect impacting motorcycle riders. Motorcycle rider crashes into such barriers have been identified as resulting in sever injuries and hence has become a subject of road safety research. The German Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) requested DEKRA Accident Research to analyse real-world crashes involving motorcycles impacting road side barriers and to identify typical crash characteristics for full-scale crash tests of a conventional steel system and a concrete barrier. A study of 57 real-world crashes identified two crash test scenarios which have been carried out: one with the motorcycle driven in an upright position and one with the motorcycle with the rider sliding on the road surface. The pre-crash velocity chosen was 60 km/h. The impact angle was 12° for the upright driven motorcycle and 25° for the motorcycle and rider sliding.
Two crash tests have been conducted to analyse impacts onto conventional steel guard rails and two tests to analyse impacts onto a concrete barrier. Two additional full-scale crash tests were carried out to analyse the behaviour of a modified roadside protection system made from steel.
A second phase of the work involved carrying out computer simulations at Monash University’s Department of Civil Engineering. The DEKRA results from the crash test, where the upright motorcycle impacts the concrete barrier, were used to validate a MADYMO motorcycle-barrier model. This model was then used to investigate other impact speeds, a 25° impact angle scenario and different impact scenarios between an upright motorcycle and a wire rope barrier system. The results revealed, that the risk for motorcyclists of being injured when colliding with either a wire rope or a concrete barrier will be high.
The paper describes the relevant real-world accident scenarios, the different roadside protection systems used for the tests, the crash tests, the modelling simulations and the results, and proposes improvements to barrier systems to reduce injury severity.