We motorcyclists have known for a long time that contact with metal road signs results in serious injuries or even fatalities.
The UN and EU have recommended that metal signs and barriers be removed.
Germany is taking the lead to replace steel road signs with plastic ones.
Apart from the steel barriers we see lining highways here, there are also steel road signs which are dangerous to motorcyclists. How many times have we seen bikers losing their limbs and lives after colliding with these “safety barriers”?
Many developed countries around the world are taking steps to replace their road barriers. Germany, on the other hand is taking the initiative to replace steel road signs with plastic ones, in addition to barriers. Check out the main picture of this article.
While we motorcyclists have long known about the dangers of crashing into a road sign, the German safety research facility DEKRA (seen this logo on Michael Schumacher’s cap) researched the hazard for quantifiable results. They found (no surprise) that motorcyclists are likely to be killed if they hit steel signs.
As such, they are advocating plastic road signs. Please watch the DEKRA video below.
The United Nations conducted a road safety survey and published a report in 2017. Among the recommendations are calls to remove roadside hazards that are proven to cause injuries and fatalities among motorcyclists. The 108-page paper by the World Health Organization found that motorcyclists are 15 times more likely to be killed compared to crashing where there is no hazard. The severities of injuries are also increased.
The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA) and European Union Road Federation (ERF) have also published a report called “Improving infrastructure safety for powered two-wheelers” which echoed the call by the WHO, which includes installing motorcycle protection systems on guardrails, maintaining skid resistance of pavement markings (i.e. lines) and ensuring that road surfaces are maintained.
Speaking about those hazards we need to point out that while our roads in Malaysia are actually quite good compared to our immediate neighbours but there are still much to improve for safety. Our observations are:
- We’ve seen the new rolling guardrail barrier at a corner along the Karak Highway and hope more are installed.
- The lines on the road are hardly “skid resistant” and are slippery even when dry.
- While they highways are generally well-maintained, there still potholes that rival the craters on the moon.
We hope that the new Minister of Transport and the Road Transport Department will view these seriously.