Horizontal panels for guard rails to cushion skidding m-cyclists

LTA will add the panels along a 230m stretch of slip road linking the Bukit Timah Expressway to the Pan-Island Expressway, in the direction of Tuas.
LTA will add the panels along a 230m stretch of slip road linking the Bukit Timah Expressway to the Pan-Island Expressway, in the direction of Tuas. PHOTO: ST FILE

LTA to study effectiveness of motorcyclist protection system panels, amid sobering accident fatality figures

Horizontal panels will be added below guard rails at a road bend here to cushion skidding motorcyclists who hit the posts of guard rails and also minimise the likelihood of them sliding off the road.

This is being done as sobering accident statistics show that for every 25 road users who died, nine were motorcyclists.

Last year, motorcyclists accounted for more than half of all traffic accidents here.

For a start, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will add the panels along a 230m stretch of slip road linking the Bukit Timah Expressway to the Pan-Island Expressway, in the direction of Tuas.

The LTA, which called a tender for the motorcyclist protection system panels last month, said installation works will start in the second quarter and be completed in the third quarter.

"The LTA will study the effectiveness of the motorcyclist protection system to assess if it can be extended to more locations," a spokesman told The Straits Times.

Similar systems have been employed in Europe and materials such as plastic and steel are used to construct the additional panels.

HAZARDOUS

Usually at road bends, the build-up of gravel and sand can make the road slippery. It is worse when it rains.

MOTORIST AARON LOW, 40, an engineer, who said more can be done to minimise motorcycle accidents, such as ensuring road surfaces are free of debris as well as wear and tear to prevent skidding.

In Singapore's case, the type of material used will be decided based on the tender proposals from contractors.

The Federation of European Motorcyclists' Association (Fema) has said that steel guard rails - constructed with steel beams attached to metal posts - are designed mainly with cars and heavy vehicles in mind.

In a 2012 report, it said motorcyclists sliding on the ground could hit the posts of a guard rail.

As the posts have sharp edges and cannot cushion the impact, a motorcyclist who collides with them may suffer serious organ damage or limb injuries, often leading to amputation, Fema added.

Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay said it is a good move to install panels and he hopes this will reduce the fatality and injury rates for motorcyclists.

"The panels will also prevent motorcyclists from slipping through the gap between the road and the guard rail... causing serious injuries," he said.

Motorist Aaron Low, 40, an engineer, said more can be done to minimise motorcycle accidents, such as ensuring road surfaces are free of debris as well as wear and tear to prevent skidding.

"Usually at road bends, the build-up of gravel and sand can make the road slippery. It is worse when it rains," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2018, with the headline 'Horizontal panels for guard rails to cushion skidding m-cyclists'. Print Edition | Subscribe