Flexible Barriers

Life-saving safety barriers are being installed on some of Victoria’s most dangerous regional roads as part of Towards Zero.

Why are safety barriers being installed on regional Victorian roads?

You are five times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash on a regional road compared to on a road in metropolitan areas. The majority of these crashes are head on collisions or happen when a vehicle runs off the road and into a roadside object, like a tree. Flexible safety barriers are being installed because they reduce these types of crashes from happening by more than 85%.

What happens when a vehicle hits a safety barrier?

When a vehicle hits a safety barrier, the impact of the crash causes the barrier posts to bend at the base. The flexible ropes remain intact and catch the vehicle like  a net. This prevents vehicles from travelling out of their lane and crashing into an oncoming vehicle or into a roadside object, like a tree.

When a vehicle hits a safety barrier, does it rebound back into traffic?

Safety barriers are deigned to absorb the impact of the crash. This means when a vehicle crashes into the barrier, the flexible ropes stretch to catch the vehicle and friction created from the crash slows the vehicle and helps bring it to a complete stop.

Can safety barriers stop trucks?

Safety barriers are strong enough to help stop trucks, buses, SUVs and 4-wheel drives. Barrier testing found flexible barriers can withstand being hit by passenger vehicles weighing up to 2000kg at 100km/h and larger vehicles weighing up to 8000kg at 80km/h.

Are safety barriers dangerous for motorcycle riders?

Safety barriers are highly effective for more than 95% of road users, however they are not as effective for motorcycle riders in the event of a crash. Motorcycle riders are more vulnerable on the roads because they are not protected by their vehicle.

Motorcycle riders should wear high-performance helmets and protective clothing and ride at speeds which are legal, safe and appropriate for the conditions, to help prevent themselves from being seriously injured if  involved in a crash.

Why do some safety barriers have white padding around the posts?

Post padding has been used on centre-road flexible barriers on some of Victoria’s popular motorcycle routes. Post padding helps cushion a motorcycle rider’s body from the barrier post in the event of a crash.

What research has been done to show safety barriers save lives?

Research into the effectiveness of safety barriers has been carried out both in Victoria and overseas. Barriers reduce head-on and run-off-road crashes, the most common  types of crashes on regional roads, by more than 85%.

An example of how the barriers are saving lives

How do safety barriers affect landowner access and access for emergency services?

VicRoads works closely with landowners directly impacted by safety barrier installation road works. In most cases, there is minimal or no impact to property access.

On roads with long stretches of barrier, there are a number of breaks made along the barrier to allow emergency services vehicles to access the other side of the barrier or road. These breaks in barrier occur on average every 500 metres to 1 kilometre.

Is there a difference between the safety barriers which run along the sides and centre of the road?

On some roads the type of safety barrier used may look different, however all safety barriers used on Victoria’s roads serve the same purpose and do the same thing. Different types of barriers are used at different locations depending on the individual stretch of road, type of traffic and road side environment.

How many kilometres of safety barrier is being installed on Victorian roads?

As part of the Victorian Government’s Towards Zero Action Plan 2016-2020, 2000 kilometres of flexible safety barrier is being installed on twenty of Victoria’s most high risk regional roads. Many other regional Victorian roads are also being upgraded with new safety barrier as part of individual regional road projects.

How long does it take for the safety barriers to be repaired after a crash?

Barrier repairs are prioritised by VicRoads based on the amount of damage to the barrier and location of the barrier.

The severity of the hit and damage to the barrier determines how long the barrier will take to fix. In some cases a few barrier posts may need to be replaced and the wire will need to be re-tensioned, in other cases an entire stretch of barrier will need to be re-installed.

What should I do if I see a damaged barrier?

VicRoads encourages anyone who notices damaged barrier to report it to VicRoads on 13 11 70.