Urban crash barriers protecting roadside diners

An outdoor café dining area next to a busy road with a row of bollards along the edge of the footpath

Specially designed bollards, set 1.2 metres apart at the road edge, form a system for stopping out-of-control vehicles in areas where pedestrians gather. These bollards should be:

  • strong enough to protect pedestrians
  • soft enough to protect vehicle occupants
  • open enough not to restrict foot traffic
  • used for shielding roadside dining areas, bus stops and other densely occupied locations, as well as protecting fragile or valuable roadside structures.

Why do people who are dining at the roadside need protecting?

People who choose to eat outdoors should be as safe as those who choose to eat indoors.  Being close to the road without an effective barrier from road traffic is risky.  Even a slow moving passenger car can seriously injure dozens of people if the driver loses control.

How are the Urban Crash Barriers different from other crash barriers?

Traditional crash barriers are typically of two types.  Either they are rigid and immovable in a crash, or they are extremely flexible.  The rigid barriers stop the impacting vehicle too abruptly and put the vehicle occupants at risk.  Flexible barriers require a lot of space to bring an impacting vehicle to a stop, putting pedestrians at risk.  Urban Crash Barriers are designed to achieve significant cushioning for impacting vehicles without needing much stopping space.

How can a barrier be both strong enough and soft enough?

Sufficient strength is required to bring an out of control vehicle to a standstill.  Some cushioning is required to achieve this in an acceptably gradual way to protect the impacting vehicle’s occupants.

How was this technology developed?

The effects of crash energy are well understood and can be tracked by laboratory equipment measuring the dynamics of test crashes.  The Urban Crash Barrier technology was developed using a process of repeated crash testing and design improvement.

Who can supply Urban Crash Barriers, and how much do they cost?

Urban Crash Barriers are supplied by firms that can certify the crash performance of their products.  Uncertified products are not acceptable.  Included on this website is a list of current Australian suppliers.  The cost of the products varies according to style and features, but basic models are comparable in cost to some uncertified barriers being used around roadside dining areas.

What features should I look for in an Urban Crash Barrier?

First and foremost the barrier design must have been tested by a qualified laboratory and certified capable of stopping an out of control passenger vehicle as described in the Draft Standard (PDF 545KB).

The barrier you select must be suitable for correct installation at your intended site.  In particular, there must be a place for underground footings.  Urban crash barriers require substantial footings.

The barrier should be of an appropriate size and appearance to match the requirements of the streetscape.  The positioning of barriers should not obstruct foot traffic or channel pedestrians onto an unsafe route.


Ron Somers - Head, Injury Surveillance & Control Unit
Telephone: (08) 8226 6361

Anne Bowden - Injury Prevention Officer
Telephone: (08) 8226 6324

Fax: +61 8 8226 6291

Postal address: PO Box 6, Rundle Mall, Adelaide SA 5000 AUSTRALIA

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