About the Urban Crash Barrier project

In 2000 the Injury Surveillance & Control Unit of the Department for Health and Ageing completed a research project on crash barriers installed to protect roadside diners and pedestrians from out-of-control vehicles.

A survey of roadside dining venues was conducted and evidence from several serious accidents was examined.

A new energy-absorbing bollard design was developed from the research findings and the results of an extensive program of crash testing of prototype bollards with a specially designed test trolley. The new accredited design, the Urban Crash Barrier, is now manufactured and available throughout Australia.

As part of the project the Injury Surveillance & Control Unit in collaboration with Transport SA and the private agency, Injury Prevention SA Inc. produced a Draft Standard and a set of guidelines for local government on the design and installation of Urban Crash Barriers.


Crash testing

An acceptable Urban Crash Barrier must pass rigorous testing by a qualified crash-test laboratory.  Each test consists of a controlled impact by either a production vehicle of a defined mass or a standard trolley.

Result of a test with a production vehicle

A crash tested car showing damage to the front end and some bending of the barrier

The energy of this crash was absorbed by the bending of both the barrier and the vehicle.  The potential bending of the vehicle is limited.  If the barrier did not bend, occupants would be at greater risk.

Result of a test with a standard trolley

A test trolley after impact showing bending of the barrier

This trolley has rebounded after collision with an Urban Crash Barrier.  The energy of the collision has been absorbed by the bending of both the barrier and the yellow impactor of the trolley.

Inadequate barriers

Traditional ways of delineating dining areas typically do not provide adequate crash protection.  Pictured below are some characteristically inadequate structures for stopping an out of control vehicle.

Untested metal structures

Bollards that have broken off and lie shattered on the footpath

These untested bollards shattered when struck by an out of control car.

Planter boxes

Planter boxes will not stop an out of control vehicle, and may become flying projectiles.

Planter boxes do not provide barrier protection.  However they do have some legitimate uses.  You may wish to delineate pedestrian walkways, block inappropriate crossings, and route pedestrian flow by use of planter boxes.  Remember though that you are creating a potential hazard.  This hazard can be significantly reduced if you design the planter boxes from materials (rubber, polyurethane, some types of plastic, mild steel) that will not shatter in a crash situation.  Cast aluminium, cast iron, concrete and ceramics are not suitable materials.  The design of planter boxes should prevent them being launched by an impacting car.  It is also important that the planter box crumple and not act as a launching ramp for the impacting car.

A row of smashed planter boxes and plants on the roadside

Planter boxes did not stop an out of control car from crashing into these tables outside a popular restaurant.

Brick wall

An outdoor café area separated from the road by a low brick wall

A brick wall will not stop an out of control vehicle.

Glass panels

A barrier constructed of metal posts and glass panels around an outdoor café area

Glass panels will not stop an out of control vehicle.

Raised platform

A dining area on a raised veranda with a timber and metal railing fence

A raised dining area may or may not stop an out of control vehicle.  A qualified crash safety engineer is required to assess height and structural strength.

Crash barrier suppliers

South Australia

Automotive Safety Engineering (ASE) Pty Ltd
28 Donegal Road, Lonsdale 5160 SA
Telephone: (08) 8384 7863
Mobile: 0417 845 711
Fax: 61+ 8 8387 4022


Saferoads Australia
Telephone: 1800 060 672
Fax: (03) 5625 4986

Other links

Transport policy advice: Transport SA

Local Government Association of South Australia

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