Road Safety Barriers and the Safety of Road Users – the Analysis of the Situation in Poland

Szymon Rzepczyk, Jakub Majer, Maciej Obst


Road safety barriers are a basic element of the road infrastructure aimed at improving the safety of road users. Design parameters and indications for assembly are strictly regulated by the GDDKiA (General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways) guidelines in accordance with the European standards. In Poland, the most commonly used barriers are thin-walled metal sheet barriers, rope barriers, and concrete ones. The types differ in terms of technical parameters and level of security they provide. One of the purposes of installing road safety barriers is to protect road users from hitting an obstacle in the vicinity of the road, and to protect people around the accident from the effects of an uncontrolled vehicle leaving the road. The effects of a collision caused by hitting a protective road barrier depend mainly on the type of the barrier and the vehicle. The authors made a detailed and interdisciplinary analysis of data on accidents resulting from hitting a road safety barrier, comparing them with information available in the literature, combining the technical aspects of the use of barriers with a medical description of the description of typical injuries.


road safety barriers, damage, road safety, road accidents, risk of injury

Full Text:



Generalna Dyrekcja Dróg Krajowych i Autostrad, Wytyczne Stosowania Drogowych Barier Ochronnych na Drogach Krajowych wraz z załącznikami, GDDKiA, 2014.

EN 1317-2: 2010 [2001]: Road restraint systems, Part 2: Performance classes, impact test acceptance criteria and test methods for safety barriers including vehicle parapets, 2010.

EN 1317-1: 2010 [2001]: Road restraint systems, Part 1: Terminology and general criteria for test methods, 2010.

Pawlak M., The Acceleration Severity Index in the impact of a vehicle against permanent road equipment support structures, “Mechanics Research Communications”, 77 (2016)/10, pp. 21–28.

Gabauer D., Gabler H. C., Evaluation of Threshold Values of Acceleration Severity Index by Using Event Data Recorder Technology, “Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board”, 1904 (2005)/1, pp. 37–45.

Sturt R., Fell C., The relationship of injury risk to accident severity in impacts with roadside barriers, “International Journal of Crashworthiness”, 14 (2009)/2, pp. 165–172.

Montella A., Pernetti M., Vehicle occupant impact severity in relation to real world impact conditions, [in:] Proceedings of the 2nd International Congress on New Technologies and Modeling Tools for Roads, Florence 2004, pp. 1-14.

Wicher J., Bezpieczeństwo samochodów i ruchu drogowego, Wydawnictwa Komunikacji i Łączności, Warszawa 2012.

Prochowski L., Podstawy rekonstrukcji wypadków drogowych, Wydawnictwa Komunikacji i Łączności, Warszawa 2014.

Gradkowski K., Stałe urządzenia techniczne dróg: materiały do wykładów i ćwiczeń, Oficyna Wydawnicza Politechniki Warszawskiej, Warszawa 2010.

Gradkowski K., Budowle urządzeń technicznych dróg i ulic, Oficyna Wydawnicza Politechniki Warszawskiej, Warszawa 2013.

Anbarasu M., A numerical investigation of local - distortional - lateral - torsional buckling interaction of cold - formed steel lipped channel beams, “Asian Journal of Civil Engineering”, 18 (2017)/4, pp. 643–656.

Kotełko M., Lis P., MacDonald M., Load capacity probabilistic sensitivity analysis of thin-walled beams, “Thin-Walled Structures”, 115 (2017)/6, pp. 142–153.

Liang C., Wang C. J., Nguyen V. B., English M., Mynors D., Experimental and numerical study on crashworthiness of cold-formed dimpled steel columns, “Thin-Walled Structures”, 112 (2017)/3, pp. 83–91.

Martins A. D., Camotim D., Gonçalves R., Dinis P. B., On the mechanics of distortional-global interaction in fixed-ended columns, “Thin-Walled Structures”, 123 (2018)/2, pp. 162–184.

Trahair N. S., Papangelis J. P., Lateral-distortional buckling of beams with hollow flanges and folded plate webs, “Engineering Structures”, 163 (2018)/5, pp. 71–76.

Obst M., Kurpisz D., Paczos P., The experimental and analytical investigations of torsion phenomenon of thin-walled cold formed channel beams subjected to four-point bending, “Thin-Walled Structures”, 106 (2016)/9, pp. 179–186.

Vignjevic R., Liang C., Hughes K., Brown J. C., De Vuyst T., Djordjevic N. et al., A numerical study on the influence of internal corrugated reinforcements on the biaxial bending collapse of thin-walled beams, “Thin-Walled Structures”, 144 (2019)/11, pp. 106277 (1-12).

Wegner T., Kurpisz D., An energy-based method in phenomenological description of mechanical properties of nonlinear materials under plane stress, “Journal of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics”, 55 (2017)/1, pp. 129-139.

Kurpisz D., Obst M., The energetic and experimental based approach to description of basic material characteristics and mechanical properties of selected polymers, “Journal of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics”, 58 (2020)/1, pp. 183–193.

Magnucki K., Bending of symmetrically sandwich beams and I-beams – Analytical study, “International Journal of Mechanical Sciences”, 150 (2019)/1, pp. 411–419.

Barnat W., Bogusz P., Dziewulski P., Gieleta R., Kiczko A., Klasztorny M., Niezgoda T., Ochelski S., Experimental validation of the numerical model of car impact on a road barrier, “Journal of KONES Powertrain and Transport”, 17 (2010)/1, pp. 1-11.

Niezgoda T., Barnat W., Analiza podatnych elementów kompozytowych w zastosowaniu do poprawy energochłonności barier drogowych, “Biuletyn Wojskowej Akademii Technicznej”, 55 (2006)/4, pp. 21-43.

Niezgoda T., Ochelski S., Klasztorny M., Barnat W., Kiczko A., Dziewulski P., Experimental- numerical analysis of steel- foam energy- absorbing panels for road barriers modernization, “Journal of KONES Powertrain and Transport”, 17 (2010)/1, pp. 309-315.

Niezgoda T., Barnat W., Dziewulski P., Numerical analysis of road infrastructure components on an example of SP -01, SP -04 and SP –09 barriers, “Journal of KONES Powertrain and Transport”, 14 (2007)/3.

Dobrovolny C. S., Geary G., Dixon K., Manser M., Chauhan J., Addressing the Motorcyclist Advisory Council Recommendations: Synthesis on Barrier Design for Motorcyclists Safety, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, May 1, 2021, FHWA-SA-21-069 –

Zou Y., Tarko A. P., Chen E., Romero M. A., Effectiveness of cable barriers, guardrails, and concrete barrier walls in reducing the risk of injury, “Accident Analysis & Prevention”, 72 (2014)/11, pp. 55–65.

Russo B. J., Savolainen P. T., A comparison of freeway median crash frequency, severity, and barrier strike outcomes by median barrier type, “Accident Analysis & Prevention”, 117 (2018)/8, pp. 216–224.

Margiotta G., Calvisi G., Carnevali E., Bacci M., Gabbrielli M., A fatal crash against guardrail. Report of a case and considerations about safety of roadway barriers in Italy, “Revista de Medicina Legala”, 23 (2015)/3, pp. 5–8.

Obst M., Rodak M., Paczos P. R., Limit load of cold formed thin-walled nonstandard channel beams, “Journal of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics”, 54 (2016)/4, pp. 1369-1377.

Hu W., Donnell E. T., Median barrier crash severity: Some new insights, “Accident Analysis & Prevention”, 42 (2010)/11, pp. 1697–1704.

Komenda Główna Policji BRD, WYPADKI DROGOWE W POLSCE. Statystyki zebrane z lat 2009-2020, Komenda Główna Policji, 2021.

Żaba C., Świderski P., Mularski A., Żaba Z., Obrażenia spowodowane kontaktem z drogowymi barierami ochronnymi, [in:] XVI Konferencja Problemy Rekonstrukcji Wypadków Drogowych, red. Unarski J., Series “Paragraf na Drodze”, Wydawnictwo Instytutu Ekspertyz Sądowych, Kraków 2019, pp. 311–319.

Keall M. D., Newstead S., Analysis of factors that increase motorcycle rider risk compared to car driver risk, “Accident Analysis & Prevention”, 49 (2012)/11, pp. 23–29.

Bambach M. R., Grzebieta R. H., McIntosh A. S., Injury typology of fatal motorcycle collisions with roadside barriers in Australia and New Zealand, “Accident Analysis & Prevention”, 49 (2012)/11, pp. 253–260.

DITRDLG, Fatal and serious road crashes involving motorcyclists. Research and Analysis Report, Road Safety Monograph 20. Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Australia 2008.

EuroRap., Barriers to Change: Designing Safe Roads For Motorcyclists, European Road Assessment Program, Basingstoke Hampshire, UK, Publication Number 01/08, 2008.

NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts, Motorcycles, 2008 Data. DOT HS 811 159, National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 2008.

Park G.-J., Shin J., Kim S.-C., Na D.-S., Lee H.-J., Kim H. et al., Protective effect of helmet use on cervical injury in motorcycle crashes: A case–control study, “Injury”, 50 (2019)/3, pp. 657–662.

Rzeźniczek P., Czesław Ż., Charakterystyka obrażeń ofiar wypadków motocyklowych ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem obrażeń czaszkowo- mózgowych/Characteristics of motorcyclists’ victims injuries with special focus on skull and brain injuries, “Anestezjologia & Ratownictwo/Anaesthesiology & Rescue Medicine”, 10 (2016)/1, pp. 363–369.

Jama H. H., Grzebieta R. H., Friswell R., McIntosh A. S., Characteristics of fatal motorcycle crashes into roadside safety barriers in Australia and New Zealand, “Accident Analysis & Prevention”, 43 (2011)/3, pp. 652–660.

Daniello A., Gabler H. C., Effect of Barrier Type on Injury Severity in Motorcycle-to-Barrier Collisions in North Carolina, Texas, and New Jersey, “Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board”, 2262 (2011)/1, pp. 144–151.

Hosseinpour M., Haleem K., Examining crash injury severity and barrier-hit outcomes from cable barriers and strong-post guardrails on Alabama’s interstate highways, “Journal of Safety Research”, 78 (2021)/7, pp. 157-169.

Daniello A., Gabler H. C., Characteristics of Injuries in Motorcycle-to-Barrier Collisions in Maryland, “Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board”, 2281 (2012)/1, pp. 92–98.

Berg F. A., Rücker P., Gärtner M., König J., Motorcycle impacts into roadside barriers-Real-world accident studies, crash tests and simulations carried out in Germany and Australia, [in:] Proceedings of the Nineteenth International Conference on Enhanced Safety of Vehicles, Washington DC 2005, pp. 1-13.

Prochowski L., Mechanika ruchu, Wydawnictwa Komunikacji i Łączności, Warszawa 2016.

Guzek M. J., Niepewność w analizie wypadków drogowych, Oficyna Wydawnicza Politechniki Warszawskiej, Warszawa 2016.

Ibrahim M. K. A., Hamid H., Law T. H., Wong S. V., Evaluating the effect of lane width and roadside configurations on speed, lateral position and likelihood of comfortable overtaking in exclusive motorcycle lane, “Accident Analysis & Prevention”, 111 (2018)/2, pp. 63–70.

Daniello A., Cristino D., Gabler H. C., Relationship between Rider Trajectory and Injury Outcome in Motorcycle-to-Barrier Crashes, “Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board”, 2388 (2013)/1, pp. 47–53.

Di Maio V. J. M., Di Maio D. J., Świątek B., Przybylski Z., Jurek T., Maksymowicz K. et al., Medycyna sądowa, Edra Urban & Partner, Wrocław 2018.

Molan A. M., Rezapour M., Ksaibati K., Modeling traffic barriers crash severity by considering the effect of traffic barrier dimensions, “Journal of Modern Transportation”, 27 (2019)/2, pp. 41–51.

Liu B. C., Ivers R., Norton R., Boufous S., Blows S., Lo S. K., Helmets for preventing injury in motorcycle riders, “Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews”, (2008)/1.

Valen A., Bogstrand S. T., Vindenes V., Frost J., Larsson M., Holtan A. et al., Driver-related risk factors of fatal road traffic crashes associated with alcohol or drug impairment, “Accident Analysis & Prevention”, 131 (2019)/10, pp. 191–199.

Żaba C., Dobosz T., Kis-Wojciechowska M., Kołowski J., Lorkiewicz-Muszyńska D., Marcinkowski J. T. et al., Wybrane zagadnienia z medycyny sądowej, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Medycznego im. Karola Marcinkowskiego, Poznań 2014.

Raszeja S., Nasiłowski W., Markiewicz J., Medycyna sądowa: podręcznik dla studentów, Państwowy Zakład Wydawnictw Lekarskich, Warszawa 1993.

Mutschler E., Droździk M., Kocić I., Pawlak D., Geisslinger G., Kroemer H. K. et al., Farmakologia i toksykologia: podręcznik, Wydawnictwo MedPharm Polska, Wrocław 2018.

Mehrara Molan A., Rezapour M., Ksaibati K., Investigating the relationship between crash severity, traffic barrier type, and vehicle type in crashes involving traffic barrier, “Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering (English Edition)”, 7 (2020)/1, pp. 125–36.


  • There are currently no refbacks.