Motorsport track expert Bob Barnard can't fathom use of wire rope barriers

Wire rope barriers baffle motorsport expert

A motorsport track design expert has told a Victorian inquiry that he does not understand why wire rope barriers have been installed on the state's major roads.

Bob Barnard is also known as the designer of motorsport tracks at both Phillip Island and Adelaide.

He appeared before the Parliament's inquiry into the increase in Victoria's road toll yesterday as an expert witness.

VicRoads has said wire barriers on roads such as the Hume Freeway in the North East have saved lives, but some witnesses have disagreed.

"I don't understand the concept of wire rope barriers and can't see why it keeps being installed," Mr Barnard said.

"I've never understood the concept of this and the rationale behind it. It goes against everything I understand as a road user and a track designer.

"The barriers should be something that will dissipate the forces involved over as large an area as possible."

Bob Barnard

Bob Barnard

He said one of his tasks as a track expert around the world was to investigate the circumstances behind a fatal incident where a young person on a go kart was decapitated by a similar type of wire rope, being used as a perimeter fence at the track.

The program to install the wire rope barriers across Victoria will cost the state $1 billion.

"I'm astounded that you spent that amount of money on these things," Mr Barnard said.

"It's not a barrier I would like to hit in a car, let alone on a motorcycle where the rider is exposed."

Damien Codognotto from Motorcycle Riders Association also described the wire rope barriers as "crazy" and a hazard on the road.

"Wire rope barrier is a nightmare for us. It doesn't work the way it's promoted," he said. "There have been many people, from tow truck operators to emergency services, all saying wire rope is way too close to our roads in many places."

He said the MRA wanted to see a "run-off area" on the side of freeways for motorists before they hit the barriers.

This story Wire rope barriers baffle motorsport expert first appeared on The Border Mail.