Crash & Bull Bars on Vehicles Cause Far More Danger than they Prevent


Often bought in the name of safety, it is a fact that crash bars or bull bars can actually create greater danger not only for pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable road users who get hit, but also for people traveling in the vehicles to which the bars are fitted.

Photo of a former police Ford Crown Victoria now being used as a taxi, but with crash bars still fitted.
Because of the dangers created by crash bars (a.k.a. bull bars) it is wrong that former U.S. law enforcement vehicles can be sold to the public with the bars still fitted. This should be banned. (Copyright image)

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Tough New Safety Tests Automakers Will Have to Pass for Euro NCAP

According to EuroNCAP: “Today, during our 20th Anniversary celebrations, [we are launching our] Road Map 2025, setting out for the first time the programme’s priorities for the mobility and technological revolution the auto industry is just beginning to experience.

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Grand Rapids, MI, starts a multi-year pedestrian-safety program but does it beg a question?

Kent County, MI, reported 790 crashes involving pedestrians between 2012 and 2015, and more than half of these occurred in Grand Rapids.

Photo of pedestrians crossing the road in very contrasty lighting conditions.
Pedestrians crossing. Copyright image.

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Bicycling Deaths in the USA Increased by 12.2 Percent in 2015

“BICYCLING DEATHS are on the rise [in the USA], a new report says, as is the average age of the victims…

Photograph of a car passing a bicycle at a bad location on a mountain curve.
Cyclists are often passed badly by reckless or unthinking drivers.  Copyright image.

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Terrible New Record Number of Pedestrian Deaths in California

Vulnerable Road Users [VRU] include pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.  Among these, pedestrians are certainly in very serious danger in California.

Just 10 years ago, 17 percent of California’s roadside [sic] fatalities involved pedestrians. That number has since grown to 25 percent…. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, preliminary results show a record-high 900 people died [in 2016] across the Golden State – an increase [of more than five percent] from 852 in 2015.

Many experts consider that the use of smartphones, etc., both by drivers and other road users is a major factor in such elevated numbers of road deaths.

There is an interesting, detailed article on this, from the Desert Sun.

An Insight into the Vital Subject of Good Observations when Driving

The latest “THINK!” advert gives a small but important insight into the proper use of observations when driving.

Far too many drivers simply gaze ahead of their vehicle while driving  without actually noticing everything they should and being alert to all the things that potentially could go wrong.  Worse than that, many drivers literally do just gaze at the back of the vehicle they are following, reliant on the brake lights of that lead vehicle to trigger a response in themselves.  But either way, drivers who do these things are throwing away a lot of safety.

Photograph of an urban road with multiple dangers such as pedestrians, cyclists, static cars with their doors open, etc.
The speed limit sign is not the only thing that needs to be seen when you are driving! This image is from the “THINK!” campaign in Britain but applies in every country.

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When Road Signs Can Increase the Danger – 001

Some road signs are incorrect for their task and others can create problems by not being located exactly where they should be (sometimes because the installer was sticking strictly to a rule book and didn’t use common sense).  But in this case the cause of potential danger is different:

Photo of a "Turn Off Cell Phones and Two-Way Radios" sign, too close to the construction zone (thus a danger created by distracting the drivers).
What to do? Switching off phones and radios is often linked to danger from explosives but if a driver starts messing about trying to switch off a phone this close to the construction zone, his distraction might cause him to hit someone…. like the worker who is walking across the road in this photo!   New York State.  (Copyright image.)

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A chat about: Drivers Stopping *at* Stop Lines!

We saw this earlier today, in Latham (Albany), NY, and the question is “can there be any worse example of thoughtless driving than completely blocking a crosswalk at a red light?”

Photo of a car stopped at a red light but completely blocking a crosswalk.
Bad drivers block crosswalks! (Photo copyright 2017, Eddie Wren)

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Calling All Cyclists, It’s Not Just Drivers Who Get Distracted!

To coincide with this year’s Tour de France cycle race, the THINK! Road Safety team have issued a timely reminder that it’s not just drivers who get distracted and cause crashes, people on bicycles do, too!

From the THINK! Road Safety team.

As a footnote:  Congratulations to British rider Chris Froome for his fourth overall TdF  victory today, and his third win in succession.

Three Feet is Too Close to pass a Bicycle – See the UK Way!

Undercover police officers in Birmingham, England, posing as cyclists, caught a trucker who has becomes one of first motorists in Britain to be prosecuted under a new law for driving too close to a bicycle.

The 60-year-old wagon driver was fined  £1,038 [U.S. $1350], including costs, and also got five penalty points on his driving license — a penalty which is undoubtedly intended to reflect the significant danger caused by the offence in question.

In several American states, recent laws have mandated a minimum gap of just three feet when a motor vehicle is passing a person riding a bicycle but other countries have laws requiring a 1.5 metre gap — in other words 36 inches in the USA versus 59 inches in other countries… 62 percent more safety space.

This image is the wrong way around for American viewers who, of course, drive on the right, but this gives some idea of where the bicyclist must be allowed to ride (i.e. not in the gutter) and how much gap is truly needed for safety when a motor vehicle is passing. (Five feet is a very close equivalent to the 1.5 metres shown here.)  Photo:  Daily Mail; used here under ‘fair use’, for safety purposes.

Will having just three feet of space be acceptable?  It is surely obvious that having a large vehicle, maybe even something as big as a semi-tractor-trailer whizzing past just three feet away will at the very least be unnerving, and given the buffeting of the air that can be created by a large vehicle, it’s not hard to conclude that it could be risky, too.  And then there’s the question of what happens when a driver is incapable of accurately judging a gap of three feet.  There is clearly and indeed most literally not much room for error.

And the second question  is:  How exactly is this law going to be actively enforced in the states in question?  Or should the question be: IS this law going to be actively enforced in the states in question?

One thing is for certain, and that is that I am very curious about how the gap is going to be measured, from one state (or country) to another,