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When Guardrails Turn Dangerous

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for burned out bikeGeorgia Brain Injury Lawyers Blog has posted in the past about the dangers of guardrails to motorcycle riders, and to vehicles in general, during a collision. Just this past week, a couple riding their bike in California rounded a curve, hit a guardrail and were fatally injured. They were wearing helmets, reportedly speed was a factor in the crash. Such tragedy seems unlikely given that guardrails are supposed to protect, not kill. But many unsuspecting riders and drivers are unaware of the inherent dangers in many guardrail systems. Drivers assume that these roadside structures are intended to keep them safe on impact. But unfortunately, the opposite can be the case. Last year, we posted about a Marietta man who was killed when his bike crashed into a guard rail in a single bike crash. Guardrails are not only dangerous to riders in a collision, but drivers in general in four wheel vehicles. We have just learned that the Georgia Department of Transportation will no longer use a particular type of guardrail due to safety concerns. Due to pending litigation involving a particular guardrail system, they have issued a moratorium on the installation of the guardrails until further testing is completed.

The particular guardrail in question is called the “ET-Plus.” An investigative report by Channel 2, WSBTV noted that a passenger was killed when part of a guardrail entered the vehicle in which he was riding struck the guardrail. Although this type of guardrail is intended to keep motorcycle riders, cars and trucks safe, there is a big issue with these guardrails. In the horrific injury involved in the I-285 crash, the guardrail actually went through a door of the vehicle and struck the passenger. Otherwise, that portion of the vehicle was actually not at all impacted during the crash. The victim’s family was left to grieve a loss of life that was avoidable, the worst pain of all.

The concern with some guardrails, including those we all have seen along roadways that are constructed of strings of cables, have been determined by the federal government to be unsafe. Nearly two decades ago it was recommended that they be repaired to avoid injury. Georgia still has some of these in place. This latest concern and moratorium on installation of certain guardrails is good news for motorcyclists.

The biking community should be aware of the higher risk of fatal injury related to guardrails for motorcyclists and not other vehicles. This statistic has been established over many years of research. So that any improvements on the safety of guardrails is a welcome development for riders.

If you or a loved one has been injured while riding a motorcycle, or if you have suffered injury from a guardrail, contact Scholle Law for guidance on your legal rights. We will also assist you with guidance on medical support. There is no charge for our case evaluation and in most instances, we do not take a fee for our services until your case is fully resolved. Please feel free to contact us at any time for more information and your free case assessment.