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Title:
CONTINUOUS ABSORPTION PROTECTIVE MEANS TO BE INSTALLED ON A ROAD OR MOTORWAY BARRIER TO PROTECT A MOTORCYCLIST IN THE EVENT OF AN IMPACT AGAINST SAID BARRIER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/132787
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Protective means are disclosed, consisting of continuous elements (2), placed beneath the lower strip of a barrier (1 ), which continuously absorb the energy due to the impact of a motorcyclist against said barrier. A protective element (2) preferably presents, in section, two V-shaped parts (5, 6) opposite each other and joined by a flat central part (7) (preferably) at right angles to the road surface, the end portions (10) of the protective element (2) being preferably bent so as to be parallel to said central part (7). Two adjacent protective elements (2) are joined to each other by an element (8) shaped like said central part (7) and pushed into the two adjacent protective elements (2) and by at least one plate (9) fixed to a supporting post (4) and to the terminal portions ( 10) of the two protective elements (2).

Inventors:
DEMOZZI ANDREA (IT)
Application Number:
EP2009/002876
Publication Date:
November 05, 2009
Filing Date:
April 21, 2009
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MATTIOLI SPA (IT)
INNOVAZIONE E RICERCA PER INFR (IT)
DEMOZZI ANDREA (IT)
International Classes:
E01F15/04
Foreign References:
DE1949782U1966-11-17
FR2796090A12001-01-12
EP0823511A11998-02-11
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PETRUZZIELLO, Aldo et al. (Viale San Michele Del Carso 4, Milano, IT)
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Claims:

CLAIMS

1. Protective means to be installed on a road or motorway barrier (1) to protect a motorcyclist in the event of an impact against said barrier and consisting of continuous protective elements (2) placed beneath the lower strip of the barrier (1), characterised in that said protective elements (2) are adapted to absorb continuously the energy due to the impact.

2. Protective means as in claim 1, characterised in that said protective elements (2) have, in section, two V-shaped parts (5, 6) opposite each other, joined by a flat central part (7).

3. Protective means as in claim 2, characterised in that, when a protective element (2) is installed, the central part thereof (7) is at right angles to the road surface.

4. Protective means as in claim 2, characterised in that the terminal portions (10) of the protective element (2) are bent so as to be parallel to the central part (7) of said protective element (2).

5. Protective means as in claim 2, characterised in that the flat central part (7) of the protective element (2) has a longitudinal stiffening rib (7') consisting of a portion of the central part (7) recessed and parallel to the plane of said central part (7).

6. Protective means as in claim 2, characterised in that two adjacent protective elements (2) are joined to each other by an element (8) pushed into the two adjacent protective elements (2), said element (8) being shaped like the central part (7) of a protective element (2).

7. Protective means as in claim 6, characterised in that two adjacent protective elements (2) are further joined to each other at one of the supporting posts (4) by means of at least one further plate (9) fixed to the supporting post (4) and to the bent terminal portions (10) of the two protective elements (2).

8. Protective means as in claim 1, characterised in that said protective elements (2) are fixed to the posts (4) and joined to each other by joining means (8, 9, 13) which do not protrude from the surface of the barrier 1 facing towards the roadway.

9. Protective means as in claim 1 , characterised in that said protective elements (2) consist of elements of soft and elastic-plastic material having a circular, a square or a rectangular section.

Description:

CONTINUOUS ABSORPTION PROTECTIVE MEANS TO BE INSTALLED ON A ROAD OR MOTORWAY BARRIER TO PROTECT A MOTORCYCLIST IN THE EVENT OF AN IMPACT AGAINST SAID BARRIER.

DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to protective means to be installed on a road or motorway , barrier to protect a motorcyclist in the event of an impact against said barrier.

Roads (and motorways) often present hazardous points for the circulation of motorcyclists; the barriers installed alongside the road (or the motorway) are valid means of containing vehicles or heavy vehicles but they can contribute to make the consequences of an accident in which a motorcyclist is involved more serious.

Road (or motorway) barriers are usually formed of supporting posts (normally) fixed to the ground in an upright position, which carry spacers (which in turn carry at least one strip) and at least one longitudinal bar, placed at a greater distance from the ground than that at which the strip is situated, which contributes with the strip to contain the vehicle (car, truck, articulated truck, etc.) during a possible veering off the roadway.

In the majority of the accidents involving a motorcycle, the motorcyclist leaves the motorcycle and slides on the road surface: it is therefore likely that the motorcyclist will impact against any barrier present roadside, incurring serious injuries. The most dangerous aspect is the impact of the motorcyclist against the posts supporting the strips of the barrier.

In order to attenuate the impact of the motorcyclist against the barrier, various types of protection have been installed on the barrier, providing the protection only of the posts supporting the barrier and/or the installation of a further smooth longitudinal stringer (a strip, a section bar or a tubular element) in the lower part of the barrier to afford a continuous protection.

Two types of protection are mainly used:

- a protective element of soft material which covers the post to attenuate the impact of the motorcyclist against said post;

- a smooth strip, installed in the bottom part of the barrier to prevent a motorcyclist from impacting against the post and/or from sliding under the bottom strip of the barrier in the event of an accident.

There further exist protective means which combine the positive effects of both the above mentioned solutions by installing on the same barrier both the smooth bottom strip and a soft element (usually a spacer) placed between the smooth strip and the post. In this manner the impact of the motorcyclist against the post is avoided and at the same time the impact against the barrier is attenuated through the controlled deformation of the elements connecting the smooth strip to the post.

These known protection means do not allow a motorcyclist to be adequately protected in the event of an impact, since they are not able to dissipate the energy due to the impact in a continuous manner and they tend to cause the motorcyclist to be thrown back onto the roadway.

Object of the present invention is to create protective means to be installed on a road or motorway barrier to protect the motorcyclist in the event of an impact against said barrier; this object is achieved through protective means having the characterising features set forth in claim 1.

Further advantageous characteristics of the invention form the subject matter of the dependent claims.

The invention will now be described with reference to a purely exemplifying (and therefore non limiting) embodiment thereof, illustrated in the appended figures, wherein:

- Figure 1 shows diagrammatically a perspective view of a protective element according to the invention;

- Figure 2 shows diagrammatically a side view of the protective element of Figure 1 ; - Figure 3 shows diagrammatically, in an exploded view, two protective elements and the means adapted to join them to each other and to a supporting post of a barrier;

- Figure 4 shows diagrammatically a side view of the assembly of Figure 3, assembled.

In the appended figures, corresponding elements will be identified by the same reference numerals.

The protective means, realised according to the invention, to be installed on a road or motorway barrier to protect a motorcyclist in the event of an impact against said barrier consist of continuous protective elements, placed beneath the strip of the road (or motorway) barrier, which are adapted to continuously absorb the energy due to the impact.

What is meant by the term "continuous absorption" is that the energy due to an impact is absorbed by the protective elements along its entire length, rather than at certain points, as is the case in the previously described protective means of the prior art.

The protective elements preferably have, in section, two V-shaped parts opposite each other, joined by a substantially flat central part preferably at right angles to the road surface; the end portions of the protective element are preferably bent so as to be substantially parallel to the central part of said element.

Two adjacent protective elements are preferably connected to each other, at one of the supporting posts, by an element shaped like the central part of a protective element and pushed into the two adjacent protective elements and by a further plate fixed to the supporting post and to the bent terminal portions of the protective elements.

Without departing from the scope of the invention, the protective elements can consist of elements of soft, elastic material that are circular, square or rectangular in section.

Figure 1 shows diagrammatically a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a protective element 2 realised according to the invention, which has been designed to keep on the carriageway a motorcyclist who, for accidental reasons, slides on the road surface and to soften his/her impact against said barrier, avoiding harmful consequences for the motorcyclist's body.

As can be seen better in the side view of figure 2, the protective element 2 has, in section, two V-shaped parts (5, 6) opposite each other and joined by a substantially flat central part 7; the terminal portions 10 of the protective element 2 are preferably bent so as to be substantially parallel to the central part 7 and have holes (omitted in figures 1 and 2 for the sake of simplicity of the graphic representation) to receive means (consisting, in the embodiment shown in figure 4, of fixing bolts 13) adapted to fix thereto at least one plate 9 (Figure 3) which joins together two adjacent protective elements 2.

As shown in figure 3, when a protective element 2 is installed, the central part 7 thereof is preferably at right angles to the road surface.

The flat central part 7 of the protective element 2 advantageously has a longitudinal stiffening rib 7', consisting of a portion of the central part 7 recessed and parallel to the plane of said central part, which prevents the collapse of the central part 7 and the possible inward buckling thereof when it is impacted by a motorcyclist.

The protective elements 2 realised according to the invention are installed in the bottom part of the barrier 1 and are capable of continuously absorbing energy during the impact of the motorcyclist, since they have been designed to deform in an elastic-plastic manner during the impact and at the same time to maintain their shape, which allows the motorcyclist to be re-directed and prevents him/her from leaving the carriageway.

In this manner the motorcyclist is accompanied in his path of impact and a large part of the kinetic energy is absorbed by the protective element 2.

In fact, when the motorcyclist strikes the outside of a protective element 2, he/she causes the bending of the two V-shaped elements (5, 6) whereas the central part 7, possibly stiffened by the longitudinal rib 7', remains flat.

Figure 2 shows diagrammatically a side view of the protective elements 2 of figure 1 ; in Figure 2 the two opposite V-shaped parts (5, 6), the (substantially flat) central part 7 which joins the two V-shaped parts (5, 6) and the bent terminal portions 10 of the protective element 2 can be seen.

In figure 2, the direction of the impact of the motorcyclist is indicated by the arrow I.

Figure 3 shows diagrammatically, in an exploded view, two protective elements 2 joined together by an element 8 pushed into the two protective elements 2 and by least one plate 9, fixed to the bent terminal portions 10 of the protective elements 2 and to a supporting post 4 by means of fixing means consisting, in the embodiment shown in figure 4, of bolts 13 inserted into holes formed in the bent terminal elements 10 of the protective elements 2, in the plates 9 and in the supporting post 4.

The element 8 has a similar shape to that of the central part 7 of a protective element 2, but slightly enlarged to be pushed into the two adjacent protective elements 2.

The assembly system illustrated in Figure 3, comprising the element 8 and at least one plate 9, makes it possible to give continuity to the protective elements 2, to join them to the posts 4 of the barrier 1 and to install easily a barrier 1 comprising the protective elements 2 realised according to the invention even on routes with numerous bends, i.e. on those routes on which their installation is most useful, if not necessary.

Figure 4 show diagrammatically a side view of the assembly of Figure 3 assembled: visible in Figure 4 are the two V-shaped parts (5, 6) of the protective elements 2, opposite each other and joined to the substantially flat central part 7, which has the longitudinal stiffening rib 7'; the bent terminal portions 10 of the protective element 2; the element 8, shaped like the central part 7 of a protective element 2, which joins two adjacent protective elements 2 and the plates 9, fixed to the terminal portions 10 of the protective element 2 by means of the bolts 13.

The protective elements 2, realised according to the invention, to be installed on the barrier 1 , have the following innovative features: - they consist of modular elements preferably made of metal (but, without departing from the scope of the invention, they can be made of rubber or of other plastic or composite materials) having an open section which allows a continuous energy absorption during the impact of the motorcyclist with the protective means, as verified experimentally by the applicant. - the push-in joining of two adjacent protective elements 2 by means of the element 8 considerably facilitates the installation of the protective means;

- the joining of the protective elements 2 to the posts 4 by means of the plates 9 bolted to the bent portions 10 and the push-in joining of two adjacent protective elements 2 by means of the element 8 make it possible to avoid the presence of bolts (or of other joining means) which are (at least potentially) dangerous for the motorcyclist because they protrude from the surface of the barrier 1 facing towards the roadway,

- the adaptability of the protective means in continuously following bent portions of the roadside, which is ensured by the presence of the connecting plates 9,which are easily bendable at the point of joining to the post 4; - the adaptability of the protective means to any type of barrier 1 , due to the simplicity of their connection to the posts 4 of the barrier 1 and to their modularity, which makes it

possible to create protective elements 2 of different lengths according to the centre distance between the posts 4 of the barrier 1 whereon the protective elements 2 are to be installed;

- the shape of the section of the protective elements 2 increases their bending strength

5 and therefore increases their snow load strength (the protective elements 2, being installed on the lower part of the barrier 1 , are subjected to pressure in the event of snow clearing): this characteristic is particularly important for mountain roads, where snowfalls are more frequent and the need to install protective means for motorcyclists is felt strongly, given the frequency of accidents - often fatal - occurring on these roads;

I O - the energy absorption due to the plastic deformation of the central part 7 of the protective elements 2 makes the impact of the motorcyclist against the protective means particularly soft, reducing the possibility of physical injury especially in the parts most exposed to trauma, such as the neck, the chest and/or the spine.

15 Without departing from the scope of the invention, a person skilled in the art can make to the protective means for a road (or motorway) barrier previously described all the modifications and improvements suggested by normal experience and/or by the natural evolution of the art.