Mobility and transport

Vehicle design of crash opponents

The opinions expressed in the studies are those of the consultant and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.

Vehicle design of crash opponents

Injuries to cyclists and pedestrians can be reduced by better design of cars and heavy vehicles. Design measures include crash-friendly car fronts, and side-underrun protection on lorries [60].

Attention to the development of crash-friendly car fronts takes place at the European level. It is a step in the right direction that current test requirements for crash-friendly car fronts take into account the points of the body where pedestrians hit cars. However, the test requirements are not as comprehensive as they could be [21], and they do not take sufficient account of cyclists. In a crash, cyclists hit at a different place on a car front than pedestrians do. Tightening up the test requirements is therefore desirable [44].

Lorries could be made much safer for third parties by the application of adequate protection around the vehicle. Such protection prevents the dangerous underrun of, for instance, cyclists and other two-wheeled vehicles. In 35-50% of the crashes between heavy goods vehicles and two-wheelers, injury severity can be limited by side-underrun protection. Moreover, this facility prevents a road user involved in the collision still being run over. The number of traffic fatalities in urban areas due to crashes of this type could be reduced by 10% [25]. For moped riders, cyclists and pedestrians, closed side-underrun protection on lorries is more effective than open protection. Both open and closed side-underrun protection appear in the top ten of relevant and cost-effective measures to reduce the number of casualties as a result of crashes involving lorries [29] (see PROMISING [40] for a cost-benefit analysis).