Sue over bull bars, accident victims told

Sydney Morning Herald

Tuesday 22 May 2001
By Allison Jackson

Victims of car accidents should sue drivers of vehicles fitted with illegal bull bars, the pedestrian watchdog has said.
The chairman of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, Mr Harold Scruby, said 90 per cent of bull bars breached the Australian Design Rules and were responsible for 20 per cent of pedestrian deaths each year.

``I would urge any person who has ever been struck by a bull bar to get in touch with us or their lawyers because I can assure you that 90 per cent of the bull bars today are illegal.

``It's only a matter of time before people who have bull bars are going to be sued for a lot of money. That will also include the people who fit the bull bars, who manufacture the bull bars and, perhaps in the future, those who approve the bull bars being fitted."

His comments followed the death of a 64-year-old woman at the weekend after she was struck by a four-wheel-drive vehicle fitted with a bull bar while crossing Forest Road, Penshurst, in Sydney's south-west.

An ambulance spokeswoman said the woman suffered severe chest injuries and was taken to St George Hospital, where she died.

Mr Scruby said the Roads and Traffic Authority would introduce a new standard for the design of bull bars this year.

Under the new system, bull bars will have to be rounded and will not be allowed to protrude past the profile of the vehicle.

`I'm encouraging [law firms] to get involved in this because it's the only way we are going to get them [bull bars] off cars," Mr Scruby said.

In an accident, Mr Scruby said, bull bars could interfere with the deployment of air bags, seat belts and crumple zone, and penetrate the side of a vehicle ``like a can opener".

``Bull bars are a fad, and in most cases they protect nothing more than the radiator."