Media Release

Ban all bullbars now

Monday 24 February 1997
The Chairman and CEO of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, called on all state and territory governments to immediately ban bullbars throughout the nation.

Mr Scruby said: "Bullbars are causing at least an extra 14% of pedestrian deaths on our roads each year (data from the Federal Office of Road Safety). They are nothing but a fashion fad with little if any useful purpose. There is a Spartacus Syndrome amongst many owners of these modern day chariots, most of whom are oblivious to the potential risks, not only to the lives and limbs of pedestrians, but to their own safety. Vehicle manufactures are continuing to improve the design of vehicles to make them safer for motorists and pedestrians. The fitting of a bullbar simply nullifies the effects of these improvements. With the national road toll for January 1997 up 18.3% over January 1996, Mr Scruby called for urgent action.

Mr Scruby made the following points:

* Bullbars significantly increase the likelihood of death and injury to pedestrians. The Federal Office of Road Safety estimates that in 1992, 14% of pedestrian deaths could be attributed to bullbars. This is approximately 1 death per week.

* Drivers and passengers are at greater risk of death or injury in motor vehicle crashes when struck by a vehicle fitted with a bullbar, especially in side-intrusion crashes.

* Drivers of vehicles fitted with bullbars increase the risk of death and injury to themselves and their passengers because bullbars reduce the life-saving effect of the crumple-zones which are built in to all modern vehicles.

* Bullbars are already illegal: Australian Design Rule 42.9.1 "No vehicle shall be equipped with any object or fitting, not technically essential which protrudes from any part of the vehicle so that it is likely to increase the risk of bodily injury to any person". Therefore state and territory governments have the power and duty to refuse to register any vehicle not complying with this rule.

* It is only a matter of time before the legal fraternity discovers the enormous number of potential defendants in damages claims. Owners of vehicles fitted with bullbars leave themselves wide open to financial liability and culpability if it can be shown that the death or injury of another person was a result of a bullbar being fitted to a vehicle in contravention of ADR 42.9.1.

* Recent low-speed simulated crash tests reveal that vehicles fitted with bullbars are significantly more expensive to repair.

* Vehicles fitted with bullbars have the potential to alter the air-bag triggering mechanism in vehicles fitted with air-bags.

* Apart from the grief, pain and suffering, it is estimated that every death on our roads costs approximately $700,000 and every serious injury approximately $100,000.

Mr Scruby said: "There is now a wealth of research material undertaken both in Australia and overseas, particularly the UK, that bullbars on any vehicle are a serious health hazard. The PCA calls upon all state and territory governments to urgently comply with ADR 42.9.1 and refuse to register any vehicle fitted with a bullbar."

"Additionally, we call upon all insurers to substantially increase insurance premiums (Third Party and Property) for any vehicle fitted with a bullbar as it is totally iniquitous that the rest of the motoring and pedestrian community should be subsidising this deadly fashion fad."