When it comes to road safety, the overall benefits of some measures are both obvious and supported by research. The potential for bruising or other minor injuries from a seatbelt in a crash is far outweighed, for example, by the seatbelt’s ability to stop vehicle occupants heavily impacting the steering wheel or windscreen. Airbags could fit into the same category. When it comes to the benefits, or otherwise, of fitting bull or roo bars to vehicles, the net benefit-loss equation is not so clear.

Many drivers and fleet managers who install bars on the front of vehicles believe it will prevent vehicle damage in collisions with animals, and protect the driver or passenger by preventing the animal flying through the windscreen.

For companies who work in regional and remote areas, where animal strikes are more likely, there may be operational reasons that make bull or roo bars a rational choice. But there is little data to show if animal collisions are common enough to warrant fitting bars.

So, we asked a road safety expert…

Dr David Logan, an expert in vehicle and crash dynamics from the Monash University Accident Research Centre, says it is possible bull or roo bars may prevent animals going up on the vehicle bonnet and through the windscreen, injuring vehicle occupants, but this has not yet been quantified. “My understanding of how these bars work is they are most effective for pushing animals out of the way at very low speed – walking pace,” David said. “But if you hit an animal at highway speeds, whether it be a kangaroo or a cow, a bull or roo bar is not going to make a scrap of difference. “You’re still going to have enough damage to the vehicle that it’s going to need to be repaired and may be written off as well. There’s no way you can add a sufficiently strong structure that you can hit something anywhere from 20kg up to 200kg and not damage the vehicle. The bar would need to be sitting half a metre to a metre in front of the vehicle.”

Download the full Thought Leadership piece below.

Read our Blog on Bull and Roo Bars here.