A set of high-tech roadside bollards may have saved a man’s life after a horrific crash in Buninyong last weekend.
Late Sunday night, a man came off the road on Warrenheip Street at the Midland Highway roundabout, with his car mounting the kerb and flipping off a bollard.
The car, on its side, hit a veranda pole - miraculously, he was able to get out of the car, which was destroyed.
No one else was hurt, and apart from some minor damage to a garden wall, no buildings were destroyed.
While police are continuing to investigate the crash, a road safety engineer, from Mount Pleasant, said the bollards installed by VicRoads and the City of Ballarat would have saved the man’s life.
“There’s no doubt,” Rick Mckie, from Energy Absorbing Systems.
“This is fantastic that they’ve done this here, it’s well over $100,000, but it’s saved someone’s life.”
The bollards' foundations go underground for about a metre.
Developed in South Australia, the technology is simple - a replaceable steel cartridge inside is able to collapse after impact, which absorbs the kinetic energy of a crash.
The energy is sent down to the foundations, the cartridge collapses, and the bollard is able to move - thus the car doesn’t end up hitting a solid metal structure.
“It gets the G-forces under 20 - at that point, the occupants can survive,” Mr Mckie said.
“Generally, the impact into a rigid pole at 60kph has G-forces at about 60Gs, and usually, organs start to separate and there’s pretty serious damage.”
Mr Mckie said the bollards were rated for 60kph, but the company was testing up to 100kph.
He added it’s likely every bollard people see has this kind of technology built in, under the surface - an example of clever, practical design in mundane objects.
“It’s designed for al fresco dining - you’ve got people sitting on footpaths and cars belting along, there’s not much to get an errant vehicle to take out a dozen people at a time sitting at a restaurant,” he explained.
“At tram stops right through Melbourne, there’s hundreds of them.”