Motorcyclists warn other bikers of cable barriers

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Cable barriers like those installed on Highway 63 in Jonesboro have been put up across the state. It's a safety measure that is continuing to push across the US.

They're meant to keep vehicles and semi-trucks from crossing the median and going head-on into oncoming traffic. The Arkansas Highway and Transpiration Department has said in their "Toward Zero Death" campaign that they plan to continue installing cable barriers across the state.

While it's a life-saver for some, others call it a death wish.

"They're nothing to laugh at. I mean, they're designed to keep big trucks and cars out of oncoming traffic...and that's what they do," Eric Turman told Region 8 News.

Turman is the District 2 President and State Chairman of Arkansas Bikers Aiming Towards Education or ABATE.

While they're still warning others to put down the phones, look twice and save a life, Turman said they're now warning bikers to be extra cautious as well.

"Us motorcyclists call those cheese graters," Turman said in regards to cable barriers. "'Cause when you hit one of those on a motorcycle, you're gonna rip skin."

Or worse.

"Probably 9 times out of 10, if you hit one on a motorcycle, you're not going to make it," Turman said.

Already, that's been the case here in Arkansas.

"There's been...I know of four in Northeast Arkansas, or in Arkansas now that's died because of hitting that median."

Three of those fatalities happened just this month. According to fatality reports from Arkansas State Police, three bikers have died as a result of losing control and striking cable barriers.

"They're going up whether we like it or not because it's the cheapest form of saving people from coming across the lane," Turman said.

While at some point, Turman said he would like to see concrete barriers replace cable barriers, he said their goal right now is to inform motorcyclists of the dangers cable barriers pose to riders.

"If you're going down the interstate or the bypasses that have 'em on it, just stay away from them and slow down. They're not there for us...they're not there to protect us, they're going to wind up killing us."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has links on their website of studies conducted overseas on motorcyclists and cable barriers. In part, it states serious injury would occur to riders regardless of speed an impact angle.

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