Project: Assessment and Test Procedures for Bull Bars

Reference: S071M/VF

Last update: 05/09/2003 12:54:08


The project objectives are to:

* determine the test procedure which should be used to assess the aggressiveness of bull bars;
* provide information on the aggressiveness of a range of bull bars; and
* assess the effectiveness of measures to reduce their aggressiveness.


This project measured the aggressiveness to vulnerable road users of a range of bull bars and the vehicles to which they are typically fitted. The test procedures used to assess the bull bars and vehicles were based upon those developed for the draft proposal for a pedestrian protection Directive with minor modifications to reflect the different construction of bull bars. The main objective was to determine a test procedure suitable for regulating the aggressiveness of new bull bars. The feasibility of developing guidelines for a visual examination that could accurately estimate the aggressiveness of bull bars was also considered.

The steel bull bars tested have been shown to have a high risk of causing serious and life threatening injuries in impacts with the heads of children and the abdomen and chest of adults and taller children, whereas the plastic bull bars tested were found to be comparatively safe. The base vehicles tested, of the type to which these products are usually fitted, were also found to be aggressive, but far less so than the steel bull bars. Most styles of bull bars were found to cause concentrated contact forces on the pedestrian. This, combined with considerations of bull bar designs, led to the conclusion that, to be effective, a standard would have to test the bull bar at a higher speed than the 'safe' speed of the base vehicle.


TRL Limited
Crowthorne House, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3GA
+44 (0)1344 773131

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £217,000.00

Actual start date: 01 October 1998

Actual completion date: 31 May 2000


Report No. 460. Assessment and Test Procedures for Bull Bars
Author: TRL Ltd.
Publication date: 01/05/2000
Source: Contact:
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Summary of results

  1. The research was successful in that it proposed test methods, and identified difficulties and risks of the various approaches.