WHAT ARE BULL BARS USED FOR? Are bull bars on cars safety gear or a deadly fashion statement? There is no case for fitting bull bars to 4x4 SUV vehicles if the primary driving use is not going off road.
Bull bars have been proven to be dangerous to pedestrians in particular. So, should the United Kingdom ban 4x4 bull bars by law?
The UK parliament and the EEC - discuss road safety issues and the use of bull bars. RoSPA also has strong feelings on the safety aspects of bull bars fitted to 4x4 and SUV vehicles.
The European Safety Council estimates 2,000 people (pedestrians) die and 18,000 serious injuries get caused every year in Europe because of bullbars.
Yet in Britain, more than 600,000 vehicles have them. That is despite being little more than fashion accessories and not connected with 4x4 safety in any way.
Research shows it makes them more likely to injure pedestrians in collisions than if the vehicle was not fitted with a bull bar. The Department for Transport acknowledges that the majority of bull bars fitted are of specific shape and hardness.
In fact, one consultation document said: "The Government believes action is needed against aggressive bull bars."
Work in the European Parliament resulted in the car industry volunteering to stop fitting bull bars as original equipment on new cars.
There is also a proposal for a new directive, which would make this a legislative ban. It would also cover bull bars supplied as independent accessories and gear items for the after-sales market.
But, the Government could take action now in Britain and not wait on decisions within Europe.
RoSPA is the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. They had some important comments to say about bull bars fitted to on road vehicles.
"In the majority of cases, bull bars are an unnecessary addition to road-going vehicles. RoSPA has concerns that bull bars fitted to the front of a vehicle are likely to increase the severity of injuries sustained by a struck pedestrian.
Manufacturers should not fit bull bars to road-going motor vehicles. The government should take steps not to issue 'Vehicle Type Approval' to those that have them fitted.
A small number of exemptions could be afforded for vehicles used entirely off-road. It would be cases with a clear need for the protection of bull bars from rough terrain or animals. But, the retro-fitment of bull bars on road-going vehicles should get banned.
The Society accepts that plastic bull bars (protective devices) may be less damaging to people hit by vehicles. But, this type of device is only condoned because the design of motor vehicles, especially flat-fronted ones, is poor. This area needs improvement to become more pedestrian friendly."
There is another side to the argument about off road bull bar safety. They can prevent serious injury to vehicle occupants in the event of a collision.
A sturdy off road bull bar fitted to my small 4x4 off road car was a blessing. We came off the road and smashed into a tree-lined drainage ditch. Without a bull bar the vehicle would have sustained a lot more damage. And so would the driver and passengers!