Motorcyclist protection systems in Portugal are covered by law 33/2004 of July 28th, 2004 on the “Placement of Crash Barrier Protections on public roads, whether or not comprised in the national road network, envisaging the safety of two wheeled vehicles”. It states that all crash barriers should “include a safety perspective for two wheeled vehicles, especially in black spots”.
The technical requirements of the MPS to be installed are outlined by government regulations; which currently mandate the use of systems compliant with the Spanish UNE135900:2008 standard.
The MPS must be placed on all roads wherever necessary, but especially:
- in curves with a radius under the normal minimum value;
- in curves with no superelevation or inferior to the mandatory values;
- in small radius curves with a high downward gradient (> 4%);
- in consecutive circular curves in the same direction with a decreasing radius;
- in cloverleaf junctions and other small radius intersections and on-ramps;
- at entry points at intersections;
- in zones prone to skidding or icing.
The law foresaw the installation of MPS in these areas by 2007. In addition, crash barriers in non-urban areas must be replaced wherever possible by obstacle-free shoulders. The list of black spots is established by authorities or companies in charge of road maintenance, and is maintained by the Portuguese Road Safety Body. MPS, replacing or upgrading existing guardrails, must be installed within one year once they have been added to the list.
Non-compliance with the provisions of the law can give rise to civil and criminal liability for injuries sustained by road users.