Not safe enough

Around a year and a half ago, two students at my Monday-to-Thursday school died tragically when they were struck by a vehicle while walking home.

I’m not sure if the kids had wandered out onto the road, the vehicle had veered onto the sidewalk, or if it was a bit of both.

Either way, the school erected more safety fences around the vicinity of the school.

It is true these safety fences do offer a modicum of protection insofar as they prevent people from walking onto the road. However, that is the only protection they offer.

A typical safety fence

                                                                                         click for full size

Today, upon arrival at my Friday school, I noticed that the safety fence had been breached by a vehicle.

I had always thought the fences look weak and inadequate, and today there was proof.

Earlier, these fence posts were flat on the ground. Here, they have been removed to the other side of the road as repairmen replaced the destroyed section of safety fence. Note they are bent at right angles and are hollow. The green one has been ripped open. I seriously doubt they are a match against a car even at low speed.

The crash site

There is little more than a metre between that safety fence and the concrete wall of the house. In some areas, there is room to get out of the way, but in others there is not. This area is one of those others.

Note the two pins sticking out of the bottom of the fence. These are to be planted in the conctrete seemingly to better secure the fence. These two short, weak pins are obviously totally inadequte but do imply this fence is supposed help to stop a vehicle impact. I just checked with another worker, and yes, people are told by the local government that the fences are in place to stop cars getting onto the sidewalk.

As we can see with the above photos, these fences don’t even come close to doing what people have been told they do.

Someone with a good kick could probably do that as they are made from just sheet metal.

So we’ve seen that the hollow, sheet metal fence posts are completely inadequate, and that the pins used to embed the fence in the concrete are also inadequate.

To add issult to injury, the above photo shows one of the two small screws that attach the fence to the flimsy fence post. I double-checked with another worker, and it was confirmed the local government is telling people these “safety” fences are there to prevent cars crashing and/or veering onto the sidewalk.

Obviously, this can not possibly be the case.

So, what’s it going to take for proper safety fences/guard rails to be installed around the schools?

One more dead student?


I’m going to have this report translated and sent in to the local government office, and then await their response.

If it’s as weak as those fences, maybe the local media could help persuade them.


The pins on the fence don’t even go all the way into the ground. I was able to dig away some dirt with my finger before finally hitting concrete.

I’m going to have to check myself with the local office if they claim the school safety fences are there to stop cars. On the way home; something more like it.

Regardless, I showed the students the photos today and warned them to keep their eyes and ears focused; don’t think you’re protected because of that fence. I’ll be doing the same at my other school next week, too.

  1. Hi,
    Besides looking decorative, they don’t seem to be very protective, it seems if a car or truck hit them they would just fall over anyway, I suppose it’s more to do with the school having some sort of response more than anything else.

    • Local councils put them up, not individual schools.

    • elsie
    • June 25th, 2011

    That is really so sad, But are Korean drivers better than Chinese people? Last time I was in China I felt like getting myself a T-shirt with “I crossed the road in Beijing and survived” written on it.

    • elsie
    • June 25th, 2011

    Also meant to say the fences look like something Julia arranged for the BER!

    • Winston Smith
    • June 26th, 2011

    Typical of bureaucracies everywhere. It’s about the ‘seeming,’ not the ‘doing’.

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