Bull bar case `puts kibosh' on fad

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The Independent Online
A DRIVER has been fined in Manchester for fitting home-made bull bars to his car. The prosecution was brought after a policeman saw the Independent on Sunday's campaign warning of their danger.

Jan Olejniczak was fined £110 and received three points on his licence by Manchester City magistrates for driving his Morris Marina "in a dangerous condition". Mr Olejniczak said that he had fitted them because they gave the car an "aesthetically better"appearance. It is believed to be the first successful prosecution of a motorist for having bull bars and may lead to many others.

Bull bars, also known as "roo bars" or "nudge bars" are being fitted to a growing number of cars to avoid damage in minor accidents. However, research by safety experts in Germany has suggested that when fitted to front of vehicles, they pose an added risk to pedestrians and could kill children in accidents at speeds as low as 10mph.

Their dangers were first highlighted in the Independent on Sunday. The Government later announced that further research into their risks was being commissioned.

The RAC, which has also campaigned against them, has demanded a ban. Edmund King, its campaigns manager, said: "We welcome this prosecution. It is about time that motorists realise that this fad is dangerous and serves no purpose."

He said insurance companies were becoming wary of vehicles with the bars. "The days of Sloane Rangers in Chelsea with four-by-fours with bull bars may be numbered," he added.

The Norwich Union, one of the country's leading insurers, said that while they may be justified for farmers' vehicles, they posed a risk in towns. A spokesman said: "It is now an option for us to decline to insure a vehicle which has been modified with abull bar and is to be used in an inappropriate area."