Title:
BARRIER SAFETY SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A barrier safety system (3) for supporting a barrier rail (1) between a pair of frangible upright posts (2) includes a pair of pins (8) insertable in respective sockets (4) in the posts, the pins each having a weakened portion designed to break upon the application of a vertically downward load onto the barrier rail within or above a predetermined range. In one embodiment stop members (10) are provided to vary the distance the support pin may be inserted into the socket for accommodating different sizes of barriers, to thereby ensure that similar leverage is applied to the weakened portion by different sized barrier rails such that they all break the pin when a similar load has been applied to the top of the barrier rail. In another, preferred, embodiment the weakened portion is in the form of a generally ‘V’-shaped notch (9a) providing a sharply defined fracture point for the pin when under load.



Inventors:
Seel, Robin Edward (Malmesbury, GB)
Application Number:
12/102497
Publication Date:
09/04/2008
Filing Date:
04/14/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
256/65.01, 256/65.02
International Classes:
E04H17/00; A63K3/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MACARTHUR, VICTOR L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KING & SCHICKLI, PLLC (LEXINGTON, KY, US)
Claims:
1. An equestrian barrier safety system, comprising: a barrier rail for being supported in a generally horizontal condition by spaced upright barrier members; a pair of barrier rail support pins on top of which the barrier rail is horizontally restable in use at a resting area, each pin including a weakened portion at which the pin will break when subjected to downward load transmitted by the barrier rail; a complementary pair of sockets, each for receiving one of the pins, said sockets being receivable horizontally by the respective upright barrier member in use; and adjustable stop members for inserting the barrier rail support pins into the respective socket to a selectable depth, the depth being predetermined to provide a variable horizontal distance between the weakened portion and the resting area of the barrier rail to suit the diameter and weight of the barrier rail intended to be supported by the pins, whereby the adjustable stop members provide an adjustably positionable breaking point of each pin to enable different leverage to be applied to the weakened portion by different diameter barrier rails, such that the pins may break when the same or a similar load has been applied to the top of the barrier rail.

2. An equestrian barrier safety system according to claim 1 wherein the weakened portion includes a waist region.

3. An equestrian barrier safety system according to claim 1 wherein the weakened portion includes a generally ‘V’-shaped notch defining a generally sharp fracture point for the pin when under load.

4. An equestrian barrier safety system according to claim 1 wherein the stop members comprise stop pins receivable in respective bores in the support pin substantially at right angles to the major axis thereof.

5. An equestrian barrier safety system according to claim 1 wherein each support pin is made of a substantially non-ductile material.

6. An equestrian barrier safety system according to claim 5 wherein the substantially non-ductile material is aluminum alloy.

7. An equestrian barrier safety system according to claim 1 wherein the socket for each pin is in the form of a circular tube for receiving a respective support pin, and a flange is provided in the form of a plate adapted to be secured to one of said upright barrier members.

8. An equestrian barrier safety system according to claim 7 wherein the flange includes apertures for securing the flange to the upright barrier member by connectors.

9. An equestrian barrier safety system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the barrier rail has a diameter of about 150-300 mm.

10. An equestrian barrier comprising a pair of upright barrier members, at least one generally horizontal barrier rail and a safety system for breakably supporting the rail on the upright members, the safety system comprising: a pair of barrier rail support pins on top of which the barrier rail rests at a resting area, each pin including a weakened portion at which the pin will break when subjected to downward load transmitted by the barrier rail; a complementary pair of sockets, each for receiving one of the pins, said sockets held horizontally by the respective barrier upright members; and adjustable stop members for inserting the pins into the socket to a selectable depth, the depth being predetermined to provide a variable horizontal distance between the weakened portion and the resting area of the barrier rail to suit the diameter and weight of the barrier rail intended to be supported by the pins, whereby an adjustably positionable breaking point may be provided by each pin to enable different leverage to be applied to the weakened portion by different diameter barrier rails, such that they all break the pin when the same or a similar load has been applied to the top of the barrier rail.

11. An equestrian barrier safety system according to claim 10, wherein the socket for each pin is in the form of a circular tube for receiving a respective support pin, and a flange is provided in the form of a plate adapted to be secured to one of the upright barrier members.

12. A safety system for an equestrian barrier comprising a pair of upright barrier members and at least one barrier rail, the safety system comprising: means for supporting the barrier rail in a generally horizontal condition; means for releasing the support means when said barrier rail is subjected to a sufficient downward load; and means for adjusting the releasing means to suit the diameter and weight of the barrier rail supported by the supporting means.

13. The barrier of claim 12, wherein the supporting means comprises: a pair of barrier rail support pins on top of which the barrier rail is horizontally restable in use at a resting area; and a complementary pair of sockets, each for receiving one of the pins, each of said sockets being receivable horizontally by the respective upright barrier member in use.

14. The barrier of claim 13, wherein the releasing means comprises: a weakened portion provided on each pin at which the pin will break when subjected to downward load transmitted by the barrier rail.

15. The barrier of claim 14, wherein the adjusting means comprises adjustable stop members for inserting the barrier rail support pins into the respective socket to a selectable depth, the depth being predetermined to provide a variable horizontal distance between the weakened portion and the resting area of the barrier rail.

16. An equestrian barrier safety system according to claim 13, wherein the socket for each pin is in the form of a circular tube, and a flange is provided in the form of a plate adapted to be secured to each upright barrier member.

17. A method of supporting an equestrian barrier rail from a pair of upright barrier members, comprising: positioning a socket horizontally on each upright barrier member; positioning a barrier rail support pin in each socket, each said pin having a weakened portion at which the pin breaks when subjected to downward load of sufficient force; and horizontally resting the equestrian barrier rail on a resting area on the pins.

18. The method of claim 17, further comprising the step of: selecting a predetermined depth at which the horizontal distance between the weakened portion and the resting area suits the diameter and weight of the barrier rail.

19. The method of claim 18, further comprising the step of: adjusting a stop member to provide the predetermined depth.

20. The method of claim 17, further including the step of placing the equestrian barrier rail on the support pins.

Description:

This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/494,199, filed Apr. 29, 2004, which is the national stage of international application Serial No. PCT/GB2002/04901, filed Oct. 30, 2002, which claims priority to UK Application No. 0126314.4, filed Nov. 2, 2001, the disclosures of which are all incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to barrier safety systems for use typically, but not exclusively, in equestrian eventing.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In equestrian eventing and similar activities a horse and rider have to negotiate barriers which may typically be comprised of logs of wood or barriers of corresponding shape made of synthetic materials such as plastics and glass fibre composite. In each case, the barrier has to be sufficiently strong to withstand the shock of impact by a horse without breaking, even if the barrier is mounted in such a way that a collision into it by a horse and rider would not normally dislodge or break it. This presents a problem as a potential safety hazard for, in particular, the rider. Several fatalities have occurred by horses not negotiating such barriers successfully, when the rider is catapulted forwards and the horse then rolls over the barrier onto the rider. Although it would be possible to alleviate this hazard by the use of lightweight, bendable or breakable barriers, this is deemed to considerably lessen the natural thrill of eventing.

This problem is exacerbated by the lack of uniformity of many of the materials used for such barriers and support posts etc. For example, if such are made from wood by cutting down trees and branches etc the barrier itself will have a natural taper and, depending upon the wood from which it is made and e.g. support posts used therewith, the stiffness and hardness of the wood provide inherent variables. Another problem is that these barriers can be of widely varying diameters, typically between 150 mm and 300 mm, so that it is difficult to adopt any common standard in the event that safety features are to be adopted which would prevent or inhibit the injury of riders in such circumstances.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is derived from the realisation that it would be advantageous to have a barrier safety system which retains the thrill of eventing and other similar activities but which provides for the barrier to be removed as an obstacle upon the application of a vertically downward load within or above a given range, even though a variety of different types and sizes of barrier rails are used.

According to the invention there is provided a barrier safety system for supporting a generally horizontally disposed barrier rail of generally circular section between a pair of generally vertically disposed upright members, such as posts, the system comprising a pair of sockets, one for each upright member and a pair of barrier rail support pins, one for each socket, each support pin being insertable at one end into a respective socket and including near to that end a weakened portion, at which point the support pin will break upon the application of a vertically downward load onto the barrier rail within or above a desired range of loads.

Conveniently, the weakened portion of the support pin for each socket comprises a waist region which is designed to break if a vertically downward load is applied to the pin within or above a given range, such as between 6 kN and 7.5 kN and above.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention one or more stop members are provided between the weakened portion and the socket to vary the distance the support pin may be inserted into the socket so as to accommodate different sizes of barrier rails. This ensures that similar bending moments and hence leverages apply to the weakened portion even though, barrier rails of different diameters are used, such that they all break the pin when the same or a similar load has been applied to the top of the barrier rail by e.g. a horse falling onto it.

This has the advantage in that by being able to adjust the distance by which each support pin extends out of its respective socket it is possible to easily and quickly compensate for different diameters of barrier rail so that, effectively, the distance between the weakened portion of the support pin and the point of contact with the bottom of the barrier rail and the support pin can compensate for what otherwise would be an increase in the leverage available to break the support pin by a barrier rail of relatively large diameter as compared to one of a smaller diameter, and vice versa. In this way breakage of the pin is more likely to occur within the desired range irrespective of whether a barrier rail of relatively large diameter, say 250 mm, is being used instead of a barrier rail of, say, 170 mm diameter.

Conveniently, the stop members comprise stop pins receivable in respective bores in the support pin for each socket, the bores being substantially at right angles to the major axis thereof.

Each support pin is preferably made of a substantially non-ductile material, such that energy is not absorbed by plastic bending of the pin, but that the pin snaps when the desired load limit is reached. It has been found that a suitable material is an aluminium alloy ref 6061T6 made in accordance with BS 8118 Part 1 has the necessary properties, this alloy being composed of aluminium alloyed with 0.69% silicon, 0.41% iron, 0.22% copper, 0.05% manganese, 0.90% magnesium, 0.15% chromium, 0.011% titanium and 0.01% zinc.

Conveniently, the socket for each pin is in the form of a tube for receiving a respective support pin, and a flange may be provided at one end thereof, the flange being in the form of a large plate adapted to be secured to an upright member, which may be a wooden post. The flange plate may conveniently include apertures for securing it to an upright member, e.g. by bolts etc.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention each pin is provided with a marker to assist in setting the pin within a respective socket to the correct distance relative to the diameter of the barrier rail, the marker being aligned vertically below the Centre of the barrier rail. In addition, the weakened portion of the pin is provided by means of a sharp, radially disposed, “vee”-shaped notch, thereby providing a correspondingly sharp fracture point.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows in part section a barrier safety system according to a first embodiment of the invention, and

FIG. 2 shows in part section a barrier safety system according to a second embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring firstly to FIG. 1, a barrier safety system for supporting one end of a barrier rail 1 (shown partially in broken outline) is supported on an upright member in the form of a wooden post 2 (only part of which is shown), the other end of the barrier 1 being supported in the same manner on another upright post.

The barrier safety system shown generally at 3 includes on this end of the barrier 1a socket 4 having an integral flange 5 including apertures (not shown) through which respective bolts 6 and 7 can secure the socket 4 to the post 2, the relatively large size of the flange 5 helping to stabilise the positioning of the socket 4 within the post 2 and therefore helping to prevent or inhibit any movement thereof.

The barrier safety system 3 also includes an elongated generally circular support pin 8 made of a substantially non-ductile material such as aluminium alloy (BS ref. 6061T6) and includes a weakened portion 9 in the form of a waist which, as is explained in further detail later, is designed to fracture upon the imposition of a vertically downward load onto the pin 8 at, in this example, the point of contact ‘A’ of the barrier rail 1 with the pin 8.

The pin 8 is secured in its selected position by means of a stop pin 10 which is slidingly received in staple 11 fixed to the flange 5, and through a correspondingly shaped bore 12 through the support pin 8, there being two other bores 13, 14 through which the stop pin 10 may also be inserted if preferred.

In the position illustrated, it will be appreciated that a vertically downward load acting at the point of contact “A” from the barrier rail 1 to the support pin 8 will induce a turning moment or leverage effect around the weakened portion 9. In tests using a 250 mm diameter barrier rail 1 where the diameter of the support pin 8 was 30 mm, the weakened portion 9 having a 26 mm diameter and being positioned 45 mm from the major plane of the flange 5, failure of the support pin 8 at the weakened portion 9 occurred with a vertically downward load of 6.09 kN.

Using a barrier rail 1 having a diameter of 200 mm and inserting the support pin 8 into the socket 4 up to the point when the stop pin 10 can be inserted into the bore 13 and into the staple 11, this being approximately 30 mm from the major plane of the flanges, where the point of contact of the barrier rail 1 with the support pin 8 would then occur at point ‘B’ (relative to the flange 5), it was found that the support pin 8 failed at the weakened portion 9 under a failure load of 6.90 kN. Similarly, using a barrier rail 1 of only 180 mm diameter and sliding the support pin 8 further into the socket 4 up to the point where the stop pin 10 can be inserted into the bore 14 and the staple 1, this being approximately 15 mm from the weakened portion 9, it was found that a load applied at position C representing the point of contact of the barrier rail 1 with the support pin 8, a vertically downward load of 6.47 kN produced failure of the support pin 8 at the weakened portion 9.

Hence, in this embodiment, it will be apparent that by compensating for what would otherwise be significantly different turning moments about the weakened portion 9 through the use of barrier rails of different diameters, it is possible to provide a barrier safety system for use with a range of barriers of different diameters using the same support pins 8, suitably adjusted as to depth of entry into the respective sockets 4, in which failure of support pin 8 can be expected above a given threshold.

Through the use of a relatively large flange 5, which essentially stabilises the position of the socket 4, and the use of a substantially non-ductile material for the support pin 8, substantially all of the energy from the vertically downward load imposed by, typically, a horse landing on top of the barrier rail 1 can be focused on the weakened portion 9 of the support pin 8, irrespective of the diameter and weight of the barrier rail 1 such that even if it is made out of relatively lightweight materials, such as tubular aluminium, it will still provide the same end result i.e. a failure of one or both the support pins 8.

Referring now to FIG. 2, this shows a second, preferred, embodiment of barrier safety system shown generally at 3a in which the socket 4a is in the form of a thickened tube, part of which is shown in section for clarity. In tests it has been found that very satisfactory results can be obtained by the use of such a relatively thick walled socket which dispenses with the need for the flange 5 of FIG. 1 and also makes it easier to fit it within the post 2, by simply driving it into a suitably sized bore.

The pin 8a in this embodiment of the invention also includes a weakened portion in the form of a radially disposed “vee”-shaped notch 9a which provides a more sharply defined fracture point than the waist 9 of FIG. 1. In addition, in order to assist in locating the correct depth within the socket 4a the pin 8a must be inserted, a marker in the form of a radially disposed groove 15 is provided. This allows a person setting up the safety barrier system to insert the pin 8a into the socket 4a, offer up the barrier rail 1 to the post 2 and then to adjust the depth of insertion of the pin 8a so that the marker 15 lies immediately beneath the centre of the rail 1, at which point a stop member in the form of a pin (not shown) is inserted into one of the bores 12, 13 or 14, the choice of which being dictated by the diameter of the barrier rail 1 which, in the case of that shown in FIG. 2, is bore 14. However, as will be apparent, in the event of the barrier rail 1 being of a larger diameter, the pin 8a and hence marker 15 would need to be moved to the right, thereby exposing, progressively, bore 13 and, for the largest diameter barrier rail 1 bore 12. In this embodiment, a stop member in the form of a stop pin (not shown) is inserted into a bore 16 in one side of the socket 4a and, following alignment with a respective bore 12, 13 or 14 in the barrier rail support pin 8a, is then inserted into a second bore 17 on the other side of the socket 4a to complete the assembly, thereby preventing the support pin 8a from accidentally moving in either axial direction and thus ensuring that the fracture point provided by the notch 9a remains a constant distance from the point of contact with the barrier rail 1.

Although two embodiments of the invention have been shown, in both of which the bores 12, 13 and 14 into which correspondingly shaped stop members may be inserted to adjust the effective length by which the support pins project from their respective sockets, nevertheless it will be apparent that other means of achieving this objective may be adopted without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Similarly, although pins and respective sockets are preferably circular in cross-section it will be understood that other shapes may be adopted as may also other forms of weakened portions for the pins, again without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.