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Steel ropes against trucks: How the Bonn Christmas Market is protected from terrorist attacks

Steel ropes against trucks : How the Bonn Christmas Market is protected from terrorist attacks

A special concrete construction with ropes is intended to protect the Bonn Christmas Market from terrorist attacks by trucks better than any other systems. This innovation will be used on the extension of Budapester Strasse.

With new protective measures this year, the City’s „Ordnungsamt“ (public order office) wants to make an attack on the Bonn Christmas Market impossible. Two concrete columns connected by steel cables block the extension of Budapester Straße.

Since the attack on the Breitscheid-Platz in Berlin three years ago, the public order office - like the administrations of many other large cities - has blocked the access roads to the Christmas market with massive concrete barriers. At the entrance to Münsterplatz, they are placed across the corner. Drivers can only drive through them at low speed.

This is the old system. The protective effect of such barriers is now controversial. As test drives by the monitoring company Dekra on behalf of the MDR magazine "Umschau" have shown for the first time, the bollards can only brake an average truck weighing ten tons. Even at a speed of 50 km/h, the test vehicle raced through the barriers and only came to a standstill after dozens of metres.

As an alternative to massively installed barriers, the new system should now offer more protection. "If a truck drives against the barrier, the ropes are tensioned. The cuboids are pulled sideways behind the vehicle and slow it down," reports Markus Schmitz of the city's press office. In other words, the ropes prevent the cuboids from simply being pushed away by the truck. Rather, the lumps fly sideways around the vehicle's tyres. The attempt should be finished quickly. At the Dekra there were test drives against blocks which were not connected with steel cables. In the video you can see that the vehicle rolls on at high speed for many meters, even if the tires burst.

At Pützchen's market the city had used the new barrier for the first time. "It also has the advantage that the ropes can be opened for delivery traffic," says Schmitz.

This year, the Christmas market has got off to a pleasantly peaceful start, reports police spokesman Frank Piontek. Since the opening, only three pickpockets have been reported to the police. Previously, however, unknown perpetrators had penetrated several stalls. They stole goods and cash.

Original text: Martin Wein

Translation: Mareike Graepel