WINTER RIDERS WANT POTHOLE PROBLEM ADDRESSED
What do you hate the most about riding in winter? The cold? The rain and the ice? Other drivers not giving you the room and respect on damp and slippery roads?
Yes, they're all issues that we face, but the one that's really concerning bikers – and one that's turning into a year-round problem – is the pothole.
Let's put it bluntly: Potholes kill bikers.
We've all hit a pothole at one time or another. When you're in a car, it's at best a mild bump in the road, and at worst a damaged rim. On a bike it's a whole new and terrifying ball game. A severe pothole can throw you off your machine, and then you're in all kinds of trouble.
Even if you spot it coming, the big issue we face is swerving to miss. Tough at speed on a damp road. Tougher when you're being overtaken by somebody on four (or more) wheels.
And that's why our friends at Motor Cycle News have launched a pothole campaign.
Noting that Prime Minister David Cameron has promised £15bn for new roads, MCN say heshould be spending the cash on our existing roads first, which are falling apart. On MCN reader, who had to spend £250 to get the forks fixed on his machine, said that a Freedom of Information request revealed that 17 people had put in a claim for damaging their vehicles in the same pothole as he had.
The problem, MCN says, is that repairs on potholes are often shoddy and fall apart within weeks, leaving everybody back at square one. What does MCN want? Simple: 2p from the 57.95p that the government takes per litre in fuel duty should be ring-fenced for preventative road repairs. That would fully fund repairs all year round.
The problem with pothole damage is that it is also difficult to make a successful claim. Councils will claim they have a "reasonable inspection regime" meaning that they can't be expected to shell out for a pothole that has only been there a day. But if you fight through the legalese – and you might need to take on a specialist company – you should be able to get the company you're owed.
Of course, the best way to prevent pothole damage is to spend money on repairing our roads, and we're behind MCN on this every step of the way.