I love motorbikes, the faster the better, but commuting to work at InsureAnts HQ on my Yamaha R1 is getting to be like travelling across the surface of the moon with craters big enough to lose a bus in. It is no surprise that crashes due to poor road surfacing are one of the top five most common motorcycle accidents*.
But this year’s ALARM survey shows that local authorities in England and Wales receive just one-third of the budget needed to maintain their highways to a safe standard; and can only afford to resurface their roads once every 56 years.
100% of Welsh local authorities taking part in the survey, and 85 % of English authorities, agreed that the backlog of maintenance is putting road users’ safety at risk.
Motorcyclists rely on a good quality road surface which springs no surprises, has high skid resistance, is clear of debris and has minimal over-banding around repairs.
The 2013 ALARM survey shows that highways engineers are fighting a losing battle to provide these basic safety requirements, being forced by budget shortfalls to “patch and mend” rather than put long-term repairs in place.
Sheila Rainger, Campaign Manager for the RAC Foundation, said: “This year’s ALARM survey shows the depressing results of a decade of disrepair.
“Like all motorcyclists, I have had the frightening experience of being thrown out of the saddle by an unexpected pothole. Lucky bikers will get away with a dented wheel-rim or puncture, but others will find themselves sprawled on the road at the mercy of the traffic.
“Road maintenance is the Cinderella of local authority services. Good roads may not be seen as a vote-winner but investment in properly planned maintenance saves lives.”