Potholes are the bane of any motorists journey. Aside from making your journey uncomfortable and their unsightly appearance, they also pose a threat to the safety of motorists. As a both a motorcyclists and a driver, I have had bad experiences with potholes, one incident causing me to drop my bike, in what could have potentially been a very dangerous situation for me. Thankfully, I was alright, but potholes taken at speed have been the cause of some far more serious accidents in the past.
It is the responsibility of the county council to maintain roads for public use – that is the reason we pay tax on our vehicles each year. And yet it seems that some county councils have, as a result of the recession perhaps, become increasingly lax with their approach to potholes.
It is possible to report a pothole to the local county council through the government website (click here to go directly there) but sadly, this is not a guarantee that it will be fixed. some county councils are better than others at getting it done. In the past I have also witnessed a crew specially allocated to fix potholes following sever weather conditions which exasperate the problem.
What prompted this blog was an article I read concerning a young driver in Essex who feel victim to a severe pothole, and the council’s ridiculous reply to her request for compensation. Emily Wakeling is a 20 year-old student of Writtle College, and was on her way there when her car, a brand new Ford Fiesta, got lodged in this gigantic pothole. Getting her car out of the pothole resulted in her tyre being shredded and the tracking of her steering knocked off. Whilst pulled over and taking photos as evidence of the damage done, she witnessed another motorist get stuck in the very same spot.
However, following a 3-month investigation the council refused to compensate her for the cost of fixing the damage done (£120) saying instead that they don’t consider the road to be dangerous, and that it is well maintained despite a total of 19 other complaints made about the same pothole.
A council report sent to Miss Wakeling stated that the pothole was fixed the very same day that Emily had her accident, but according to locals, it has recently opened up again in the cold weather, and remained unfixed.
Most frustratingly perhaps was Essex county councils promises last year to invest an extra £11 million into its roads and claimed that as many as 1,200 roads would be fixed in Essex. Clearly the money has not gone into everyday maintenance which is essentially one of the most important areas of road maintenance.
It seems all too clear that there is too little heed taken of potholes and the potential threat they pose, not only to cars, but also to motorcyclists and bicyclists to whom the risk is even greater. We pay taxes for the council to maintain community property, and yet it appears that this is not being done to a high enough standard.