Tag Archives: hazards
What with the economy in the dumps, councils running out of money and the English weather doing its usual worst, our roads here in Sussex have been growing ever rougher and more potholed with each passing week – and from what I gather much the same can be said for most other parts of Britain as well.
I don’t just mean bumps and rough spots in the road; I mean Third World style craters. These things are nasty enough when you’re in a car; hit one at speed on a bicycle and you could easily be thrown end over end, and if you’re really unlucky maybe splatter yourself in front of a bus.
They are everywhere and like a cancer on the bitumen they seem to be spreading, so that if you go out in the wintry dark like I do, you really want to keep a wary eye on the road ahead: what might have been a placid stretch of bitumen just last week may have some very nasty surprises today.
There has been one particularly dangerous patch of sunken, rutted and gouged-out bitumen not far from my house. Not only is this festering mess a major cycling hazard in its own right, but it is diabolically situated between a traffic island and the broken edges of a speed bump. Given the unfortunate realities of on-street parking along this narrowed stretch of road, and the layout of the traffic island and speed bump, the only way to squeeze through this bottleneck is to go right over the worst of the potholes – an unnerving prospect indeed if there is any traffic tailgating you.
Although I had worked out a way to weave through the worst of it, it required a nicely of timing and precision in bicycle handling and as such it was all too easy for an imaginative type like myself to imagine himself missing his line one morning and going base over apex, smashing himself at speed into the traffic island markers – for naturally this jumbled up mess is at the bottom of a fast hill – and tumbling under the wheels of a car.
And so when a Cycle Touring Club (CTC) e-mail newsletter lobed into my basket last month, giving a link to their Fill-That-Hole website, which forwards your pothole complaints and descriptions to your relevant council, I decided to give it a go and see what happens. I logged in, filled out the form, described the offending patch of bitumen, located the spot as best I could on their link to Google maps, clicked the ‘send’ button and sat back to see what happened.
By golly, when I went out this morning, and came spinning down that particular hill, I found a nice neat patch where the crater used to be. Admittedly, it took them a couple of weeks, but I am inclined to cut them a bit of slack given the snow and ice we’ve had on the road the past fortnight and the generally lousy weather; I am just glad to have it done.
So I am posting the link to the Fill That Hole site (here) in the hopes that it might be useful to others (in Britain, alas, not overseas) and in the selfish interest of doing my good deed for the month early, so I can go straight back to being my usual curmudgeonly self. I will compound my act of good citizenship by noting that in the e-mail they send you acknowledging receipt of your pothole complaint they include a link by which you can report the pothole has been mended. Use it. It is always nice to say Thank You.