The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) today launches a new pothole campaign video. The Resurface Our Roads campaign is being pushed to a new level with MAG promoting a co-ordinated strategy both locally and nationally.
The video can be shared with parliamentarians and councillors, but also contains calls to action that can easily be followed by riders.
The campaign video starts with an explanation of the serious implications of our poorly maintained road network for riders. The aim, without scaremongering, is to bring the gravity of the risks faced by riders to the fore in the campaign. MAG personalises the sterile statistics with the stories of riders who have suffered injury as a result of poor road surfaces and goes on to provide riders with two lines of attack.
Firstly, the campaign asks riders to sign a petition calling for increased funding, and then to write to their MP asking them to work with MAG to bring a formal parliamentary debate on funding to the table.
The video includes comments from Asphalt Industry Alliance Chair Rick Green and well-known pothole campaigner Mark “Mr Pothole” Morrell. Combined with data from this year’s ALARM report the case is very clearly made for increased central government funding.
The second line of attack that the video recommends is scrutiny of local authorities. Interviews with Ben Rawding, General Manager, Government & Municipalities at JCB, and James Harper from Stoke on Trent City Council cover some of the detail of best practice. It is clear that whilst pockets of best practice do exist, there is a need for far more investment in kit like JCB’s Pothole Pro. Stoke City Council managed to clear a seven-year backlog of pothole repairs in just 12 months with the machine.
In the video, MAG examines the UK Roads Liaison Group guidelines for assessing road defects. But, as is discussed with Mr Pothole, the risk assessment inspectors often seem unable to fairly assess the risks to all road user groups.
MAG is therefore encouraging riders to ask their local authorities two questions: firstly, are they investing in modern kit to carry out repairs? And secondly, are their assessors competent in terms of understanding the risks posed to riders by surface defects?
MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said:
“We cover in the video how even MPs admit that potholes are considered a running joke, and how the press do not see the issue as much more than a lightweight story for election campaigns. For riders this issue can be one of life or death. We are demanding that it is treated with the gravity it deserves. Our aim is to raise this at both local and national level with a co-ordinated and consistent drum beat. Any rider can take part in the campaign by investing five minutes to sign a petition and write two letters. MAG will work with any and all MPs and Councillors genuinely interested in taking on the challenge of making our road network fit for purpose. I am sure that those who engage with us will be remembered when polling day comes, but the real work needs to be done outside of the political election circus. That means now.”
Research carried out by MAG has shown that, on average, four motorcyclists die every year as a result of poor road maintenance and a further 70 per year suffer serious injuries. The research shows that despite representing less than 1% of all road traffic, motorcycles feature in 27.5% of all RTCs where road surface defects are listed as a contributory factor. Pedal cyclists are also over-represented, being involved in 14.7% of these RTCs.