12 July 2017

The perils of surface dressing for those on 2 wheels

The perils of surface dressing for those on 2 wheels

A701 - Devil's BeeftubWhilst out for a run on my motorcycle last weekend, I came across two sections of road which had recently been surface dressed; on the Beef Tub (A701) 3 miles north of Moffat and also 5 miles East on the A703 heading towards the Glen Cafe.

In both cases, the correct signage appeared to be in place notifying me in advance of what to expect. However, that did not make negotiating my path any easier as I tried to avoid having to cross the loose gravel which had piled up at both the side of the road and also between the tyre tracks forged out by the cars and lorries. Over the last couple of days on social media, I have read various comments from other bikers who also experienced surface dressing on the roads over the weekend commenting just how treacherous and potentially dangerous it can be for motorcyclists. I am sure I am speaking for all motorcyclists when I say that we would rather have decent road surfaces without potholes or uneven reinstatements but the one consistent comment seems to be, "why don’t they sweep the roads and remove the loose gravel?” With that in mind, I had a look to see what the code of practice for sweeping at surface dressing sites was.

A document published by the Road Surface Dressing Association and the County Surveyors’ Society following consultation with Transport Scotland and other regional agencies states:

  • No road which has been surface dressed should be re-opened to traffic travelling at normalSkid Risk 20mph sign speeds limited only by national or local speed limits until it has been swept. 
  • Loose chipping signs with 20 mph advisory sub-plates should remain in place and be maintained until such time as all surplus chippings have been removed from the surface. 
  • The period of time during which loose chipping signs will need to remain in position will depend largely on the type of dressing and the volume of traffic. 
  • Regular inspections by installer’s representative should be carried and sweeps organised as necessary on the basis of the following guidelines: 
             
    1st Sweep within 24 hours of installation
    2nd Sweep within 3 days of installation
    3rd Sweep within 10 days of installation 

  • The aftercare signage should be maintained until a “final” inspection had been carried out either jointly by the installer/client or by a nominated competent person. 
  • The final inspection should be carried out within 30 days of installation. 
  • A satisfactory final inspection is the point at which the Highway/Road Authority resumes responsibility for the site. 
  • All signs used must be made of retro-reflective materials to comply with Traffic Signs Regulations & General Directions 2002 Schedule 17.

My experience at the weekend also reminded me of a case I won for a client a couple of years ago. The incident took place on the A93 Glenshee to Braemar Road. Weather conditions were good and the road surface dry. The motorcyclist recalled going into a right-hand bend and then his motorcycle lost all grip on the road due to the presence of loose stone chips over both sides of the carriageway.


He recalled seeing one sign warning of loose chippings but that was all. Aberdeenshire Council had carried out road surfacing works by spray patching at the bend shortly before the accident. The Police who attended the scene of the accident were so concerned about the state of the road and the possibility of another accident they called for the road to be swept and further signage erected.


Loose chippings caseI carried out extensive investigations including calling on the Roads Authority to produce documents under FOI to include details of road surfacing repairs, the type of application material and quantity used, the method of application, details of sweeping and details of all signage. I spoke to numerous witnesses and the police officers. Based on the evidence ingathered, I was satisfied the Council had been negligent.

Despite presenting the case and the evidence, liability was denied by the Council’s insurers. Faced with a denial, the only way to recover compensation for the motorcyclist was to raise a Court Action. Because of the serious nature of the injuries, I raised the case in the highest civil court in Scotland, The Court of Session, and enlisted the help of experienced Counsel who also happened to be a keen motorcyclist.


We set out our case arguing that road patching had been carried out shortly before the accident and those works involved a warm bitumen spray patching technique. There were no adequate warning signs to provide sufficient notice to road users of the presence of loose stone chips on the bend in the road and no adequate warning signs to reduce speed. Such signs as were present were substantially incorrect, were too close to the works and provided inadequate warning of the works that had taken place and the road conditions ahead.

No adequate steps had been taken by the Council to sweep or clear the loose stone chips from the bend on the road in the period preceding the accident.  It would have been easy for the Council to put adequate warning signs in place and to sweep the loose stone chips off the road surface.



In response to our Court Action, liability was again denied and the Defender stated the motorcyclist caused or materially contributed to the accident. He had a duty to drive his vehicle with reasonable care and failed to do so. He failed to keep his vehicle under proper control.


The case was then set down for a Court Hearing. We were well prepared and had even instructed an expert civil engineer from the Transport Research Laboratory who supported our case confirming, in his opinion, even small amounts of loose chippings on a bend were particularly hazardous to motorcyclists given the inherent instability of a motorcycle negotiating a bend.


On the evening before the case was due to be heard, an offer was made on a full liability basis and the case was settled with the motorcyclist recovering £22,500 for his injuries and loss. He was delighted with the result.


It is common for insurers representing Roads Authorities to deny claims for damages arising from road works and, in particular, the presence of loose stone chippings. It’s important for any motorcyclist to take images of a road surface defect that causes a sudden loss of control and if you can’t, then get a mate to do so or ask the Police.

So, my advice to all bikers is, observe national speed limits, watch out for signage, observe and adapt to the different road conditions, keep a good distance from the vehicle in front to avoid being hit by loose stones, chose a lane and try and stick to it until you reach a better road surface.

Brenda's Signature


TAKE_ANOTHER_LOOK_Logo_RFM_sm

20 December 2023

Take Another Look and search for us

Take Another Look and search for us. Education is needed to prevent needless deaths.

Read More >

Bike_and_Car_Collision_sm

30 November 2023

Navigating motor insurance claims

This is a guide to understanding and protecting your rights when navigating insurance claims following a non fault collision on your motorcycle.

Read More >

Damaged_motorcycle_sm

10 September 2023

Motorcyclist death toll rising

The death toll for motorcyclists will keep on rising unless the message is changed.

Read More >

A939_2_sm

1 February 2023

A939 Road Surface Warning

Warning to ALL motorcyclists, please beware of the tarmac patch repairs on the A939; they are absolutely lethal and you will come off your bike if you hit them.

Read More >

Chris_Plowman_Bike_sm

31 January 2023

Ay up flower, my luck has changed

We don't tend to proactively keep in touch with past clients as it's not practical. However, we do love to hear about good news stories and this is definitely one of those.

Read More >

Zara_CBT_1_sm

4 January 2023

CBT - an invaluable experience for all

When the opportunity to do my CBT arose, I jumped at it and I'm so glad I did. A truly invaluable experience which has made me a better driver. 

Read More >

Guiseppe_sm

17 November 2022

My CBT and First Bike

MLS Administrator, Jill Ramsay, shares the highs and lows of her CBT and the pleasures of owning her first bike.

Read More >

Jodi_CBT_Thumbnail

2 November 2022

CBT or CPD?

RTA LAW Partner, Jodi Gordon, jumps at the chance to complete her CBT. 

Read More >

Junction_for_Web

19 January 2022

Why drivers look but do not see

If car drivers don’t look out for us we need to look out for ourselves, especially at junctions.

Read More >

Motorcycling_in_France_with_MLS_200

17 January 2022

Springtime for Bikers

Unless you're a hardy all-year-round biker, it's around this time of year that we start to think about Springtime, dusting down our bikes and making sure we have everything in place to roar off into the sunshine when the time comes. 

Read More >

Overtaking_rsized_sm

28 October 2021

Safer overtaking

Given the number of collisions we deal with involving overtaking, it is important to understand how to overtake safely.

Read More >

Canva_-_Golden_Hammer_and_Gavel

5 September 2021

It's time for justice

In a criminal justice system where supporting victims is meant to be a priority, why are answers being hidden from those who need them most?

Read More >

Ewens_IAM_Pass_Certificate_sm

11 August 2021

Ewen's IAM motorcycling training and test

After 21 years of motorcycling and 175000 miles under his belt, Ewen Stewart takes on the challenge of the IAM Advanced motoring training and test.

Read More >

04728039

20 January 2021

Secondary Victim Claims

Secondary victim claim apply to an individual who has suffered psychological injury due to witnessing an event. In order to recover damages, strict criterion has to be met.

Read More >

BMW_K1600_sm

22 June 2020

Ewen's Bikes

Ewen Stewart, Legal Assistant, talks us through the different motorcycles he has owned and then describes his current bike, BMW K1600 in some detail

Read More >

Int_Ride_to_Work_Day

15 June 2020

International Ride to Work Day

Advocating and supporting the use of motorcycles and scooters for transportation.

Read More >

SWG_sm

12 June 2020

Stuarts Top 5 Tips for Motorcyclists

Stuart West-Gray from Edinburgh motorcycle dealership, Two Wheels, provides his Top 5 tips for motorcyclists returning to riding post lockdown.

Read More >

BPM_Video

28 May 2020

Post Lockdown Riding

Brenda Mitchell sets the scene and provides some guidance for motorcyclists as we move towards post lockdown riding once again.

Read More >

Johnny_Mac

28 May 2020

Johnny Mac's Top 5 Tips

John Macdonald's top 5 Tips for motorcyclists post lockdown. Junctions, roundabouts,overtaking,filtering,road surfaces.

Read More >

Honda_SS50_sm

20 April 2020

Motorcycling life

Ewen's first bike was a Honda SS50 back in the summer of 1975. Over the years, many bikes have come and gone, but the friends made back then who also roe motorcycles are still good friends today.

Read More >

IMG_2873_sm2

10 March 2020

Panel Solicitor Horror Stories

Don't let your insurer refer you to their panel solicitor. We have assembled a selection of case studies which highlight the experiences of injured motorcyclists who were fortunate enough to move over to Motorcycle Law Scotland. 

Read More >

Tipping_the_Balance_sm

30 December 2019

Tipping the balance in favour of the vulnerable

Causative potency is a relevant consideration for lawyers when acting on behalf of vulnerable road users who may have contributed to their injury through negligence as it can tip the balance back in favour of the more vulnerable road user.

Read More >

Colin_and_Maureen_Rutherford_sm2

18 December 2019

Colin Rutherford 1957 - 2018

Maureen wanted to share the circumstances, charges and sentencing for causing the death of her husband due to careless driving. Her message to all drivers and motorcyclists is watch out for each other at all times but especially at junctions.

Read More >

Brenda_on_Yamaha_Tracer

9 July 2019

Rolling back the years

Specialist motorcycle Lawyer, Brenda Mitchell rolls back the years and takes her husband, Rod on a 2 day trip to the West Highlands of Scotland on their new motorcycles.

Read More >

Hope_Michael_Lynnette_Thomas_Cloy_200

24 April 2019

Call for lengthier driving bans

Jodi Gordon, Partner, argues it is perhaps time to radically increase the length of driving bans and consider life-time bans. 

Read More >

Rod_and_VFR_200

13 March 2019

You don't know what you don't know

Why is it that so few motorcyclists out there feel the need to improve their riding skills when one day they might just save their life?

Read More >

Beware_of_leaves_on_the_road_200

8 October 2018

Beware of Autumn Leaves

Recognising a potential hazard like leaves on the road and taking the appropriate actions should keep you rubber side down and allow you to continue to enjoy your Autumn riding.

Read More >

Rod_on_his_motorcycle_200

18 May 2018

One down, one to go

Motorcyclists can never stop learning how to be better motorcyclists. IAM RoadSmart support advanced riding courses via local groups. Consider getting involved.It will make you a better, safer rider and may one day just safe your life.

Read More >

Motorcyclist2FDriver

27 April 2018

Motorcycling Campaigns

Improved riding and safety for motorcyclists must go hand in hand with motorcycle awareness for car drivers.

Read More >

Brenda_on_motorcycle_200_150

2 March 2018

It matters that your Solicitor is a Motorcyclist.

If you're injured in a road traffic collision on your motorcycle, you will need a Lawyer. However, you must choose your Lawyer carefully and wisely. Always remember, it’s your choice, not your Insurers'.

Read More >

Richard_and_GSXR_200

24 August 2017

Motorcyclists warned think twice about accepting insurer's appointed solicitor

Motorcyclists are being advised to think twice before ticking the box marked “legal expense insurance” when next arranging bike cover.

Read More >

20mph

12 July 2017

The perils of surface dressing for those on 2 wheels

Loose chippings on a road following surface dressing treatment are a motorcyclist's worst nightmare. 

Read More >

Naked_Motorcyclist_thumbnail

28 November 2016

Always be in the right gear!

Being in the right gear is not just about gear selection when riding, it can mean something far more important for your protection and safety

Read More >