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Getting the Hump

October 29, 2009
Damaged Road Hump

Damaged road humps - a real danger to riders

Blandford Forum, England – Times change and things move on, this is true of most things including apparently the attitude of UK bikers to the Governmental imposition of a limit on the power of motorcycles.

This week the UK Department of Transport (DfT) responded, on behalf of the Government, to an online petition asking them refrain from capping the power limit of motorcycles in the UK. The DfT response stated that: “The Department for Transport is not aware of any evidence to support the introduction of a maximum engine power limit for motorcycles as an effective measure to reduce accidents and so does not believe that limits on the maximum power of motorcycles are necessary in the UK”. Good news? Apparently so but disappointing that the petition drew only 719 signatures. More a measure of interest than a petition perhaps.

Of course the DfT well know that the power of motorcycles will be cut dramatically by 2020 so basically they can say anything, Power cut? Yes by two main factors. The introduction of stricter emission controls. Reducing power outputs will be one factor which will enable manufactures to achieve emission outputs proposed for Euro 4 and Euro 5 limits. Then of course there’s the 3rd Driving Licence Directive that from 2013 will see the introduction of a new licence category for 46bhp machines. No doubt as the manufactures will need to produce a test bike for this category we will see bikes of 350 to 400cc return to popularity. Add in the fact that you won’t be able to get on a ‘full power’ bike until you are 24 years old and I reckon the demise of the 150bhp plus ‘superbike’ is unfortunately on the cards.

Meantime in that hot house of lateral thinking, the UK Houses of Parliament, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (Look someone has to take an interest in all this stuff and its me!) has come up with the idea that increasing the number of road humps will reduce child pedestrian casualties. Well actually they suggested reducing speed limits in inner city suburbs to 20mph controlled by road humps.

Absolutely nothing the matter with appropriate 20mph limits or reducing child casualties but it’s the road humps, speed humps or sleeping policeman that gives me and other bikers the hump. These things are recognised as causing increased emissions, increased noise and increased danger to motorcyclists, scooters and cyclists. In fact one London Borough has removed many of them considering them as ineffective mainly on the grounds of the ongoing costs of maintenance. The money saved on maintenance being spent on road safety projects too much better effect.

The fact is that Local Authorities simple stick humps in and don’t bother to budget for repairs. So after a couple of years even taken at an appropriate speed these things are an outright danger to riders, a danger that is obviously increases if riders are less than observant or travelling at inappropriate speeds.

So the question is does an attempt to reduce child casualties cause an increase in motorcycle, scooter and cycle casualties??  I wonder. Anyone fancy a research project.

And on the subject of research projects.

A well done is due to the KiIlspills Campaign, the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) who have embarrassed the UK Department of Transport (DfT) into funding a two-year study into the problem of diesel spillages and the most effective way of cleaning them up, thus safe guarding motorcycle and scooter riders from serious injury and death. The DfT agreed to pick up the bill for the project only after the BMF and IAM offered £10,000 to “pump prime” it.

The DfT project will produce guidance for Local Authorities and the Highways Agency to follow, so ending the confusing array of procedures and solutions currently adopted across the UK when it comes to cleaning up diesel and other road spills.

OK that means than the BMF and IAM have £10,000 to spend on another project so how about doing something on Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA).

© Back Roads Rider 2009

One Comment leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    October 30, 2009 10:42 am

    £10 000 on how best to clean up diesel spills? Surely that money and whatever the DfT have put in would be much better spent on preventing them in the first place? Most local authorities will only deploy a clean up team to a major spill – like tens of litres. A biker can quite easily be unseated by a lot less than that. And of course the clean up relies on someone actually reporting.
    Shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted?
    How about spending that money on succesfully prosecuting a large diesel fleet operator (1st Bus perhaps…) for leaving diesel all over the road on a regular basis? There are any number of environmental and probably traffic laws and H&S regulations which could be used – this may at least send the message out that it’s not acceptable to drop diesel on the road.
    Or at least looking into ways of getting diesel into tanks and keeping it there?

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