23 Feb 2007

Things that go bump on the road


pot·hole (pŏt'hōl') n.
1. A hole or pit, especially one in a road surface. Also called chuckhole.
2. A deep round hole worn in rock by loose stones whirling in strong rapids or waterfalls.
3. Western U.S. A place filled with mud or quicksand that is a hazard to cattle.


At best an uncomfortable jolt on your journey, at worst a danger to both you and your bike. Deep, hard edged, debris shedding- often disguised as a simple puddle, these hazards lurk all over the district's roads, despite Herts Highways' patching efforts. Here's a quick reminder of how you can help reduce the problem by reporting them; watch out for future posts as we put Herts Highways' performance under the microscope over the coming months!

"During the year ending March 2005, 88% of reported potholes were repaired within 24 hours."

Herts Highways promise to fix hazardous potholes within 24 hours. Unfortunately Herts Highways don't tell us what they consider to be a hazardous pothole! This definition from Cambridge Cycling Campaign is as good a guide as any, but if you see any hazard in the road which is big, deep or rough enough to make you want to swerve to avoid it then it should be reported.

"Potholes are considered dangerous when they are vertically sided, and more than 20 mm deep, with an area of greater than 0.1 m² in principal road carriageways and 50 mm deep in non-principal road carriageways and more than 20 mm deep and have an area of 0.1 m². in any footway, cycleway and marked cycle lane and are sufficiently far from the edge of the carriageway or footway to be surrounded by bituminous material. Other conditions which occur should be judged in accordance with the good practice and specification requirements, and dealt with accordingly"

You'll need to note the following details- if you don't have a piece of paper handy try writing a text message to yourself on your mobile (you don't need to send the message, just save it).

Location- road name, carriageway, nearest house/landmark
Description- size, depth, distance from kerb
If possible take a photo.

Armed with these details, you can report the hazard and start the repair clock ticking.

There are several ways to report hazards:

Online at hertdirect.org. Navigate through the options to select the most appropriate hazard type - pothole for a pothole or carriageway/road/cycleway for other hazards).

Online at the CTC's site fillthathole.org.uk. Use the map to locate the hazard, the CTC will report the pothole to Herts Highways on your behalf.

By phone. Call Herts Highways on 01438 737320. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am - 8pm and Saturdays from 9am - 4pm.

Here. Leave a comment here and we'll report the hazard for you- please make it clear that you haven't reported it yourself. You can email any photos to stacc.potholes@hartleys.org.uk- this includes sending in pictures direct from your cameraphone!

However you report the hazard, please note the reference number and add it as a comment here so that we can track it. This is important since it enables us to keep an eye on Herts Highways' performance.

Coming soon- what to do if a pothole damages your bike or causes an accident.


A Midnight Rider said...

This is a comforting sign for bikers in Lake Placid, New York.


STACC memsec Tom said...

Midnight Rider's photo

Mike1727 said...

**Reported to Herts Highways on 2/3/07 ref 1290245**
map Check HH progress here

Manhole cover on Hatfield bound carriageway of A1057 opposite junction with Poplar avenue
Road Name A1057 St Albans Road west

Obstruction Type: Pothole
Obstruction Description Broken road surface and potholes surrounding manhole cover are a dangerous hazard to cyclists, especially since there is a pothole running in the direction of travel which can catch a wheel and lead to a fall on this busy road.

Mike1727 said...

Fixed by 5/3/07.
I didn't get more than a 15mph passing glance, but the fix doen't seem brilliant- the patch seems a little dipped towards the middle.

STACC memsec Tom said...

I'm not happy with Cambridge CC's definition of hazardous pothole.
Shape & orientation, are also key issues. A longitudinal 'slot' 20 mm deep, 50mm wide (say) is sure to throw you off a bike. Whereas the same shape at right angles to direction of travel would be OK.
STACC shouldn't accept a definition, other than "...that could cause an accident to any road user..".
If you consider a pothole 'Dangerous' put that on your report

STACC memsec Tom said...

Apparently councils spent £33 million last year repairing potholes and £60
million in compensation for the damage they caused!
(info from STACC Rosie)