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                                                             better biking

Road Debris

June 2007
Version 1




Produced for the BMF by Christopher Hodder - chris.hodder@bmf.co.uk - 07791 570819
 bmf
better biking
                                                           Road Debris
      W hat constitutes
      road debris?
      Road debris is a term used to
      describe all the small stones, bits of
      broken glass, nails, screws, sand,
      gravel and general rubbish that
      accumulates on our roads.
      Where is it usually
      found?
      Debris, for the most part, tends to
      collect in areas where two-track vehicles such as cars and buses do not drive. In urban areas,
      this tends to be on the edges and on the crown of the road and frequently collects around
      traffic islands and junctions. In rural areas, this tends to be in the middle of the lane and on the
      outside of corners and bends.
      What is the problem?
      Besides a nail or piece of glass sticking out of your tyre being very irritating, road debris can
      also be very dangerous. The dangers fall into two categories: punctures and skids.
      How are punctures dangerous?
      Punctures are obviously dangerous as they upset the handling characteristics of a
      motorcycle. Tubed-type tyres are particularly susceptible as these will deflate instantly. All
      motorcycle training agencies, manufacturers and other bodies recommend daily checks on
                                      your tyres for deflation and visible punctures. The
                                      European MAIDS study, which was supported by the BMF,
                                      found that a tyre or wheel problem (most often a puncture)
                                      was a cause in 3.7% of all the accidents they studied.

                                           Last year, FWR Tyres in London replaced 477 motorcycle
                                           tyres due to punctures, 11% of all the pairs they replaced.
                                           With tyres ranging from £100 to £190 for a pair and £20 for
                                           fitting, it is not only dangerous, but expensive.
                                           How is skidding dangerous?
                                         Skids are a different risk and on a motorcycle a skid
      frequently results in a crash. The Department for Transport reports that in 2005, 4,065
      motorcycles were in an accident after skidding on an otherwise dry road, representing 20% of
      all dry road motorcycle accidents.

      Finding actual statistics on accidents caused by road debris is hard, but MAIDS noted that in
      2.5% of the accidents they studied, gravel and sand were present. An Australian
      governmental study by Monash University found that loose material or mud was present in
      19% of motorcycle accidents. A recent unpublished DfT study listed 'deposit on road' as a
      cause in 2.6% of all motorcycle accidents in the opinion of a police officer attending the scene.
      Of course, these are only reported accidents resulting in injury.
      Is there an element of underreporting?
      Yes. Most people would never consider reporting a puncture to the police. As for skidding,
      much of this would be at low speed and would not result in a serious accident. We believe that
      much of the problem slips below the radar of the authorities responsible.
                Produced for the BMF by Christopher Hodder - chris.hodder@bmf.co.uk - 07791 570819           1
 bmf
better biking
                                                           Road Debris
                                                 What can be done?
                                                 The simple act of properly sweeping the full width of
                                                 the road on a regular basis and removing the debris
                                                 would probably be a huge help in reducing accidents.
                                                 The agencies responsible are varied, but in the
                                                 majority of cases local councils are responsible for
                                                 street sweeping operations.

                                                 We propose to ask all the road safety officers and all
                                                 the road sweeping departments of every council in
                                                 Britain to extend their cleaning efforts to include the
                                                 entire width of the road.
                                                 How many accidents would that
                                                 prevent?
                                                 Out of 24,824 reported motorcycle accidents in 2005,
                                                 we estimate that sweeping the road would have
                                                 prevented 646 accidents caused by skidding on
      debris and 919 accidents caused by punctures, giving a total of 1,565 accidents prevented.
      Out of 569 fatalities, 36 lives could have been saved.




      Further Reading
      Department for Transport: Road Casualties for Britain 2005 (page 114)
      http://www.dft.gov.uk/162259/162469/221412/221549/227755/roadcasualtiesgreatbritain2005a
      Federal Office of Road Safety (Australia) Case Control Study of Motorcycle Crashes
      Monash University (page 23) http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/reports/atsb174.pdf
      Acem/MAIDS study website http://maids.acembike.org/
      Local Authority Road Safety Officers Association website http://www.larsoa.org.uk/
      Avon tyre advice http://www.avon-
      tyres.co.uk/motorcycle/?page=riderzone&subpage=tyre_care

                Produced for the BMF by Christopher Hodder - chris.hodder@bmf.co.uk - 07791 570819         2

				
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