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Shoddy pothole repairs claim another rider

Mike Wright - Pothole repairs claim another rider justice
Mike Wright is another victim of shoddy roadworks

Shoddy pothole repairs in northern NSW seem to be endemic and have claimed at least one more motorcycle rider.

Gold Coast rider Mike Wright says he crashed his 2018 Kawasaki Z650 on unsigned roadworks with a lot of surplus gravel on the Clarence Way 10km south of Woodenbong last month.

It follows similar crashes in the Kyogle, Byron, Wooing and Tomewin areas.

Lions Rd crash loose gravel repairs
Loose gravel on Lions Rd that caused a crash

Mike says he was riding with three mates when they came across the roadworks.

“We came the other way the weekend before, so we knew there was patchy roadworks with loose stones so we backed off,” he says.

“We were doing about 60/70 kays but it was like skating on ice.

“My mates ahead of me thought they were gone. They just drifted out.

“However, I was right on the edge of the road and it was soft and the front end just dug in, buried its nose and flipped me off.”

Pothole repairs claim another rider
Clarence Way crash site

Injury and damage

Mike suffered a broken hip and still walks with a cane a month later.

“I was lucky that’s all the injury I suffered,” he says.

His Z650 has a bent gear lever and handlebars plus substantial scratching.

Pothole repairs claim another rider
Mike’s Z650 before the crash

“I’m just getting a mate to fix it,” he says. “It’s insured, but you pay the first $400 so I won’t bother.”

Mike is considering legal action against council.

“It pisses me off,” he says. “Even if they had signs there it might not have made much difference.

“That amount of shit shouldn’t be there. All they have to do is sweep it.”

Pothole repairs warning

NSW Motorcycle Council president Steve Pearce has previously warned about the pothole repair program being carried out throughout NSW, and possibly other states.

The pothole repair program involves a new process that leaves ball-bearing-sized gravel on the surface.

Pothole repairs program Steve McMllan
Loose stones

Steve says councils have a duty of care to all road users in their pothole repair.

“Leaving loose material on the road is a hazard to motorcyclists which is totally unacceptable,” he says.

“I am calling for all councils to ensure their road repair contractors understand the risk caused by this practice and act quickly before someone is fatally injured.

“Also a call out for riders to watch out for repairs and exercise caution where repairs have been done. And of course let MCC know where these hazards are located so we can act.”

Pothole repairs program Steve McMllan
One of the pothole repairs with loose gravel

A NSW Roads and Maritime Services spokeswoman confirms the new repair program is being used by rural and regional councils.

“These repairs involve applying heated bitumen to potholes with aggregate laid across the surface to prevent bitumen from adhering to the tyres of vehicles.

“This aggregate may initially appear loose across the road surface but will either form part of the roadway or be swept to the roadside by the movement of traffic within 24 to 48 hours after the repair is completed.”

  1. Plainly this repair process and the belief that loose material will be swept to the roadside is well out of step with the “Safe Systems” approach (Safer Roads and Roadsides, Safer Speeds, Safer vehicles Safer Road users. ( Someone hasn’t thought this through!

  2. This is happening on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland also, for example, a popular road between Gympie and Kin Kin(Cedar Pocket Road – Gap Road – Sister Tree Creek Creek Road) has had a resurfacing which has left gravel all over corners and on the verges. There is so much gravel that it is continually being spread on to the road by cars and trucks. This was reported to council two months ago and nothing has been done to rectify it. Riders beware!

  3. ANY statutory authority (council, RMS, etc) that carries out roadworks should complete the job, and leave the surface in a safe condition. Failure to do so should incur a penalty. Should that failure result in a crash and/or injury, the person in charge of that job, be they labourer, leading hand, supervisor, engineer etc, should be charged with a criminal offence. Together with the body that employs them. If a crash results in a death, then the charge should be nothing less than Manslaughter. EVERY road user has the right to equal duty of care, be they heavy vehicle, car, motorcycle, bicycle. And EVERYBODY involved in road maintenance has a legal responsibility to provide that.

  4. Yesterday, returning from Lismore to Murwillumbah via Blue Knob Rd nth of Nimbin I observed a crew patching the road.
    Therefore this morning returning in the opposite direction I was well prepared for what I found, pea gravel all over the road, especially on curves, I did not observe any warning signs to alert the unwary, clearly safety is not a high priority for Lismore council On arriving in Lismore I phoned council and asked to speak with the safety officer, ” We don’t have a safety officer ” was the reply, I asked to speak with the person responsible, ” He is in a meeting, I’ll let him know of your concerns”. I asked for the courtesy of a return call after someone had inspected the roadwork, mainly to assure myself that someone actually cared, so far nothing.
    Lismore and Byron shires are IMO, the worst offenders in the region, Tweed seem to do a reasonable job, and actually have a safety officer who is responsive and concerned. Unfortunately it will probably take a law suite to get the attention of tardy councils and of course it will be rate payers who foot the bill No point in banging on about the deplorable state of secondary roads across the state. So fair warning to all, if you notice the telltale gleam of fresh bitumen on the road surface slow down and get your 6th sense working because they have been at it again and if you don’t you’ll be the one paying the piper. I encourage everyone who observes this kind of tardy road maintenance to get a photograph if it’s safe to do so, and call the council responsible, keep a record of your call, time etc, if enough of us do it hopefully things will begin to improve

  5. I hope Mike feels better soon. The following might be worth a read: The Honourable Melinda Pavey M.P. Minister for Road Maritime & Freight might welcome your thoughts.

    $9 billion dollars is being spent on a Road Safety Plan 2021 so they are heading in the right direction for reducing road death and injury amongst motorcyclists but they might need a little further help with the standard of road surface treatment.

  6. No use making a claim . Boral resurfaced our street and left the loose gravel there over night because the speed limit was under 70 kph. I had a fall at the corner that night just taking off. The loose gravel left behind caused the front tyre to slip out and down I went At 8 am the next morning a tractor and road sweeper came along and swept the road. I stopped the tractor driver and asked him why it wasn’t cleaned up the night before and he told me about the 70 kph rule by Boral.
    So I contacted BORAL and they sent 2 people out 2 days latter to inspect the corner . Their conclusion was There was no debris on the road and no marks where an accident had happened. I got a lovely letter from their solicitors telling me it was my fault. Now if it was swept the next day and the inspected 2 days latter wouldn’t you expect not to find any sign of a fall at all? It was a slow speed fall that only caused scratches to the paint and plastic on my bike. I’m letting it go but next time I see BORAL doing stuff on the road that is not within the regulations I will sue their ARSE off. Their Supervisors lied, the Tractor driver Lied and the solicitors Lied.. (Nothing new there).

  7. Has anyone successfully sued a council yet? maurice/blackburn had a few cases, so how did they go?

  8. Having had my front wheel wash out in some gravel, dumping me on the road, and then having a chisel shaped pea sized piece of gravel puncture my front tyre 2 hours later I have a definite hate/hate relationship with the nasty stuff. I have noticed that there is no thought of motorcyclist safety from builders and repairers of roads. They figure if it is ok for a car then job done, not giving a thought to the stability issues that they are causing to any motorcyclist who comes along. Council do little to ensure roads are safe for motorcyclists by clearing detritus off the roads regularly (costs, costs and costs) or giving motorcycle and the person riding it a second thought.
    We all know SMIDSY but SMYDRAT or Sorry Motorcyclists You Don’t Rate A Thought.!

  9. No road-repair crew should be allowed to erect a sign stating, “LOOSE STONES”. My view is that when such a sign is left at a repair site, it is an ADMISSION that the road has been left in an UNSAFE STATE (and this admission should be used against the repairer in a suit). The stones should be rolled into the repair, and the residue swept and collected. And a related issue: how many times do we come to a T-intersection on a recently re-sheeted road, and have to negotiate the gravel that collects at the intersection? Again, the repair makes the road more unsafe than it was prior to the repair. Aren’t both of these above scenarios examples of “misfeasance”, and therefore worthy of a legal claim on that basis?

  10. Maybe it might be worthwhile getting the app “Snap, Send, Solve” on your mobile phone. The idea is you take photos, send them to the local council. The GPS in the phone and photo gives the council the location of the issue. Some motorcycle riders have been using this and it seems to get a quicker response from council than a phone call. If they get enough complaints they might do something……one could only hope…

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