Potholes ‘can be lethal hazard to NI motorcyclists’

Potholes are an increasingly common feature of our roads after a very cold winter
Potholes are an increasingly common feature of our roads after a very cold winter

The “perilous” state of the roads network here poses extra danger to bikers forced to swerve around potholes and divots, a local motorcycling advocate has said.

Martyn Boyd, the Northern Ireland representative of the Motorcycle Action Group, a campaign body with 65,000 members across the UK, believes the roads network here has deteriorated to a significant extent.

Martyn Boyd said our roads 'are close to being a national emergency'

Martyn Boyd said our roads 'are close to being a national emergency'

“A large pothole or a poor quality repair may present a bumpy inconvenience for a car, but it can be a lethal hazard for a motorcyclist,” he told the News Letter.

“Our roads are in such a perilous state I’d say they are close to being a national emergency and that their current condition represents a serious hazard to motorcycles.

“If the roads aren’t brought up to standard they’re just going to fall to pieces.”

Mr Boyd continued: “If you take for example a hole in the road or crumbling manhole cover a car could drive over it, or could steer around without any great difficulty, but if I’m coming around a bend on a motorcycle and there’s a pothole, and perhaps oncoming traffic, it’s a lot more dangerous.

“If I hit that pothole, it can throw me off. I think people who don’t drive motorcycles might not realise just how dangerous it can be.”

The Motorcycle Action Group representative believes a greater emphasis should be placed on bringing the standard of roads up to that necessary to keep motorcyclists safe.

“On December 31, 2016, there were 1,131,411 vehicles licensed in Northern Ireland, of which 20,668 are motorcycles, according to figures from the Department of Infrastructure,” Mr Boyd said.

“Whilst we represent a minority of vehicle using our roads, damaged road surfaces and poor quality repairs and reinstatements after utility work represents a much greater hazard - to the point of life threatening - to us than cars etc.”

He added: “If roads were kept to the standard necessary for safe motorcyclists everyone would benefit.”