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The Pothole Problem

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After the harsh winter at the beginning of 2010, there has been a sharp increase in potholes. While cars, busses and lorries can go over them without any problem, there has been a definitive rise in pothole accidents and cyclists and motor bikers.

There's very little that cyclists can do to prepare for an accident in a pothole, but there are several tips that bike riders can use to minimize the damage they undergo when encountering them.

    * Keep an eye on the road ahead of you - by far and away, the easiest way to avoid a pothole related accident is to ensure that you avoid them entirely. If you can't safely drive round them on the route you're currently using, find another route.
    * Report them immediately - everyone tends to think that other people will report potholes, and while it's true, if it causes a nasty accident, or damages a car, there's an increased chance that they'll be reported, the small ones are actually the worst, and should be reported as soon as they form.
    * Don't get used to riding through small ones - unless it's specifically in a bike path, small potholes rapidly become bigger - shared bike and bus paths can cause potholes to increase in size rapidly, and then one day you won't be able to ride through them.
    * It is the responsibility of the council to repair potholes before they become dangerous - ensure you've taken pictures (if you can do so safely) and keep documentation of any dangerous potholes.
    * If the worst happens and you do have a pothole related accident, ensure the police and emergency services record the size and position of the pothole and where it is placed in relation to bus and your bike lane. If the road is one without a bike lane make sure it's recorded that the pothole is in a position that is hazardous to the public.
    * Ask witnesses for their details straight away - or have your representative do so.  Ask the police to record witness statements.
    * Ensure that you are checked over fully.  Most pothole accidents involve the rider tipping over their handlebars, which can cause serious head, neck, back, arm and leg injuries.  Don't simply write it off because you're embarrassed - get checked out.
    * Check your bike after riding through potholes - the wheels or frame may be damaged. If so, go back and get documented evidence of the pothole before repair.

With a few simple steps you can protect yourself from the worst and protect yourself should you have an accident. If you do, ensure you contact specialists in dealing with pothole accidents and who are well versed in the care of bikers.

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