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Melting Roads Surfaces - Riders Take Care - July 21st 2006

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    The Motorcycle Action Group has re issued its 2005 press release regarding the use of crushed rock dust in this year's heat wave by councils to combat the problem of melting road surfaces.

    In the summer of 2005 the Motorcycle Action Group was made aware that some of the country's roads were beginning to melt due to a heat wave and that in parts of County Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland councils had been sending out gritting lorries to spread crushed rock dust in an attempt to combat the problem.

    A Cumbria County Council Spokesman at the time said: "A fine layer is being put down that will cling to the surface of the binder/bitumen."

    "The crushed rock dust is an improvement on the melting/greasy bitumen, and is the best solution we have at this point to a difficult situation."

    "We would ask you to urge your members to ride according to the conditions of the road."

    A spokesman from Durham County Council said: "We only spread the dust where necessary to address the problem of roads which have been found to be 'bleeding'. Obviously there are a limited number of options to address this situation and applying the dust, which adheres to the bitumen and effectively deadens it is both effective and relatively economical."

    "We consider all highway users when undertaking any maintenance and take the most appropriate action. Where roads are 'bleeding' they are a significant danger to all drivers but I would suggest specifically motorcyclists. Whilst I can agree that excess dust on a dry carriageway could be a hazard to motorcyclists, by managing where we apply the dust (only where it is needed) and in the correct quantity (only sufficient to deaden the bitumen and not too much to create a surplus hazard) it is considered that our actions are correct."

    This year the Head of Engineering & Highways Operations in Darlington has said: "Before we consider putting down grit in hot weather, we always carry out a site inspection first using our Highways Inspectors to assess the condition of the road. We have tended to use whindust and this is only put down as an emergency measure to keep roads safe and stop further deterioration during hot weather. Our Highways Inspectors are monitoring this situation on the ground and will arrange for any necessary action should this be required. If a road has been dusted, we monitor it regularly so we can remove any excess as required."

    MAG would urge all riders to take care on the roads in this hot weather to be aware of this additional hazard and or all other vehicle drivers to look out for and see motorcycles.