I’ve ranted about this before. Australian roads aren’t great at the best of times. But throw in a few days of torrential rain and/or summer storms and the local bitumen begins to look worse than Pat McQuaid’s credibility. Full of holes and cracks. When you’re riding on 23mm of rubber, it doesn’t take much to bring you down.
So what happens if you’re felled by a rogue pothole? Is it your fault for riding into it? Or the Council’s for failing to keep the local roads in a safe condition?
It’s not perhaps as clear cut as you might imagine, if an article from the Guardian in the UK is anything to go by. Click the link below to read it at your leisure, but in a nutshell in the UK you can’t just blame the Council. As long as they’re doing their best to maintain roads, they can’t be held liable for any sudden damage (for example, potholes caused by flash flooding) that result in an accident. Now I’m sure pretty much the entire “someone’s gotta pay!” nation (aka USA) will disagree, and lots of “no win no fee” lawyers too. But this approach makes total sense to me.
If you stack your bike due to the Council’s negligence, sure. Sue their sorry backsides. But unless you want taxes to be one gazillion percent higher to fund massive armies of road workers with shovels and tar buckets, it simply isn’t reasonable to expect every metre of every road to be smooth and safe all the time. Shit happens. And, yes, sometimes it will even happen to you. So suck it up princess. Take some responsibility. And if it bothers you that much, stay in bed. Or take up knitting.
Thought this was a good idea too. “Fill that hole” is an initiative of the National Cycling Charity in the UK – a simple website that lets you notify councils of roads that need fixing. There’s also a smartphone app. The service receives, on average, 35 pothole reports every day.