Biker News - Regularly updated

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Category: Organisations


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    The Road Surface Treatment Association (RSTA) has welcomed the Department for Transport’s (DfT) proposed pothole mapping audit and hopes sufficient funds to carry out maintenance and repairs will be forthcoming.
    DfT has announced that it will work with local authorities, highway data and mapping company Gaist and on-road businesses such as Deliveroo, Uber, Tesco and Ocado to identify pothole hot spots. This will be first-of-its kind audit of potholes in England. It aims to direct where action against potholes is most needed.
    “The DfT initiative to provide a comprehensive nation-wide map of potholes is to be welcomed,” said Paul Boss, RSTA Chief Executive. “However, a map telling where the potholes are will be of little use if local authorities do not have the funds to fix them.”
    Since 2010 the government has provided over £1.2 billion solely to help repair potholes on the local road network, however, Boss points out that the latest Asphalt Industry Alliance Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey (ALARM) estimated that it would take 11 years and cost £11.4bn.
    “The additional pothole funding equates to £120 million a year and that falls far short of the funding necessary to address the plague of potholes resulting from decades of under investment in the local road network,” said Boss. “Furthermore, the proposed audit is reactive. Whilst we have to fill potholes in the short term, local authorities need certainty of long term funding to ensure they can plan and programme road maintenance that will prevent potholes from forming in the first place.”
  2. Highway maintenance budgets at risk following pandamic cash shortfalls

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    The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could see councils across England making budget cuts of up to 20 percent. With road maintenance budgets in the firing line the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) is calling for a new approach for the funding and governance of local road networks.
    According to the Local Government Association, councils will face additional costs of up to £13 billion this year due to measures required in tackling the pandemic. These additional costs come on top of over a decade in which local authority budgets have been slashed. Between 2015/16 and 2017/18, councils lost 77 percent of their funding from central government used to provide essential services.
    The impact of the pandemic has led to many sources of revenue, i.e. the collection of parking fees, drying up. It is estimated that councils could lose up to £1.4 billion from these funding streams, leading to many councils potentially facing a financial black hole. Other losses include £400 million in business rates, fees and charges of £341 million and council tax revenue of £288 million as many people have lost their jobs and others are utilising payment holidays.
    To counteract this, the government has allocated a further £3.8 billion to councils in the last two months. But this falls far short of what is required, with many local authorities still reeling from year-on-year cuts to budgets. According to the Local Government Association councils will need up to four times the funding they have been allocated by government so far.
    The financial crisis affecting councils post-pandemic could have a significant detrimental impact on highway budgets as councils are forced to use them to pay for social care. The government has announced an additional £2.5 billion highway maintenance funding over the next five years; however, it could cost more than £11 billion to address the current roads repair backlog.
    “The additional £500 million a year, although welcomed, is not enough and was allocated pre-Covid. Although following the Transport Select Committee report into local highways funding that was accepted by DfT is envisaged to lead to an announcement of longer term capital funding in the autumn, decades of under investment in the local road network has left a legacy of potholes that needs a new approach if it is to be properly addressed,” said Paul Boss, RSTA Chief Executive.
    Boss believes this new approach should be based primarily on prevention rather than cure. He added: “Fixing potholes is just playing catch-up. What is needed is providing councils with a range of simplified governing and funding mechanisms that can enable the development and implementation of planned programmes of maintenance that prevent the deterioration of roads from happening in the first place.”
    As part of this new approach the RSTA is calling for the local road network to be treated on parity with the strategic road network which, unlike local roads, has a greater certainty of funding with a 15 year road investment strategy. This contrasts sharply with the annual, often ad hoc, funding for local roads. Funding for local roads should be simplified. Councils have to access a myriad of funding pots which have different legal frameworks, different assessment criteria, business case requirements and timescales. This leads to a lack of effective planning, duplication and waste. Addressing these issues would improve outcomes and value for money. Furthermore, the Government should consider the injection of an additional £1 billion a year into a much-needed programme to address the pothole backlog by investing 2 pence per litre from the existing fuel duty to fix local roads.
    Boss concluded: “During the pandemic the Government recognised the essential role that the local road network has in keeping Britain moving. It is time for a new approach that enables councils to ensure that this role is properly realised.”

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    The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has called upon the new Chancellor Rishi Sunak to not only deliver on the Conservative election manifesto pledge of investing £2 billion to repair potholes but to also provide a mechanism for the long-term, assured investment in road maintenance. Mr Sunak, is due to present his budget on 11th March.

    Mike Harper, RSTA Chief Executive said: “It costs on average £52m2 to repair a pothole against the mere £2.50m2 to surface dress and maintain a road. A provision of real levels of long-term assured investment would enable highway authorities to implement planned programmes of road maintenance. This would ensure the good condition or road surfaces and prevent defects and potholes from forming in the first place. Preventative maintenance would be a far more cost effective approach that expensive patch-and-mend.”

    In addition to delivering the Conservative election manifesto pothole pledge, Harper called upon the Chancellor to commit to an injection of £1.5 billion a year to address the local road £9.7 billion maintenance backlog by investing just 2p a litre from the existing fuel duty, provide a funding settlement that enables planned five-year maintenance programmes and address the funding disparity between the strategic road network and the local road network. The strategic road network maintenance receives 53 times more funding per mile than local roads. Yet the vast majority of journeys are undertaken on the local road network.

    Harper said: “The local road network is the UK’s greatest infrastructure asset and is worth some £400 billion. With every road journey starting and ending on a local road, a well-maintained local road network is essential to the national social well-being and economic prosperity. Furthermore, post-Brexit, and as part of levelling-up’ the regions, the government wants to prove that Britain is ready and open for business. The provision of a well-maintained local road network is fundamental to achieving that objective.”



  4. National Road Rally "The BEST excuse ever for a ride out" 6th & 7th July 2019

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    Be part of one of the UK's BEST Biking Road Rallies... If you can ride a motorcycle and read a map, the ultimate biker's destination has to be The National Road Rally!

    With a range of entry levels there is a route for everyone, beginner to seasoned rider. Set your own target from 120 to 540 miles. Controls are situated countrywide so never to far from home. Why not make it a team effort and form a team with friends or fellow club members. Finish your ride at one of the multiple final controls positioned around the country.

    venue: Multiple Start Controls placed through out the country. See website for more information and previous years control matrix's.

    price: Pre-book: £30 per rider/£10 passenger - Closing date 19th June.

    National Road Rally The BEST excuse ever for a ride out, BMF, UK, 2019

  5. Biker, have YOU got a 'Biker I.C.E. Card'?

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    In recent years, motorcyclist deaths have decreased, but serious injuries have increased. However, in 2017 motorcyclist deaths in South Yorkshire have increased. Sheffield Advanced Motorcyclists (SAM) is a charity that trains motorcyclists in advanced riding skills, thus making motorcyclists safer on UK roads. When a biker does have an accident emergency services need relevant health information immediately. So, SAM has developed the Biker I.C.E. Card and are giving it away free to any biker who wants it. They will then know that, in the event of an accident, essential health information is in their wallet/purse/pocket readily available to emergency services staff at the scene.

    Accidents to motorcyclists result in much more serious injuries than other road users. All methods of carrying personal 'in-case-of-emergency' (I.C.E) information have real flaws. There is often very limited information to hand, or it can only be accessed remotely when the biker is taken to hospital. It can be difficult to keep personal and health information up to date.  SAM recognised the problems and designed an easy method, the Biker I.C.E.Card, of giving every biker the ability to carry information that will help emergency services staff at the scene of an accident and/or staff at a hospital.

    The Biker I.C.E. Card has all the information about a biker's identity, emergency contact, medication, ongoing illnesses and disabilities, etc. Such information is vital to emergency services staff to help in safeguarding the health and welfare of a biker casualty.

    The Biker I.C.E. Card is a FREE, downloadable, editable pdf file - Go Click 

    Sheffield Advanced Motorcyclists (SAM), a charity of volunteer bikers, provides the full range of IAM RoadSmart advanced riding courses. We recognised that existing methods of carrying 'in-case-of-emergency' information have flaws. Such information may have very limited content, only be accessible remotely by a limited number of people and/or may be contained in electronic devices that may be either locked or damaged in an accident. In addition, the user may not have an easy, readily available method of changing or replacing their information to keep it relevant to their current health and welfare. The 'Biker I.C.E. Card' is printed onto A5 card/paper from any desktop printer. We recommend that the printing is protected by a spray fixative or it can be put into a small plastic pouch. A helmet sticker alerts the emergency services staff to the location of the 'Biker I.C.E. Card'. The card can be folded down to half the size of a credit card for easy storing in a biker's pocket/wallet/purse.