Stone Chip Dressing

Worst Of All! – Tarting The Road Up With Stone Chip Dressing!

The common practice of laying a surface dressing consisting of stone chippings spread over tar on the road, which is then bedded in by traffic is not acceptable for motorcyclists.

This practice is no doubt risk assessed and warning signs are present (mostly inadequate and lacking in advance warning), however there is no doubt that this practice is a serious hazard for motorcycles, even at the posted recommended speed limit of 20mph/15mph.

When confronted with a stretch of road that has received this dressing, motorcyclists will inherently slow down because of the risk involved, the same cannot be said for other vehicles.

The risk of crashing is compounded by:

  • Braking or altering position to avoid deep gravel on the road surface.
  • There is risk of injury to riders and damage to the motorcycle from stone chippings thrown up by other vehicles.
  • Excess stone chippings are not removed by Roads Service or the contractor.

According to various road authorities in the UK – “Stone Chip Dressing” – maximises the use of limited highway maintenance funding (costing only around one-fifth of conventional resurfacing). Even the simplest and cheapest of the resurfacing treatments is likely to cost four times the rate of surface dressing and the disparity in cost rises to about a factor of twelve for main road resurfacing.

It reduces the risk of aquaplaning on roads, thereby helping to reduce the possibility of accidents and the treatment can only successfully be applied during warm weather. In colder and wetter weather the bitumen fails to bond to the existing road leading to early failure.

Warnings about “Stone Chip Dressing” operations include: There will be some loose chippings and householders will need to check shoes before entering the home or car.  There is also a slight possibility of wet bitumen being carried on shoes but any staining may be removed with a suitable solvent.

And its all about the children: Parents are asked to keep small children away from the area being treated. Heavy plant is dangerous and children’s clothes, skin and toys can all get marked with bitumen.

However there appears to be no concerns about motorcyclists?

IHE – Institute of Highway Engineers – Motorcycling Guidelines

norwayloosechippingsigns-250However the IHE Motorcycling Guidelines give advise regarding stone chip dressing – surface dressing , the guidelines set out practical guidance for transportation professionals on providing a safer environment for motorcycles, mopeds and scooters.

  • During the surface dressing season, avoid storing granular material at the roadside which could spill into the carriageway.
  • Before reopening a surface-dressed site to normal traffic, road sweepers must completely remove excess material. This should be repeated to remove material dislodged by traffic. Failure to do this can lead to skidding and serious abrasive injuries to riders.
  • In order to give all motorists clear warning of roadworks, use and maintain signage in accordance with Chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual. Loose chipping warning signs must be prominent.

 www.motorcycleguidelines.org.uk

Halfway Solution

  • Stone chippings should be properly rolled in.
  • The excess stone chippings are removed promptly.
  • Enforcement of other vehicle drivers.

The Solution

The practice should be stopped and roads that require resurfacing, are resurfaced correctly.

This is probably not achievable as it is common practice, it is probably cost effective and it only affects a minority of road users, in this case vulnerable motorcyclists, though not forgetting cyclists.

However to use an old adage, if the jobs worth doing, it’s worth doing right!

Tell Us About It!

We want to hear your opinions on this practice email us at info@righttoride.co.uk

Send us you pictures to info@righttoride.co.uk

Or leave your comments below!

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  1. Has anyone raised a petition against this. Or someone with the know how “law rights etc” could we get enough backing.

  2. Seems that we are getting off road chipping and onto other basic road design disasters.

    Maybe they could be another matter to be discussed on the forum and this one can be left to run its course as a stand alone.

    In England its the responsibility of the DfT to look after the motorways and trunk roads[ not local ones] and therefore they maybe the organisation that should be petitioned in order to change things.

    I have no problem with the proper putting down of what may seem a temporary road surface as such providing it is done properly and with conscious regard to the damager it may cause to any twv.and that inc;ludes pedal cyclists

    It would at least be a lot better than the potholes and lack of grip that ensues with loss of grit and/or old age. My main bike now has to have new oil seals on the front forks every 3 yrs instead of 7 or 8 due to the poor maintenance we have to suffer.

  3. Hi Niel

    Over here in Northern Ireland it is the Roads Service that look after the………….roads.

    I am not aware of any concrete sections of motorway here and our motorways are mainly like super dual carriage ways, with the major exception out and into Belfast on the M2.

    The M27 sounds a delight 🙁

  4. I wouldn’t mind it being dry and warm here for a while either!

    On a related matter, do you suffer with the Highways Agency doing other forms of ‘window-dressing’?

    The M27’s concrete sections were ‘milled’ and this has resulted in tramlines (deep trenches due to mis-set cutters) and the 1/2″ inter slab joints ended up being 4″ wide overbanded tyre grabbers, not much fun I can tell you.

  5. A problem for all vehicle users…………

    Re the Daily Echo article, I wish we had that weather in Northern Ireland at the moment – even just for one day.

  6. Surface dressing over un-repaired roads hides dangers, the other problem I’ve found this year is double layering on the center line of single carriageways, dangerous for overtaking, and between lanes on multi-lane’s making filtering a nightmare.

    Even my 110 Land-Rover twitches if I change lane over the ridge formed by this!

    Then this happens too: Daily Echo Article

  7. There is more than one organisation in the UK. Apart from the Motorcycle Action Group, there is the British Motorcyclists Federation – both of which do excellent work at local level with councils.

    In Northern Ireland there is the BMF and Right To Ride (ahem, ahem) and a local group of MAG UK in Ballymoney, while in the Republic of Ireland there is MAG Ireland. So plenty of opportunities to get the message through to the right authorities.

    In Northern Ireland the authorities responsible for all roads is the Dept for Regional Development (DRD) Roads Service and our experience is that where possible they do try to accomodate everybody and if not, are willing to discuss and review procedures.

  8. Allen. What we need is an organisation dedicated to the welfare of motorcyclists and one which would fight for our rights to be heard.

    Oooops. we already have one. Its called MAGs or Motorcycle Action Group. However I think that they are seen as an aggressive collection of radical motorcyclists [ the truth is far from that but perceptions are everything] and as such the Government defend themselves vigorously or pay little heed.

    I would suggest that in some circles [ not mine] those in Mags are seen as Anarchists and that doesnt do us or their members any good.

    More is got by licking than biting, my mother used to say but do we have a voice other than Mags.?

  9. allen dunlea says:

    All this talking about this problem isnt going to solve the problem we need to look for the next step thats what we should talk about anyone with any ideas.

  10. bob craven says:

    Got to say… there has been a plethera or A and B roads covered in this way in last few weeks locally and lo and behold I have had no problem with them .

    Obviously being on my bike I was concerned when the signage went out, you know the ones, loose chippings and speed limits. But the contractors must have done something right cause I found no excess loose gravel. I wasnt there when they were actually working but they must in my estimation have rolled it and brushed it.

    I have to say well done to the road makers of North Lancs…

    A job well done

    And that accolade doesnt happen very often, if ever.

    Goes to prove there is a first time for everything.

  11. bob craven says:

    Recommendations for surface dressing from the Institute or Highway Engineers paper as follows;-

    The consequences of loss of grip are usually more severe for motorcycle riders. Loose grit and gravel are a major concern for riders and routine maintenance should be planned to reduce the amount of this debris left on the road.

    The following acition points are worth adopting:

    During the surface re-dressing season storage of granular material at the roadside, which could then spill into the carriageway, should be avoided.

    Before re-opening a surface-dressed site to normal traffic excess material should be completely removed; failure to do this can lead to skidding and serious abrasive injuries to riders.

    Its down there in black and white and has been with us as recommendations only or suggestions on how to leave such a road surface after surface dressing has taken place.

    Surely then if someone suffers harm or injury as a direct result of some neglegence then they should or could be liable for compensation.

    THis report can be read in full . it makes very good reading and by knowledgible persons working for the Institute of Higheway engineers. Am suprised that itys members dont take heed of it more often.

  12. Surface dressing isnt going to go away sadly, we are working with our local authority to publicise well in advance the roads that are planned to be treated at least giving bikers the opportunity to simply avoid these roads if possible until the material has bedded in.

    It’s not a perfect solution but it’s a step in the right direction.

  13. Received vis email;

    Hi

    I’m furious about this practise, its been going on now in my area of town Beaumontleys in Leicester for while, they recently dressed a road called Anstey lane in May, within 2 weeks alot of the dressing had been flicked up, where does it end up?

    I’m looking at my car and the wheel arches are covered in the stuff, there is stones all over the paths too, this practise needs to be stopped. Now this week 15 july just 2 months on they have come back and re dressed Anstey lane, what a joke, what are the councils playing at, I now refuse to drive down there whilst the stones are loose.

    I have a nice car and I’m sure the council don’t give a damn about it, but i’m sick of paying my road tax and getting a raw deal, it’s about time this government stopped this bodge it and scarper culture, everythings done on the cheap, not cost effective is it. Get the job done properly like they used to in the 70’s & 80’s shut the road down ripp it up and put down a decent hard core and relay a good top coat of tar, they used to do it years ago so they can do it now.

    Nigel

    Leicestershire

  14. Emailed to Right To Ride:

    I think that stone chip dressing is a dispicable waste of taxpayers’ money and a serious hazard to a significant proportion of road users.

    It may be cheaper than doing a ‘proper’ re-surfacing job, but certainly in my local area, once a road has been tarred and chipped once, it has to be re-done almost every year, as the surface wears off so quickly.

    It is also no cure for potholes, it has been a menace for clogging up roadside drains, and I have personally had to have two new windscreens because of chips thrown up by other vehicles.

    I ride a motorcycle, and to come across a freshly tarred and chipped road is a nightmare, not only as the surface ‘moves’ under the wheels giving a sensation similar to riding on ice, but the chips thrown up damage paintwork, radiators and light lenses.

    I would vote to outlaw this cheap-skate practice and save the money for proper re-surfacing where it is needed.

  15. So now we have the less chance of rain haha. we will get our new, pristine road surface that will look better and have more grip, other than the 3 to 6 weeks it takes to bed in and then any further time for the contractors to come back and maybe, just maybe earn there monies by sweeping it.

    During that time we have to suffer as prevously stated and for what, so the local authority can save monies. never mind the human cost if someone should come to grief. of the rider and the riders family that suffer just as a result of the local authorities inability to maintain the roads in good and viable order

    Its about time some organisation criticised any local authority that was putting down such a possible death trap.
    surely they can be stopped by some law or EU regulation regarding failure to protect the public.or by putting down a road surface on the Highway that was detrimental and injurous to a minority section of road users.

  16. Over on our FaceBook page we said – Is it us or maybe it is on the season but there does not appear to be a lot of road repairs using the practice of stone chip dressing?

    Well we spoke too soon – Roads Service Surface Dressing Programme for Cookstown and Magherafelt

  17. I think that stone chip dressing is a dispicable waste of taxpayers’ money and a serious hazard to a significant proportion of road users.

    It may be cheaper than doing a ‘proper’ re-surfacing job, but certainly in my local area, once a road has been tarred and chipped once, it has to be re-done almost every year, as the surface wears off so quickly.

    It is also no cure for potholes, it has been a menace for clogging up roadside drains, and I have personally had to have two new windscreens because of chips thrown up by other vehicles.

    I ride a motorcycle, and to come across a freshly tarred and chipped road is a nightmare, not only as the surface ‘moves’ under the wheels giving a sensation similar to riding on ice, but the chips thrown up damage paintwork, radiators and light lenses.

    I would vote to outlaw this cheap-skate practice and save the money for proper re-surfacing where it is needed.

  18. I quite agree and have complained bitterly to some local authorities re such reckless road surface treatments. As u say it is false economy as it lasts only a quarter of the years a properly re surfaced road would.

    However providing that we are considered only 1 % or all traffic in terms of volume absolutely nothing will be done about it.

    Its that same old arguement re say passenger airlines, the manufacturers and operators know that there is a specific problem but the cost of putting right the problem is far to expensive when considered against the cost of insurance payout for death or serious injury.

    In the meantime we have to suffer.

    There maybe hope,however, in that as cycling is becoming the be all and end all of the green side of politics and is receiving much more government support and finance [by licking rather than biting,] then maybe, just maybe we can support them, afterall we are cousins of a sort, and by supporting them maybe they can complain.!!!!!!!

    [ does anyone know of a cyclist that is in the lobbying business?]

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