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Title: Claim due to overbanding?

Date: 08 March 2016

Q.

Last Sunday, I was riding my bike along a wet country road in North Wales and was negotiating a bend when my bike lost traction and I was flung off into a nearby ditch. Fortunately I was able to pick myself up and when I went to inspect the road I noticed that the road had recently been repaired and the seal at the edge of the repair looked much wider than what you usually see. I took pictures of the sealant which was about 3 inches wide.

It turns out I hurt my shoulder quite badly and I was wondering whether I am able to claim for my injury and the damage to my bike?

Tim H, Wrexham


A.

Depending on the type of road, the local council or the Highway Authority are responsible for maintaining the road surface and all repairs. Authorities often contract this work out but the contractors have a duty to make sure the road repairs comply with statutory requirements and repair guidelines.

The seal around a repair, known as overbanding is recognised to be a potential accident risk to motorcyclists particularly on longitudinal joints because it can cause skidding. If wider than 20mm, then the material used for the overbanding is supposed to have a grit like substance added to provide adequate wet skidding resistance, and it should never be more than 40mm wide or 3mm thick.

If the overbanding where you came off was 3 inches wide then it clearly exceeds the recommended width and it also sounds like it may not have had the anti-skid protection. If can prove that the overbanding did not comply with these requirements then it would likely be considered a hazard and you may well be able to bring a claim against either the authority or the contractors for misfeasance and/or negligence.

To prove your claim you may require evidence from a highway expert witness. Such experts are not cheap so whether it is a reasonable expense will depend on the likely value of your claim.

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