About the Author

author photo

Andy Smith is a former Police Motorcyclist with years of experience in motorcycle training at all levels. He offers training through 1stClassRider.co.uk, and ride outs through his newsletter blog right here. To contact Andy click here.

See All Posts by This Author

Non Slip Man Hole Covers……… ? and Lots of Other Stuff !

Riders Get To Grips With Manhole Covers

Carriageway manhole covers, especially on bends, can present a potentially lethal danger to motorcyclists but this could all change if revisions to the European Standard for them, proposed by the UK, is agreed.

It is well known that over time some manhole cover surfaces become smooth and polished and if wet, very slippery, but thanks to the work undertaken by the National Motorcycle Council i.e. The British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF), Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers (IHIE), Motor Cycle Industry Association MCIA, Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) RAC Foundation and Devon County Council, the UK committee working on the revision of European Standard EN124 have agreed unanimously to recommend a minimum ‘polished skid resistance value for manhole covers’.

This will give manhole covers the equivalent grip of good quality road surfacing but in addition, the suggested revised standard also allows for the use of an even higher grip cover in areas of greater concern, such as bends.

The work was brought about due to a lack of effective skid resistance requirements for manhole covers in the present standard, BS EN 124. This is of particular concern as manholes to allow access to underground services are often found on bends, a location where motorcyclists can be particularly vulnerable due to a sudden change in grip when cornering.

The next stage will be to address this matter at a European level to gain support and agreement from the other countries. Achieving this should lead to a change in the EN124 standard and a safer European-wide road network for bikers.

David Short, MAG Campaigns Manager said, “The Government is always talking about joined up thinking in support of road safety and the work undertaken by these different organisations just show what can be achieved when everyone works together. It is the simple measures that can make so much difference and save lives. The European and UK Government now need to show some leadership, effect a change in the skid resistance standard and make our roads safer for vulnerable road users.

Welcoming the agreement, Chris Hodder, the BMF’s Government Relations Executive said: “I would like to thank Devon County Council’s Material’s Laboratory and the IHIE for their work on this. As motorcyclists we know we need a level of skid resistance equal to that of the main carriageway, but what we needed was a technical specification and that’s what we have now been able to agree on.”

Sheila Rainger, Head of Campaigns for the RAC Foundation added “No-one needs to be put at risk by a slippery manhole cover in the road surface. Safer covers are available but they are rarely used because the current European Standard does not require covers to be skid-resistant in real-world conditions. If the UK is successful in amending the standard, the roads will be safer for motorcyclists and for other vulnerable road users.”

See, I told you it was interesting……

Just a tip. Don’t forget it’s better to avoid them completely in the first place. So remember how ‘target fixation’ can lead you out of trouble just as much as it can lead you into the hazard, (or ‘over’ in the case of man hole covers). You go where you look, so look where you want to go.

Just another question. What is the politically correct name for a Man Hole Cover.

Can we also call them Women Hole Covers !!! (Now that conjures up a different kind of image all together).

I’ll stop now……….

Also, the Motorcycle Action Group are currently campainging to have VAT removed from protective motorcycle clothing. Already Helmets are VAT exempt and ‘MAG’ are arguing that motorcycle clothing which carries the CE safety mark should also be VAT exempt.

You can support the Motorcycle Action Group by joining. The fee is just £20 per year for a solo membership. The benefits are extensive. They are fighting for your rights so join the fight.

Just Call 0800 988 3190

Buying New Gear?

For anyone just starting out and looking to buy some cheap biking kit why not visit your local Lidl store from the 20th of March. Once again they are selling biker gear at really cheap prices. Waterproof CE approved jackets from £59.99. Trousers to match for £49.99. Flip front helmets at £39.99 and gloves at £12.99.

I can highly recommend the biker socks at just £2.99. I wear a pair myself, although you would never know to look at me!

Also Tank bags, locks, bike to bike radios, fish fingers, prawn salads. (Oh sorry that’s the next page in the leaflet). It’s worth a look.

For the month of March Hein Gericke have removed VAT from all their batteries. (I think they mean bike batteries and not a pack of triple A’s for your remote control). So if you need some extra power, get it tax free from Andy and the gang at Hein Gericke, Cardiff.

If you don’t know where Hein Gericke is, its; opposite the Old St. David’s Hospital. If you don’t know where the Old St. David’s Hospital is, well….. it’s opposite Hein Gericke. You can’t miss it!

Somewhere to Eat ??

The ride out to Pilleth on Sunday was excellent and we were lucky enough to miss most of the rain. Some fab roads, great company and a local pub lunch well worth traveling for.

We stopped at ‘The Hundred House Inn’. Which is in Bleddfa and no where near ‘Hundred House’.

The new proprietors are very biker and car club friendly and have renamed the pub ‘The 100MPH House Inn’.

The food portions were definitely Big Fat Biker Sized and not expensive. So big were the portions,that Rob from Bristol didn’t even manage to get to the dessert menu. Normally a must for him!

Also my thanks to all those who came on the ride out and donated a total of £52 for the NSPCC. Cheers Chums.

Next Ride Out.

The next ride out will be on Sunday the 13th of April and this time we are going in search of the Source of the Mighty Thames.

The Thames rises in the corner of a field near Cirencester in the Cotswolds and meanders it’s way all the way on to the opening titles of ‘Eastenders’.

So we are going to find the field but rest assured there is an appropriately named and located pub for lunch.

Meeting times and locations will be confirmed neared the date.

A long Blog, I know, but lots to say. Please also remember you can add your comments at any time on any posts so please let me know that you are out there and I’m not just rambling on my own.

Cheers All.

There Are 2 Responses So Far. »

  1. What about non slip mud, the old sphincter got a bit loose Just after Erwood Station when the front wheel took a dive towards the hedgerow, I don’t know what saved me all the knowldge Andy passed on to me or shouting out for Gods son. Great Rideout to Pilleth I’ve put some photos on flickr just paste the link.


  2. Hi Andy

    Great ride out to Pilleth on Sunday. Good to see where the the Welsh ‘beat off’ the English. At times like that I prefer to think of my Welsh heritage and upbringing (is that the right word?)and not the Bristolian/Englishman I seem to have become.

    Look forward to the next ride. Will it be the 200mph pub to better Sunday’s monster portions of food.
    Be lucky and look out for the manhole covers. Or should I say don’t look out for the manhole covers but rather for the line to avoid them?

    David Gough. Bristol

Leave a Comment