When you strap on your helmet and hop on your bike, you expect to enjoy the ride and get some exercise. What you do not anticipate is getting injured because the city where you bike failed to maintain the roads.
Every year, bicyclists sustain serious injuries because of unmaintained roads and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that 2% of motor vehicle crash deaths every year are bicyclists. The following hazards caused by unmaintained roads are particularly dangerous to even the most experienced bicyclists.
Potholes occur because of insufficient road fixes as well as long-term wear and tear on the road that results in surface breaks. To prevent serious bicycle accidents, the city or entity responsible for maintaining that road should provide sufficient warning about the pothole by blocking off the area or putting warning signs near the area.
Pavement cracks wide enough for bike tires to slip into can cause sudden and injurious falls. On the Neon to Nature Bridge, for example, intended joint cracks allow the bridge to shift during temperature fluctuations, but these cracks are dangerous for bikers. And even though the city of Las Vegas fills these cricks with a special epoxy, this material becomes dangerously slippery during warmer periods of the year.
Bike tires can get stuck in sewer grate bars if the city places them in the same direction as traffic. Cities should partially cover sewer grates on roads with crosshatch safety bars to prevent accidents and injury.
City planners should take bicyclists into account when planning roadways and safety measures for all motorists and vehicles. If you get into a bicycle accident on an unmaintained road, you may suffer serious physical, mental and emotional injuries.