Letter: Slippery resurfaced roads not just affecting horses

David Moorse speaks from experience when he says it’s not just horses who are having problems with slipping on Isle of Wight roads resurfaced by PFI contractor, Island Roads.

Smooth tarmac

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below. This from David Moorse. Ed

A week ago, I was taking my usual exercise on my bike, and despite it having rained earlier in the day, the road surfaces were dry, although it was just becoming dusk, so there may have been a small amount of dew beginning to form.

I was approaching the Military Road from Brook Village along one of Island Roads’ lovely smooth new tarmac surfaces (normally a delight not to have to avoid the potholes), and was slowing down gently for the turn left onto the main road when, without warning I instantly lost all traction and hit the deck.

With hindsight, the smooth surface did have one benefit, in that once I had impacted the surface, I slid… and slid… and slid. The surface was SO smooth that no damage was done to my clothing!

Unsure as to whether anything was broken, and in excruciating pain, I remained in the road for a while, during which time I was MOST grateful to the two motorists who kindly stopped to check I was OK.

I now have first-hand experience of what some horse-riders have previously mentioned regarding the very slippery nature of the new road surfaces, and wonder what it will take for these warnings to be heeded, or perhaps we all need to potter around at extremely low speeds, as even ABS cannot stop a car if there is little or no friction.

Image: sufw under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 5th December, 2014 6:41pm


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Filed under: Brook, Letter to the Editor, Top story

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12 Comments on "Letter: Slippery resurfaced roads not just affecting horses"

newest oldest most voted
Hi David, I too fell off on a new surface going into Godshill from Whitwell on a straight section and in a similar way to you, slid along the road a long distance also breaking my ribs. I reported my accident to Island roads, they did not contact me back at all, following the horse riders issues reported here I am currently composing an email to Andrew… Read more »
Rhos yr Alarch
Unfortunately the “smooth surface” is only a superficial indicator that the road is soundly repaired. I could liken it to a piece of fabric that is beautifully ironed, but actually full of small holes that will make the material unravel with use. If you look at most of the new surfaces (Lind Street in Ryde is a good example) you will notice many imperfections which are set… Read more »
retired Hack
I wonder whether, related to this anecdotal evidence from cyclists, there’s also a link between road surfacing and the noticeable recent increase in cars ending up on their roofs or sides in “one vehicle” accidents. Normally, in the absence of ice or surface water, you have to be going at considerable speed to achieve a long skid, followed by hitting something (e.g. a grass bank) and rollng… Read more »
retired Hack

ps: The police measure skid lengths in accidents to estimate speed. If it’s to be an accurate estimate, they should also measure the coefficient of friction of the road surface. I don’t know whether they do or not, but if they don’t they should be encouraged to.

If only Island Roads had a spokesperson responding here OTW to queries and conplaints by posters, just as several councillors do. If the current ruling group are prepared to face up to the (inevitable) flak, covering the huge spectrum of IWC involvements, surely IR can answer to their own work? It might be hard going, but like the cllrs here, they would perhaps also win some understanding… Read more »
Fred Karno
There is a real can of worms here I think. It appears that Island Roads are probably using a product known as SMA, (Stone Mastic Asphalt) to re-surface the roads. SMA is well liked by Local Authorities, because it is cheap, hard wearing, porous and minimises tyre noise. However, its slipperiness is so suspect that its use is apparently banned in some countries. The problem stems from… Read more »
retired Hack

I just trawled the internet briefly as you suggested, and the results are truly shocking. I’ve put in a Freedom of Informarion request.

retired Hack

A 2005 archived County Press report confirms that SMA was in use on the island then; that its slipperiness was being blamed for horse accidents; that in Ireland its use was restricted to roads with 30mph or lower speed limits; and that the Isle of Wight Council was considering restrictions here.

I do not believe it
The use of Stone Mastic Asphalt in some locations across the world has proved to be highly dangerous. I understand that it’s application is limited in those countries to only places where traffic is subject to a very low speed limit. Concerns have been raised in both the UK and Australia over the use of Stone mastic as, under certain conditions, it can take up to two… Read more »
Georgie (15)
I had a serious accident on my horse last year when the road from godshill to Shanklin was resurfaced. My 17.1hh horse, weighing about 1 tonne, fell on top of me after slipping on the new surface. A year and a half on I’m having to have my second operation to fix the bone she broke and still have no form of closure to my reach out… Read more »
Sadly, despite my initial optimism that I was just bruised, I now have a haematoma that the Dr described as “huge” – a large sack of fluid that has built up under the skin from the internal bleeding. The prognosis is that it will likely be months before it goes down, and there is the possibility that there could be permanent damage. The most important thing is… Read more »
Sorry to hear that David, I had a similar thing on my hip called a bursar after my accident, it has only just gone down after 3 months. Update from me, I have written to Andrew Turner referring to yourself & this article and to the original article about horse rider issues. I have stated that Island roads response is not acceptable and that danger clearly exists… Read more »