As a result of experiencing road conditions and other travel hazards, I must recommend to all readers; that for their own safety and the safety of their possessions, that they should avoid travelling any of the roads in the State of Alabama for the foreseeable future.
Safety is a paramount concern whenever a rider slings a leg across their motorcycle for a ride. There are many components to actual safe riding. Some of those various components reside with the rider. But, some do not. The road conditions in a particular State may, on average, either contribute to rider safety or it may prove a distinct hazard.
Infrastructure maintenance takes two distinct forms. One is a proactive approach to maintenance and the other is a reactive approach to maintenance.
If a State is far down the scale to being merely a reactive maintenance of infrastructure, then not only is the time and money required to move themselves back into a positive position extremely high; it is highly unlikely, that in any near term a State can marshal the resources necessary to move that measurement needle back to a proactive state.
Think of the old sayings: “An ounce of medicine is worth a pound of cure”. Or “Pay me a little now or a whole lot more later….your choice”.
Sometimes; as has been witnessed in the State of Alabama, the repairs themselves represent a monumental hazard to motorcycle riders. One example is the placement of massive smooth 1” thick steel plates to cover up damaged holes in bridges or other concrete structures. Even with adequate warning the type of hazard that is present, in addition to any amount of moisture on a smooth steel plate, is only surpassed by icy road conditions. Yet, these are the type of repairs seen throughout the State of Alabama.
Conversations with senior Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) officials assured me that they are trying to make up for lost time in repairs and referred me to anticipated projects in 2012 and 2013. Of course, by the time those projects are addressed other areas have been neglected and are in disrepair. It is thus a vicious cycle.
Having travelled all over these United States and many of the Provinces of Canada, Alabama stands out as the most egregious offender in the area of infrastructure maintenance. Alabama has shifted priorities from infrastructure maintenance to adding to their Highway Patrol force.
All we at U.S. Rider News can do is place you on notice. As the Editor says at the end of his dialog for each issue of the magazine “Ride Safe”…….we must understand the components to those two words. They are far greater in magnitude than our “cage driving” friends. The skills and attention to environment necessarily approach those of a good airplane pilot.
As a pilot, I learned as rule number 1, the ultimate safe operation of my craft was MY responsibility.John Turner U.S Rider News Contributing Writer
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