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I thought that the roads were checked thoroughly for skid checks by companies who rent out their checking trucks to local authorities for fairly high sums paid for by the taxpayer. So don't the authorities react to the tests? Or are the tests a waste of time and money?
David Morgan, UK
MSA is apparently a very dangerous road surface for horses as they are not able to grip to it and are liable to fall over. As there are very few places where off road riding is an option, this road surface has the potential to place a considerable number of children, adults and horses at increased risk of serious injury. This is especially true where new surfaces are laid and information about the type of surface is not made widely available. The publication 'Horse and Hound' has had a number of letters on this subject.
Susan Speller, UK
I listened to the File On 4 about dangerous road surfaces and was appalled by the lack of comment from the DofT or the Highways Agency. Why not use the Freedom of Information Act to ask for all internal emails, correspondence, reports etc regarding the issues under question?
Thank you for your programme on 22 Feb highlighting the state of Britain's roads, and in particular the use of SMA. As a motorcyclist, cyclist, and horse rider I have been aware that it is a problematic for some time. Now that it is also affecting 'ordinary' motorists in cars I hope we will finally start to see a lessening in its use.
I also hope that those people investigating motorcycle accidents will look at all factors, including the surfaces involved, rather than simply blaming "born again bikers".
Nick Wallis, UK
If cars slide on this stuff, what's it like for motorbikes?
I ride a motorbike to work every day and this surface is truly, truly horrible. In the dry it's OK, but get the slightest bit of damp on it and it's like riding on ice. Over this last winter a number of key sections of my journey to work have been resurfaced in SMA and I feel really unsafe. I can't afford to run a car so this is my only means of transport. Please get it banned in the UK and let's get back to the lumpy knobbly stuff that tyres can grip!
Discussion with industry professionals reveals that a number of them believe SMA as used in the UK presents a danger. There are a number of significant differences in the process of laying the material between UK and European mainland use that may be worth following up.
File on 4: Dangerous roads: BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 22 February, 2005 at 2000 GMT.