Frost breaks: Inevitable but risky

Safety risk for motorised two-wheelers

Photo: ifz

Driving on many roads by scooter or motorbike is often equivalent to a slalom ride at the moment. It is about bypassing frost damage. Winter has added a lot to Germany's roads, which puts two-wheelers in particular at serious safety risk. The Essen Institute for Bicycle Safety (ifz) provides tips on how to protect yourself and others.

For more than six million drivers of motorised two-wheelers, the current state of road is a serious risk in many places. After the last rather mild winters, Father Frost has struck a little harder this time. The consequences will still be felt by motorcyclists at the beginning of the season. We are talking about frost breaks, which sometimes create smaller, sometimes larger holes in the road surface. While the potholes in multi-lane vehicles usually only lead to an unaddressed vibrator, at worst to damage to the tyres and chassis, two-wheelers can be destabilized by the hard and sudden impacts in such a way that a fall is the result.

Ifz's experts are aware that the relevant road construction authorities are active in this regard. Matthias Haasper, head of ifz, points out, however, that many temporary repairs are only a temporary solution. "Even already filled holes in the road surface should continue to be critically monitored by motorcyclists and scooter learners and the driving style should be adjusted to this, especially in cornering areas."

Because potholes and patchwork can cause serious hardship for single-track vehicles, the ifz draws the attention of drivers of motorized two-wheelers to this problem via many channels. The following should be noted for the next rides:

Remedy 1: Read the street!
Motorcycle and scooter riders are generally anxious to take note of the condition of the section of the track in front of them and to "read" the road. Right now at the beginning of the season, they should take into account the appearance of frost-related potholes and take appropriate precautions. The sooner a pothole is detected, the greater the chance of being able to dodge it. It is important to maintain a safety distance that is more than sufficient to vehicles that are ahead, which otherwise obscure the view of the road. Beware when the front man makes a sudden evasive motion. He could turn a pothole around!

Especially on winding routes, on which one can only recognize or see the further course late, one should be careful and rather go off the gas. Rumbling straight through a pothole may still be a bad thing, in an inclined position the risk of falling is much higher. Incidentally, this also applies to the well-known house route. Here, too, winter may have caused new road damage.

Remedy 2: Don't panic!
Those who can no longer avoid a pothole should not panic, but should remain focused on the inevitable and actively "work along": Do not cramp, but still tightly grip the handlebars and, if possible, intercept the impact with a balancing body movement.
If it has rappelled properly while driving through a pothole, the scooter or motorcycle should then be inspected and, above all, examined for damage to the tyres and rims as well as to the spring elements (suspicious noises).

Remedy 3: Report damage!
The ifz has been critically following the development of transport infrastructure for decades and is actively campaigning for safe roads. Known potholes or other road damage that is dangerous to motorcyclists should be reported to the competent authorities so that the danger area can be quickly removed. Our registration service makes a contribution to this. There are several ways to do this.

- ifz reporting sheet
You can download and fill out the hazard notification form on the Internet. Incoming notifications are forwarded by ifz to the local competent authority.

- "MOTO" app
The claims report is even easier via our free app "MOTO". Simply fill out the form via smartphone, possibly attach a photo of the place, and submit it to the ifz at the touch of a button.

- ifz-RoutesHeld
In order to inform not only the authorities, but also the entire motorcycle community about road damage and other danger spots in their area, the ifz has sent the track hero to the start. On the interactive road map, two-wheeled pilots can mark a danger point in their region on a PC or via an app or, conversely, find out about dangers that others have already put on the map.

The respective app is available free of charge via the Google Play Store for Android as well as in the App Store (iTunes) for iOS.