A road safety advocate is calling on the authorities to urgently repair the increasing number of potholes on the country’s roads, warning that they are safety hazards.
President of the Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) Sharmane Roland-Bowen insisted it was time Government got serious about rectifying the situation.
“It is not only a defect in the road; we also see it as a hazard to motorists,” she told Barbados TODAY.
“Not all persons scan the road as they drive, and they come upon these potholes at the last minute and the first instinct is to swerve to avoid landing in these potholes, and by doing that they can cause a collision; they can cause the car travelling behind to run into the back of them or they can swerve and hit someone.
“So we need Government to see the dangers that these potholes do pose and find some treatment for them,” she added.
Roland-Bowen said while the patchwork that was being done was “a good start” – even though acknowledging that a downpour would quickly wash out the filler – there were too potholes were left.
The BRSA head added that because of the large number of potholes on certain back roads, motorists were avoiding them and opting to use the major thoroughfares, putting “a major strain” on the highways.
Roland-Bowen contended that if the minor roads were fixed, then traffic congestion on some of the major roadways would be eased.
“We would like to see areas that have some of the . . . ‘potwells’ – because they are no longer holes, they become wells – identified so that persons know they are coming up; whether they use reflective painting or some sort of identification so that persons will be alerted to the fact that there is a danger there and you need to slow down,” she further suggested.
“We not just want to look at the potholes; we want to look at the congestion. We know what congestion leads to. It leads to stress, it leads to aggressive driving and it can also contribute to road rage and we know what can happen on our roads,” Roland-Bowen added.
She also pointed out that while motorists were required to pay road tax on time, far too often vehicles were being damaged by the potholes and owners had to wait too long for compensation.
“Every year they have to be paying road tax. Some of these vehicles’ [road tax is] $1,600,” Roland-Bowen said, contending that given the hefty sums they paid in road tax, drivers deserved better maintenance of the roadways.
“Where is all this money going? Take some and repair the roads. We need these things to happen. We need better roads, we need safer roads and Government [is the only one] that can do that.”
Although acknowledging that Government had a lot on its plate, Roland-Bowen’s wish for the New Year was for the authorities to include provisions to make the roadways safer and “more traversable for all road users” in their plans.