Friday, 1 April 2011

Fill That Hole!

Following on from my rant yesterday about potholes I feel it is time to up the timing of this post and provide you all with some additional advice on how to report potholes.

Why report a pothole?

A reasonable question but there are two very important things to know one legal and one political.

Legal – if you fall down / have and accident because of what happened when you hit a pothole you have no right to sue the local authority UNLESS the pothole has previously been reported to them. So if you want to make damned sure the lazy good for nothings, at your council pay if they damage you then you had better report that pothole on your route. This is what this app is all about – it make the reporting of a pothole incredibly easy. Nothing will scare the local finance office at the council more than the thought of paying for your recovery time off work, especially if you are in some high paying job – it is going to make their (over estimated) cost of £54 to fill a pothole seem like nothing! Once you have reported a pothole – then they know it is a claim waiting to happen and they are going to really up their game!

Political – every local politician wakes up in the morning and goes to bed at night dreaming of becoming an MP - where of course his great intellect and stunning oratory skills will be spotted, he will then be promoted to a Minister and eventually a grateful nation will make him PM and he will retire a Lord. Basically we know this to be a total dream, if the “cream of the crop” has become an MP so far, then why is it that ½ of them seem to have a problem stringing 3 words together in a speech without tripping up over themselves. Given this dream, it would be untenable for them to get unelected as a local politician, when someone reports a pothole it means they have a complaint, Local Politicians don’t like complaints, a complaint is a potential lost vote and too many of them equal their dream being shattered. You would be shocked how much effect even one person making a complaint at local level can have – I really advise you to give it a try.


Local budgets work the same as everyone else, they end on March 31st. Usually though probably not currently this means now is the perfect time to report that hole. Firstly the winter snow is over and the roads are damaged now, secondly and budget left over has to be spent before the end of the financial year, yes I know budgets are stretched , but road maintenance will have a separate budget  to welfare and if there is any leftover they will be desperate to spend it rather than give it back to central government. Thirdly, April all the coffers are filled again and it is best you get that money allocated to filling in the holes on your route before someone comes up with the idea of spending the money on building a new statue to Nelson Mandela with a two mile four lane new road leading up to it.


Let’s be honest here, we are all very busy and the last thing we want to do is sit there and mark potholes on a map, take photos of them and then find the right person at the council to report them to (which based on the average skill level of the usual temp at reception will mean you lose 4 hours of your life). Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to make this process efficient (I wish someone could find a magic pill to make the local governments efficient also).

Well the good news is – there is a way and it comes via this app called “Fill That Hole” You can read the full skinny on the app here.

Now I think it is currently only on the iPhone (there may be something out there for android apps). Just install this on your iPhone and then one sunny weekend – do the ride into work and stop and report all the potholes on the way. This app will log the position of the hole, enable you to take a photo of it and then with a press of a button it will make sure that it gets reported to the right council and person. Plus I guess more reasonably they will keep a log of all holes reported so the councils can’t pretend that they didn’t know about it should someone sue them.

Now we have a choice here – we can accept the worst roads in living memory – or we can do something about it before it is too late and someone face plants the tarmac at 30mph. Your action may one day save the life of a fellow cyclist, and this app at least makes it practicable and possible. So get this app and do something! And yes for once I am being serious.

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