Now this is a petition that I’m sure most cyclists will support. Surface dressing, or “top dressing”, is the practice of sealing and “protecting” a road surface with tar that is then covered with gravel. This loose gravel is then gradually compressed into the road surface by passing traffic.
Personally I hate this way of resurfacing roads because it is so unpleasant – and sometimes dangerous – to ride on. The gravel is loose for weeks and months after it has been spread on the road, increasing the risk of skidding. The gravel is particularly prone to accumulating at the edges of the road meanign that you have to cycle close to the middle of the road than you probably would otherwise and increasing the risk of coming off your bike if you should have to ride over it. Passing cars that should in theory be doing only 10 or 20 mph fly past sending gravel towards you and your bicycle.
Even once the gravel has become embedded in the road, the end result of top dressing is usually pretty bad. Any imperfections and undulations in the surface tend to get accentuated by surface dressing but also be less visible, meaning it is more difficult to spot bumps and crevices in the road.
Well one guy got so sick of surface dressing that he has started a petition on the UK government website. Christopher Caswell’s petition has, at the time of writing, amassed over 12,600 signatures. If 100,000 are reached by the end of March 2015 the question will be discussed in arliament. No guarantee of a ban, but at least it will raise awareness and let the government and councils know that we are not happy with surface dressing! If they can resurface some roads properly, why not all of them?