‘Decent roads are vital for a thriving city’

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NEVER mind the words “fuel duties to rise” or the “ping” of a car’s low oil level warning . . . there’s something which every motorist dreads hearing even more.

That’s the loud “clunk” of wheels as they hit a pothole, creating a few seconds of panic that serious damage may have been done – and will have to be paid for.

As we report today, more and more people are finding that’s exactly what is happening on Edinburgh’s roads. And more and more of them are claiming compensation from the city council as a result.

In the year to the end of September no fewer than 379 drivers had made such a claim – and 66 have been successful so far. If all claimants received compensation the bill might exceed £83,000.

The fact that the number of claims more than doubled last year may be in part down to our increasingly litigious culture.

But there can be no doubt that it also points to more potholes and other problems with our roads.

This is not unique to the Capital as the repeated heavy freezes of recent winters have undoubtedly been the biggest factor of all.

Indeed, local transport chief Gordon Mackenzie points to the additional money that has been pumped into road repairs in recent years – £72m since 2007.

But the bottom line is that if recent weather trends and increased numbers of vehicles on the roads continue, even more cash will be needed, as decent roads are vital for a thriving city such as ours.

Rather than reaching for their lawyers, drivers can play their part by driving sensibly to minimise wear and tear – and cautiously so they have time to avoid those potholes which do inevitably appear.

Still game

IT’S not only Labour Party leader Ed Miliband – who has been mocked for his love of his childhood ZX Spectrum and Rubik’s Cube – who will get excited about the idea of a retro computer games club.

An awful lot of the male population of Edinburgh will be keen to reconnect with their “inner nerd” and relive the joys of Manic Miner and Chucky Egg.

It would be too cruel to point out that it is some of their fellow computer geeks of the 1980s who helped Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to conquer the world. But at least a reunion will give those dads a chance to show off some long-forgotten skills – and prove to their children that their teenage years were not completely wasted.