Highway and Drainage Products Ltd  © 2013

Introducing the market leading

Factors in highway safety, that require a new solution


In recent years general highway safety has improved considerably, not only from innovation in car safety, but also from better highway design, signage and anti skid road surface dressings at accident black spots. However manhole covers have remained unchanged, a slippery metal surface in the road.    

At particular risk from slippery manhole covers are motorcyclists and cyclists, the British Motorcycle Federation (bmf) is very active as are the Motorcycle press in pressing the Government and Highways Agencies to come up with a solution to this killer issue.    

As recently as 7th March 2009, a petition promoted by The Motor Cycle News and bmf was submitted to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, stating

If you are a road user or even a pedestrian you may have noticed that manhole covers in the wet are very slippery. I propose that the government should take action to prevent accidents on these death traps on the road by either treating the manhole covers on the road with a material similar to those used at zebra crossings to give extra grip, or to replace them with covers that have the same grip as the surrounding road. All car drivers would have experienced the slight control wobble while driving over one on a corner, as for motorcyclists driving on one in a straight line can cause control problems while braking and on a corner these metal covers are nearly 100% lethal to a motorcycle or cyclist especially in wet conditions. I therefore petition that this should be changed to stop accidents especially for motorcyclists, who are so much more vulnerable on the road.

ROSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) in their Ride Safe publication state – under the heading ‘The 5 most common motorcycle accidents’ – which highlight under the sub-heading Road Surface conditions:


Among the Department of Transport’s many goals, road safety is always paramount.  A strategy was devised to protect road users which set out the accident reduction targets to be achieved over the next 2 years.  

The BSI are actively promoting that a revised European standard for manhole covers includes minimum skid resistance values, it is unlikely this clause will be approved by the standards committee members from mainland Europe as they see it as too big a change to the market place. However the UK seems likely to go alone on the skid resistance clause either by an addendum to the standard or by Highway Legislation.

we the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to replace with or apply gripped surfaces on manhole covers to give grip in wet conditions, for motorcycles and other road users, copy enclosed.