Will roadwork stone chippings damage my motorbike?

road surface dressing chippings

Published on 27 June 2016 by Robert Drane

Tags: , ,

Filed under Category: Tips and advice

Part-way through a smooth journey, you suddenly appear upon mysterious 20mph “advisory speed limit” signs. At first you hear a little patter against your bike, then quickly it crescendos to the roar and sputter of tiny stone chippings flicking up from your tyres.

These stone chippings are the final layer of road “surface dressing” – the maintenance technique used most frequently in the UK. While a huge £3.3 billion was spent on road maintenance between 2014-2015 (according to this government report), surface dressing means many more miles of roads can be maintained each year. It reduces costs and provides a great number of benefits including reduced potholes and risk of skids.


What is road surface dressing?

By adding a layer of chippings to the top of the road surface, the texture of the road is improved while sealing it from the weather’s damage. The benefits of surface dressing include reducing the risk of skids, fewer potholes and adding up to 15 years of life to a road.

It is also cheap and fast to complete, which means more roads can be maintained throughout the country. For every mile of asphalt resurfacing, 8 miles can be maintained and made skid resistant!


surface dressing in skyeWhy do these chippings remain on the road days after roadworks have been completed?

The chippings are left to settle naturally to make sure that there are no areas missed. After a week or so, any excess stones are then removed from the road.


But doesn’t it damage my vehicle?

It is important to note the advisory speed limits in place. Not only can stones flicked up by tyres damage your vehicle but there is obviously a chance of skidding on the loose surface material. The speed limits are in place to prevent this.


Why not just resurface it?

Resurfacing is not only more expensive but takes more time. Using surface dressing means that more roads can be maintained and the faster process reduces the disruption caused to traffic.


Watch the video below to find out more and the benefits to motorcyclists:


For more information, visit the Road Surface Treatments Association website.


Image right: By Glen Wallace from Inverness, Scotland (Surface dressing in Skye) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons