Monday, 3 February 2014

Street vandalism - who pays?

This morning, riding along Moyser Road I noticed this damaged bollard. It's unlikely to have been placed at that angle by 'bored youths'. Those foundations are pretty good. My bet is that someone in a car or a van has driven into it.

What get's my goat about this, is as follows.

To the best of my knowledge, we all pay for fixing broken street furniture through our council taxes. So far, so good, but only a certain type of local individual has the ability to damage street furniture like this. That is, people who are driving cars, vans, lorries or buses around locally.

With 45% of local households not owning a car, seems to me a bit unfair that we all pay for the damage that a subsection of our community causes.

Then I wondered, if our council ever makes a claim against the drivers insurance when there is clear evidence that they have driven into, and damaged street furniture. FOI request has been sent off to the council. Questions posed are:

1) Has Wandsworth Council made any claims against the insurers of drivers who have damaged street furniture as a result of a crash or collision that the driver has been involved in? (Please look at the past 3 financial years)

2) What is the cost of replacing or repairing damaged street furniture (as a result of crashes/collisions) each year? For ease, could you please supply the figures for the past 3 financial years.

3) If no claims have been made against the insurers of drivers who have damaged street furniture, could you confirm that the cost of replacing or repairing the damaged furniture has been met from the general public purse.

I choose not to drive around locally, as do many other residents in Wandsworth. Why should we, and those drivers who aren't incompetent have to pay to pick up the pieces from drivers who damage our streets? 

If no individual driver can be identified, why can't a claim be made in the same way that happens when an 'accident' happens involving an uninsured vehicle? 

Damaged street furniture is all over our borough. Take a look the next time you are out and about. 


  1. If a driver hits a bit of street kit, they are required by law to report it. Many don't and we all get to pay for it!

  2. It's worse than that - check with your local authority and ask how much they pay out to motor drivers for damage done to vehicles by street furniture

  3. Hi Paul, bit confused there. You seem to be suggesting that the local authority has to pay out if people drive into street furniture and end up damaging their vehicle? Pretty staggering if that is the case.

  4. There's a fair amount of street furniture in Westminster that regularly gets wrecked by inattentive drivers or just because of road layouts encouraging people to drive irresponsibly.

    There's a pedestrian refuge on Kensington Gore outside the Dutch Embassy (irony alert) that while is made of granite kerbs, the reflective signs are designed to be destroyed on impact (obviously to prevent damage to the vehicle rather than the street furniture).

    My point is, in the last year i've seen the aftermath of this furniture being destroyed at least three times, and at least one occasion of a motorcyclist having hit the unlit base of what remains of the refuge and having had a high speed tumble:

    The problem is two fold, irresponsible drivers, and engineers designing fallibility into their kit so as not to aggrieve motorists. I too would like to know how much all this costs us.