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Exploring the phenomenon of pothole trauma (PHT)

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The punch was like a solid hit to my kidneys. It left me feeling like I was sucking my next breath through a straw. If I wasn’t riding a Winnipeg transit bus on city streets during pothole season, I swear I was a combatant in an ultimate fighting championship ring.

Are our city streets, after the pothole gestation period, in worse condition this year than past?

I feel the incidence of pothole trauma is higher. Pot-hole trauma (PHT) is the bone-crunching sensation my body experiences as a vehicle I’m in passes through the space time continuum of a pothole. The feeling is surreal. PHT is mostly delivered in a car but the condition has expanded, and can now be experienced on transit buses.

Bus riders at my day job have discussed some strategies for riding a bus during pothole proliferation season that may help to reduce PHT.

Passengers must be aware of where they sit on a ride. If seat selection puts a rider over a wheel hump on a bus with missing suspension  he or she could be in need of chiropractic attention at their final stop. Male riders should consider jock straps for added security. Standing magnifies the risk of contracting PHT.

I also have some concern for the bus drivers in our community. What are the ex-fighter pilots who now drive buses to do?

In their former lives, the vehicles they piloted may have been catapulted from the decks of aircraft carriers or caught on an arresting wire on the ships’ decks for instant stops on short landing strips.

Those same manoeuvres are not possible with roads infested with potholes. The rapid acceleration and deceleration of a bus loaded with commuters on a cratered road surface can only contribute to an increase in PHT.

I wonder if the city has considered pothole bus repairs as a source of revenue. If the city repaired the streets, they could use the money saved from unneeded bus repairs as capital to repair roads. Sort of like cold fusion except with for infrastructure revenue.

And I really feel for the riders on those buses labelled Out of Service. That route goes all over the city and seems to pass every stop I am at. I can only image the PHT of the passengers on those rides.

Sean Conway is a community correspondent for St. Vital.

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