Holes will cost millions to repair, and councils need to know about new ones

After the severe weather comes the thaw (well, for some of us) and with it a large increase in potholes caused by frost.

Across the country, cyclists getting back into the saddle after the Christmas food frenzy are finding unpleasant surprises in the tarmac that weren't there before the freeze, there were certainly plenty of new holes on the roads around road.cc towers.

Among the contenders for worst post-Christmas roads are ones in Sussex. According to the Brighton Argus, gaps have appeared in numerous roads in Brighton and Hove and around the rest of the county.

And with more cold temperatures predicted for later this week, cyclists and drivers are being warned to take extra care on the roads.

Roads campaigner Steve Percy, from the People's Parking Protest, said councils needed to act now to prevent more damage in the future. Potholes are a particular problem for cyclists particularly after cold weather when new and unexpected ones can appear on regular routes catching out even the most experienced rider and leading not only to damaged bikes but serious injury too.

Earlier this year we reported on the case of a cyclist who won £7,600 in damages from West Berkshire County Council for injuries caused by a pothole. He was helped in his fight for compensation by the CTC. The cyclists' organisation has a long running anti-pothole campaign Fill that hole! and a website www.fillthathole.org.uk where you can report any holes spotted on your ride the relevant councils are then notified. If a council has been notified of a pothole and that hole subsequently causes an accident the council is liable for damages.

Becky Reynolds, campaigns officer for the Brighton and Hove cycling campaign Bricycles, said the condition of roads were causing concerns among members.

Extreme weather created hundreds of pot holes across Sussex in February 2009, leading to a repair bill of more than £2 million for East and West Sussex county councils.

Brighton and Hove City council, which is responsible for fewer miles of highway than the county councils, spent about £50,000 on repairs.

* Have you had a bike-related pothole disaster this week? Let us know, and send pix of the worst offenders and don't forget to let www.fillthathole.org.uk know too