The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has called on car drivers to pay extra attention to cyclists looking to avoid potholes as the nation emerges from the cold snap that covered Britain in a blanket of snow earlier this month.
In a press release issued by the IAM, Neil Greig, the organisation’s Director of Policy and Research, said that “as well as worrying about your vehicle, with potholes being a major cause of suspension failure, drivers should be particularly conscious of cyclists and motorcyclists trying to get past a pothole and give them a wide berth.”
Mr Greig added: “They are entitled to a wobble and would appreciate not having a motorist attempting to overtake just as they avoid a hole in the road.”
He advised that cyclists and motorcyclists alike should “look well ahead and change direction early so they have time to deal with the holes, and so that their movements don’t cause surprise to other road users.”
Potholes become particularly prevalent after spells of icy weather when water penetrates cracks in the road and expands as it freezes, causing cracks in the tarmac.
Other advice to drivers regarding potholes from the IAM includes leaving adequate space behind the car in front to ensure that potholes can be seen, checking tyres afterwards if you do hit a pothole, and avoiding making sudden movements after spotting one so as not to take other road users by surprise.
The IAM advises that since potholes are likely to reappear in the same place, road users should take a mental note of where they saw one in case it recurs.
Last year, we reported how cyclists’ organistion CTC had helped a cyclist win £7,600 in damages from West Berkshire County Council following injury sustained after hitting a pothole.
CTC has a longstanding campaign against potholes called Fill That Hole!, supported by a a website, www.fillthathole.org.uk that allows you to register any potholes you may spot while out riding your bike, with details then notified to the relevant local authority.
Should a local authority be notified of the existence of a pothole and fail to rectify the situation and that pothole is subsequently the cause of an accident, the council concerned may be liable for damages to the injured party.
As the snows have receded, local authorities have started counting the cost of the works that will be needed to repair potholed roads. Earlier this month, we reported how Cardiff City Council had spent more than £1.2 million repairing 9,000 potholes during 2009.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.