Only 39% on dual carriageways are up to standard

Road markings are, perhaps not surprisingly, in the same crumbling state as the actual road surfaces in much of Britain, according to the Road Safety Marking Association (RSMA) in fact on many roads they are disappearing altogether.

In their report, Driving Without a Clue the RMSA says that after assessing over 1500 miles of motorway and A-roads, the RSMA has issued a report which states that just 29% of the single carriageway A-roads surveyed had white lines which reached the acceptable level of visibility.

The section of the report that will be of most concern to cyclists is what it has to say about the state of markings on Britain's rural A roads. Two thirds of all the nation's road deaths and serious injures occur on these roads – rural roads also account for the highest proportion of cycling casualties too.

Of the more than 1,000 miles of minor A-roads the survey looked at, on average 14% of road markings were said to be completely worn out and a further 15% were in immediate need of replacement.

The RMSA report highlighted some particularly poor stretches of road. 

"On one of the worst roads in the survey – a five-mile section of the A6135 between Ecclesfield and junction 36 of the M1 (Hoyland) – three-quarters of the markings are either barely visible or need an immediate schedule for replacement and just one per cent make the grade. Two other sections of road have nearly half their marks worn out: the A645 in Yorkshire/Humberside and the A509 in Northamptonshire."

The major A-roads and motorways represented 470 miles of the survey sample but even here 20% fell below the minimum specifiable standard and should have been scheduled for replacement, while 8% had centre line markings so worn that they were barely visible.

A total of 39% of markings on dual carriageways and 38% on motorways made the recommended rating used by the industry. But the report said there had been a significant drop in the quality since 2008, when 69% of markings on dual carriageways reached this grade and 49% on motorways.

While poor road markings are perhaps less of a contributory factor to accidents involving vulnerable road users than other issues, any decline in the overall condition of Britain's roads will inevitably be a source of concern for the nation's cyclists.