A Yorkshire cyclist has repeated an invitation first made 25 years ago to the local councillor responsible for roads in Wakefield to join him on a tandem bike ride to experience for themselves the extent of the West Yorkshire town’s pothole problem. Despite being taken up on his original offer in 1987, Brian Law says nothing has changed in the quarter century since then.
“Everybody is talking about the state of the roads,” he told the Wakefield Express. “It really is quite bad and you can’t go for more than 100 yards or so down the road without hitting a pothole.
“They are a danger and some of them are really severe,” he went on. “I have still got a tandem and I thought I would revive the challenge and see if they wanted to take it up this time round.”
After he issued his initial challenge in 1987, Councillor Mike Chandler took him up on it and said afterwards: “I have learned a lot today about bike riders’ problems,” highlighting the impact of road works carried out by utility companies and the risks posed by sunken manhole covers.
Mr Law, now aged 69, singled out Batley Road close to where he lives as having being especially poor when it came to the state of its surface due to potholes.
“There is one in particular that is really deep,” he said. “I could put a dozen eggs in it. Nobody seems to be doing much about it. I don’t think they appreciate what a danger they are, even as a driver.”
He added that he has found springs from car suspensions that have been broken after being driven over the potholes, adding, “I come across them often.”
The council’s current service manager for highways, Graham West, told the newspaper: “Batley Road is included in our highways maintenance programme for this coming year.
“This will involve patching of the existing carriageway and then next year the full length of the road will be resurfaced.
“This road, like all roads across the district, has been inspected every year to ensure it is of a safe condition for both motorists and pedestrians.”
There was no news of whether he would be taking up the offer to go on a tandem ride, although he did add: “I would be more than happy to speak to Mr Law to discuss any further concerns he may have.”
One thing of course that has changed in the past quarter of a century is that you can now report potholes and other road defects requiring attention via CTC’s Fill That Hole website and mobile app.
Currently, Fill That Hole reports that Wakefield Council has repaired 15 of the 175 potholes logged on the site, a rate of just 8.82 per cent, compared to a national average of 29 per cent.
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.