Increasing numbers of cyclists are being killed or seriously injured on British roads and CTC, the national cycling charity, say that delays in fixing potholes are contributing to the problem. A spokesman for the Local Government Association says that a lack of funding means councils can currently only afford to patch roads and not properly resurface them.
CTC spokesman, Sam Jones, told The Times: “For cyclists, potholes aren’t mere inconveniences. They’re a real blight, where even the most minor defects can lead to serious, life-changing injuries.”
Department for Transport statistics show that 3,410 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in the 12 months to the end of March, compared with 3,383 a year earlier. While it is possible that the rise is at least partly due to increased numbers of cyclists, CTC are also keen to draw attention to the influence of the nation’s deteriorating roads.
The organisation highlights the case of Martyn Uzzell, who was killed during a charity ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats when he was thrown from his bike into the path of a car in 2011. A coroner’s inquest last year concluded that there was “no doubt whatsoever” that a 10cm pothole surrounding a drain cover was the cause of the fatal crash.
CTC's FillThatHole.org.uk website allows cyclists to log problem roads and is then updated when councils or cyclists report that a defect has been fixed. In some areas, only three per cent of damaged roads reported by CTC were said to have been repaired. The organisation says that 17 councils fixed only 1 in 10 problem roads while the majority (168) repaired less than half.
Peter Box, Transport Spokesman for the Local Government Association, said that councils fixed more potholes than ever before last year – one every 15 seconds. However, he emphasised that merely patching the surface wasn’t the best long-term approach.
“Current funding levels mean councils are only able to keep pace with patching up our roads and filling potholes rather than carrying out more cost-effective and long-term improvements.
“The amount spent on maintaining a mile of national road was 40 times higher than that spent on a mile of local road during the last Parliament. This disparity will do nothing to tackle the roads crisis we face as a country.
“Long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance is desperately needed to improve road conditions for motorists and cyclists."
Earlier this week, Google filed a patent that could see the firm building a constantly-updated database of pothole locations. Using GPS and vertical movement sensors, vehicles would log the location of major bumps in the road and upload the information to the cloud.