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Dozens of cyclists a year injured by minor potholes

What can be done about holes the council say are 'too small' to fix?...

Nearly 100 cyclists a year are injured by potholes that the council deems too small to fix, leading to calls to invest in Britain’s roads.

Figures from the Department for Transport, analysed by the Times, show that “poor or defective” have led to 467 cyclist injuries over the last five years.

The paper highlighted the case of Iain Turnbull, 59, who was left with concussion and cuts after going over his handlebars on a pothole.

He was refused compensation by North Yorkshire county council, as the road had been inspected a week earlier and ‘no defects’ found.

The pothole that caused the injury was only 3cm deep.

Mr Turnbull said: “The councils are just not held accountable. Surface conditions are pretty dire. You have to be very aware of what you’re riding on. Road conditions are certainly getting worse.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “We are giving councils record levels of capital funding — more than £7.1 billion up to 2021 — to improve local roads and repair potholes. It is vital councils spend this to keep roads in good condition to keep all users safe, especially cyclists.”

Martin Tett, a transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: “Councils are doing all they can to make sure that our local roads are as safe as possible. They’re filling a pothole every 19 seconds, and take road safety extremely seriously.

“However, it would take councils £12 billion and more than a decade to tackle our current road repair backlog. Only funding from central government can help bridge the gap.”

Earlier this year we reported how new analysis indicated the repair bill for potholes could reach £14bn within two years. To reverse the trend, the Local Government Association (LGA) is calling for the Government to inject a further £1bn a year into roads maintenance.

The LGA cites the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s (AIA), annual ALARM survey, which says the overall repair figure has grown from £9.8bn in 2012 to £11.8bn last year. It is projected to rise to £14bn by 2019.

The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, says such a figure would be more than three times councils' annual spending on highways and transport, which is currently £4.4bn.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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