Almost 400 cyclists in Great Britain have been killed or seriously injured since 2007 due to crashes caused by potholes. The figures have prompted Cycling UK, which says that casualties are on “a steadily worsening trend,” to urge the government to take action.
Today is National Pothole Day and the charity, which launched the Fill That Hole website and smartphone app in 2010, is calling on the government to double spend on repairing road defects from £6 billion to £12 billion.
Under figures released by the Department for Transport in response to a question from Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West since 2007 some 22 cyclists have been killed and 368 seriously injured as a result of “poor or defective roads.”
Cycling UK points out that while 17 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in 2007, a decade later, in 2016, the figure stood at 64 and it believes the poor state of Britain’s roads and insufficient money being allocated to fixing them is to blame.
Sam Jones, the charity’s senior campaigns officer, commented: “Cycling UK is incredibly concerned to see what is clearly a trend on the up showing more people being killed or seriously injured while cycling, all because our roads are in a shocking state.
“Unfortunately for cyclists if they hit a pothole, then it’s not just a costly repair bill but also a strong possibility of personal injury or in the worst cases death.”
Since the figures are based on police STATS19 reports, Cycling UK believes that they only provide a “snapshot” of the issue and that the full extent of casualties among cyclists will be higher since many incidents will not be reported.
The Asphalt Industry Alliance says it will take a decade and £12 billion to make Britain’s roads safe, and Jones continued: “It’s clear the UK has a pothole problem and it won’t be cheap to fix, but given the cost to human life the country is not investing enough.
“Current estimates suggest it will cost over £12 billion to fix our roads, but the Government’s committed only £6 billion up till 2021.
“The Government’s cycle safety review is due in the very near future – fixing our roads first must therefore be a priority, not just for cycle safety but every other road user too.”
Highlighting the £15 billion being spent on motorways and trunk roads to 2020, he added: “Cycling UK wants to see the government adopt a fix it first policy. Let’s mend the roads everyone uses every day before spending money on building new motorways and trunk roads.”
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.