Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

"Out of control" potholes put cyclists in danger, as councillor blames "glitzy highways projects" for draining budget

The quotes come as the council revealed it had received 6,026 claims for compensation from road users since 2017/18 and paid out £778,671

Councillors in Oxfordshire from multiple political parties have spoken out about the ongoing pothole issues in the county, putting cyclists in danger and causing a large number of compensation claims from road users.

Oxfordshire County Council revealed that, in figures reported by the Oxford Mail, it had received 6,026 claims for compensation since 2017/18 until the end of July this year, paying out on 2,044 of those, amounting to a total of £778,671 paid out to road users who said they had suffered property damage by potholes or other road defects.

The council is run by a Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green Party coalition, although Oxford City Council's Labour councillor Linda Smith is one of the local politicians to have spoken out about the county council's pothole problem.

"Residents are particularly frustrated that it appears money can be found for more glitzy highways projects but the basics seem underfunded," she said, also mentioning that potholes are a "particular concern" for those riding bicycles who "faced the risk of injury when roads aren't maintained well".

She added: "I understand that resources are limited and budgets have many competing priorities but many residents in Lye Valley believe heavily used roads in the city need more investment in maintenance than they currently receive."

Pothole in Didcot, Oxfordshire (credit - Tim Masters)

[📷: Pothole in Didcot, Oxfordshire, credit — Tim Masters]

Conservative county councillor Liam Walker also spoke out on the issue. Cllr Walker may be familiar to readers of this website as he is the councillor who in 2020 resigned from his role as Cabinet Member for Highways Delivery and Operations after coming under fire for replying to a tweet which suggested cyclists should "f*** off over" to the Netherlands and that cyclists are "constantly w****** off the Dutch". "Well put, in a way people would complain if I said the same," Cllr Walker replied at the time.

Speaking now, on the issue of potholes, Walker said he was impressed by how many people had made pothole-related compensation claims.

"In the current climate with household budgets being so tight I feel for those who are having to pay for costs incurred due to the pothole not being repaired," he said, calling on the council to "focus on getting the basics right" rather than spending "£8 million [changing] speed limits to 20mph" rather than fixing "145,000 potholes".

A spokesperson for the council insisted it is monitoring "trends linked to road conditions and reports of potholes on a daily basis and deploys resource accordingly".

"We are working very hard to repair roads and tackle highway defects," the spokesperson said.

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

Add new comment

8 comments

Avatar
David9694 | 9 months ago
1 like

standard driver stuff - prioritise everything and absolutely anything over introducing 20 mph limits. In this case, fix all the pot holes we've helped to make... 

Some of them are terrified of this prospect - they must consider that they have so much to lose. 

Avatar
Bungle_52 | 9 months ago
1 like

How about we pause all new road building until we are able to maintain all the existing ones.

It may also be an idea to start taxing vehicles based on axle weight with the tax going to road maintainance. It could mean cyclists having to pay the tax but I can't see it being more than a few pence per year.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Bungle_52 | 9 months ago
0 likes

Bungle_52 wrote:

How about we pause all new road building until we are able to maintain all the existing ones.

It may also be an idea to start taxing vehicles based on axle weight with the tax going to road maintainance. It could mean cyclists having to pay the tax but I can't see it being more than a few pence per year.

Due to the nature of vehicle weight and damage to roads, it's not really worth taxing vehicles below a certain weight (pulling a figure out of the air - 2 tonnes) but there should be a road maintenance tax for heavy vehicles as they're the ones that cause the majority of damage. That would change the economics of logistics and public transport if the tax was sufficiently high to actually pay for road damage - double decker buses might become uneconomical if the tax was higher than paying for another bus driver's wages.

Avatar
David9694 replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
0 likes

If we paid say £10 year, working backward from all the driver whingeing that we pay £0 it would make cycling a lot pleasant and safer as drivers would respect us more.  "1.5 metres? Have 2.0", "Quality segregated infrastructure would benefit us all"

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to David9694 | 8 months ago
0 likes

David9694 wrote:

If we paid say £10 year, working backward from all the driver whingeing that we pay £0 it would make cycling a lot pleasant and safer as drivers would respect us more.  "1.5 metres? Have 2.0", "Quality segregated infrastructure would benefit us all"

That sounds like appeasement to me which almost never works. Also, a lot of drivers have very little conception of facts (e.g. road tax not existing), so even paying £10 won't make the slightest bit of difference.

Avatar
bensynnock replied to Bungle_52 | 8 months ago
0 likes

Is that weight of the bike alone or with rider?

Avatar
Sriracha | 9 months ago
0 likes
Quote:

claims for compensation since 2017/18 until the end of July this year, paying out on 2,044 of those, amounting to a total of £778,671

the price of incompetence? What would have been the cost of just fixing the potholes in good time?

Avatar
Doctor Darabuka replied to Sriracha | 8 months ago
0 likes

Oxfordshire have just been allocated an additional £3.7m for potholes this year so maybe they're taking the "commercial approach" that so many recommend for our local authorities.

Latest Comments