Cyclists report 7,000 potholes in less than three months

Cash-strapped councils struggling to maintain crumbling roads

Cyclists across the UK have flagged more than 7,000 potholes to local authorities in the past two and a half months, after ice and snow took its toll on the national roads.

The figure comes from the CTC, and corresponds with a survey from the Asphalt Industries Alliance, which reported today that 2.2m holes were patched by local authorities in 2012 – a 30 per cent increase on the year before.

Victoria Hazael, spokesperson for CTC, told Bikeradar the organisation had received about 6,000 reports via their Fill that Hole service in January and February, and a further 1,000 half way through March – possibly a result of the freezing weather in January and more cyclists emerging to take advantage of the recent drier conditions.

She said: “Normally if we’ve had lots of ice, lots of snow and lots of flooding we tend to see peaks because that’s what really damages the roads. Legally, once a local authority or someone who owns the land like the Highways Agency has been informed of it they have to go and inspect it.”

She said cyclists could log potholes via its app, which noted the location of the hole and notified local authorities or the highway owner of a need to make an inspection.

Hazael added: “Our plea to cyclists is not just to cycle past a pothole. You may have seen it this time but if it rains the cyclists behind you will just see a puddle and may hurt themselves.”

Last month the Daily Mail reported Lincolnshire Police were investigating what role a pothole had played in the death of Christian Brown while he was riding.

Rutted roads – an area of common ground for cyclists and motorists –also led to an increase in car insurance claims.  The AA said its insurance services claims to its insurance arm due to pothole damage had doubled.

The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), the body representing the companies which produce road surfacing materials said local authorities spent £133m a year patching up rutted roads in 2012. It said £10.5bn needed to be spent by local authorities to bring the country’s road network into ‘reasonable condition’. 

However, the Local Government Association, which represents councils all over the country said authorities ‘may find it impossible to keep on top of road repairs’ if there are further cuts to their highways maintenance budgets. 

Even cycle paths have been hit by bad weather. Sustrans has launched an appeal after the bad weather in 2012 took its toll on the National Cycle Network, which is facing ‘essential maintenance on an unprecedented scale’.

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