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10 cyclists have lost their lives in past five years in crashes caused by road defects

One cyclist a week is killed or seriously injured by defects such as potholes on Britain’s roads, according to the result of a Freedom of Information (FoI) request.

The request found that during the past five years more than 250 cyclists were killed or seriously injured due to crashes caused by poor road surfaces, reports The Sun.

In all, 10 cyclists were killed while a further 262 were seriously injured, according to figures from the Department for Transport.

In September, a coroner’s inquest heard that 47-year-old Alison Doyle of Maghull, Merseyside was killed in August last year when a pothole caused her to veer into the path of a car in Aughton, Lancashire.

> Cyclist died after pothole crash; council says it had no record of defect despite receiving four complaints

The inquest heard that Lancashire County Council, which filled in the defect on the same day as the fatal crash, had received four complaints about potholes in the location in the previous year.

The FoI request comes at a time when cash-strapped local authorities are struggling to repair road defects and are having to decide where to focus their resources.

Last week, for example, East Lothian Council decided that only potholes likely to result in death or to cause extensive, permanent harm would be treated as the highest priority, meaning they needed to be fixed inside 24 hours.

Earlier this year Cycling UK, launching its inaugural Pothole Watch Week, said that pothole claims from cyclists cost councils 25 times more to settle in terms of compensation and legal costs than ones from motorists do.

> Pothole claims from cyclists cost councils 25 times more than those from drivers (+ video)

It said that the average claim from a cyclist cost £88,000 to settle, with £45 million in total paid out during the past five years.

The average amount paid to motorists was £338 while for cyclists it was £8,825, with drivers being more likely to claim for damage to vehicles while in the case of bike riders, claims are more likely to result from bodily injury or even death.

Cycling UK has called on the government to focus on repairing existing roads before building new ones.

Speaking earlier this year, its CEO, Paul Tuohy, said: “Cyclists are running the gauntlet when riding on British roads following a decade of underinvestment leading to the poor state they’re currently in.

“Potholes aren’t just an expensive nuisance, they are ruining lives.”

He added: “Cycling UK wants government to adopt a ‘fix it first’ policy. Let's repair the local roads first – the ones we all use in our cars and on our bikes everyday – before building new motorways.”

The charity is also encouraging all road users to report road defects through its Fill That Hole website and app, which automatically informs the relevant highways authority of where defects require fixing.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.