With winter well underway we marked National Pothole Day by asking you, our readers, for your thoughts on the state of Britain's roads. And while we posed the question fairly confident of the answer, the unanimous nature of the replies suggests no matter what corner of the UK you ride your bike, potholes are likely to be a problem...
There's a serious side to the issue of course. Just two weeks ago we reported the death of 84-year-old Harry Colledge, the former president of Cleveleys Road Club and a "much loved" member of the north west of England cycling community who died after the front wheel of his bike got stuck in a deep crack in a rural Lancashire road.
His wife, Valerie, has since called on the government and local authorities to do more to repair potholes on the UK's "woefully inadequate" roads, comments backed up by the response to our call out...
The big question is
Has there never not been a pothole crisis on British roads?
— Giz us a job m8 (@D_Bloke) January 15, 2023
Absolutely. It's double dangerous with all the heavy rain it's playing Russian Roulette with our lives and equipment. Councils ignore our pleas to get them fixed.
— Roger Watson (@deadllhead) January 15, 2023
There's more than one crisis in Britain right now, but potholes and road safety are definitely in crisis.
— FortyFouristheMagicNumber (@fouristhe) January 15, 2023
Same question, every winter…
— Rory McCarron (@CyclingLawLDN) January 15, 2023
You get the picture. In fact, of 53 comments we spotted clearly expressing an opinion on whether Britain has a pothole crisis or not, just two suggested we do not while 96 per cent believe there is. Hardly the most scientific research, granted, but the consensus of thought stands.
One reader called the roads where he rides, in Surrey, a "total disgrace".
[📷: Simon Kroner]
"Found this one yesterday full of water," he said. "Hit that at speed and it's going to do some nasty damage to car or bike and rider."
Notably that is the same county where, in October, we reported a coroner is to submit a report raising concerns about Surrey County Council's lack of action in repairing dangerous potholes, one of which caused a fatal cycling crash in June 2020.
Dr Karen Henderson said there had been a "lack of reflection by Surrey County Council", management of potholes had not improved and asked for better steps to make inspectors aware of complaints, risk assessments and better communication between the contact centre and highways department.
And it is not just Surrey where our readers have spotted the problem getting worse...
Wayne Reyneke: "Roads in Wales are just as bad. Spot the road amongst the potholes."
Andrew Barnes: "No crisis here in Poole, we have loads of potholes and more seem to be appearing everyday."
Steve Brill: "I'm constantly reporting dangerous pot holes here in Northamptonshire to the local council. Some are so big, you'd fall into an abyss!"
Mark Ternent: "Northumberland roads are no better, it's endemic in this country, not attempting to rectify issues, until they are too far gone to fix, absolutely shocking."
Nic Delves-Broughton: "The roads are f****d. Everywhere."
Chris Hill: "Somerset Roads are more hole than road. You have to ride round the remaining Road surface in many places. Pop over the border into Dorset and their roads are 'better' but not amazing. Getting worse rapidly."
Nick Bell: "I'm fortunate enough to cycle regularly in a range of Western European countries and every time I come home I'm shocked by how bad our roads are. We are way behind in the quality of road surface!"
Andrew Ebbage: "The roads in Derbyshire are a disgrace. The councils need to do more (County and City) but not just in terms of repairs. They have to be stronger in holding the service companies to account on the quality of their repairs after work has been carried out on the carriageway and also be more proactive in cleaning the roads of debris and clearing drains."
Meanwhile a reader from Edinburgh shared their local favourites, the latter on a brand new, yet to open, cycle lane...
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.