A recent survey of UK cyclists has found that 21 per cent have been involved in an accident because of a pothole with 22 per cent of those incidents resulting in a personal injury. The survey also found that 88 per cent of cyclists had been forced into a dangerous manoeuvre by a road defect and that 63 per cent had suffered damage to their bike as a result of one.
The survey of over a thousand road users was carried out for National Pothole Day.
Other findings were that 46 per cent of cyclists see more than 15 potholes on their daily journey and that 69 per cent have had their journey disrupted because of them.
Almost a fifth of cyclists listed potholes as the most annoying aspect of their daily commute, ahead of inconsiderate drivers, punctures and road rage.
One respondent commented: “The problem with potholes and surface defects is they are usually repaired with substandard materials, or workmanship, with the result being in a few weeks or months, the repair breaks up and it's back to a pothole.
“About five years ago a 200-metre section of road was resurfaced – lovely – only within a week it was dug up in several places. Now it looks like a patchwork quilt. On a bike you need to weave to avoid the worst irregularities.”
The Telegraph reports that the UK’s roads rank 37th out of 141 countries according to figures from Global Economy, with a score of 4.9 out a possible 6.5 – just ahead of Rwanda.
According to the RAC’s Pothole Index, the situation is deteriorating too with the nation’s roads moving from a reading of 1.0 in 2006 to 1.44 now. The RAC says this means motorists are, "nearly one and a half times as likely to experience damage caused by a pothole as they were 15 years ago”.
‘Damage’ for cyclists is rather more serious – a 2019 Freedom of Information request revealing that one a week is killed or seriously injured as a result of defects.
The Asphalt Association calculates there is currently an £827m annual funding shortfall in the nation’s road repair budget.