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"Thought I'd sort it out before a cyclist went through it!": Public-spirited local fills in pothole... council arrives an hour later to fix it

Devon County Council said it "cannot condone" DIY road repairs, confirming the concrete was dug out and the 20cm-deep hole repaired...

An Exeter man filled in a dangerous pothole outside his house in a bid to keep road users safe, only to spot a team of council workers sent out to repair the hole an hour later.

Paul Jackson said the roads near where he lives on Whipton Village Road are a "joke" and told Devon Live that he was fed up with hearing about how the hole with a depth of 15-20cm had damaged someone's car and had "become a safety concern for cyclists".

Last month, bodybuilder-turned-actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger added pothole repair to his CV, fixing a California hole outside his home. "After the whole neighbourhood has been upset about this giant pothole that's been screwing up cars and bicycles for weeks, I went out with my team and fixed it," Arnold said at the time. "I always say, let's not complain, let's do something about it."

Arnold Schwarzenegger pothole repairing (Twitter/Arnold Schwarzenegger)

On a similar line, Mr Jackson said it "shouldn't be down to us to fill in our own potholes" but asked "at what point does it become a safety concern for cyclists, motorbikes and damage to vehicles?"

"The pothole had damaged someone's car and had been reported by many people to the council. It was just a really bad pothole and was like it for weeks," he told the local news website.

"I'd had enough of driving into it and I'd read people claiming on damages to their cars on the Whipton Community Group Facebook page so thought I'd sort it out before a cyclist or motorbike went through it. I used a couple of bags of cement to fill it over.

"Lots of people passing were making positive comments but also mentioning the state of their road and potholes yet to be fixed. I believe someone may have contacted highways to report someone filling it in as they came about an hour after to fill the hole."

Shortly after he had finished filling in the hole, "two trucks and half a dozen workers came to cut it out and fill it back in".

"Was it a strange coincidence? They filled the other holes in the same area on different days bizarrely," he added.

A Devon County Council spokesperson urged residents not to carry out work on public roads. 

We cannot condone work being carried out on public roads without consent and anyone doing so is putting themselves and other road users at risk. This pothole was reported to our highways teams on Tuesday, May 2, and they repaired it on Wednesday, May 17, digging out the concrete before carrying out the repair.

We have additional crews carrying out pothole repairs across the county and they have filled more than 23,000 safety defects so far this year.

Potholes and the state of Britain's roads is a near constant discussion point within the cycling community, with crash injuries and fatalities highlighting the seriousness of the situation.

On January 2, 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, died after the front wheel of his Claud Butler bike got stuck in a deep crack in a rural Lancashire road, throwing him off and causing serious injuries.

Mr Colledge's wife Valerie called on the government and local authorities to do more to repair the UK's "woefully inadequate" roads, a sentiment also expressed by Mark Morrell, a leading pothole campaigner dubbed Mr Pothole, who called the road defects a "dangerous menace".

"I am sick to death of hearing from government and authorities saying repairing potholes is a priority then do very little to tackle the issue of our failing roads network," he said.

Pothole graffiti (supplied by reader)

> "Same question every winter": Cyclists slam "disgraceful" state of Britain's pothole-covered roads

In February, South Lanarkshire District Council's insurers agreed to settle a claim with an 80-year-old cyclist, offering compensation, after he suffered fractures to his face and spine in a crash caused by a pothole that Cycle Law Scotland discovered had been reported to the council and subject to temporary repairs a number of times, which failed on each occasion.

The local authority initially denied liability, until the law firm highlighted that the council's own records showed a history of road defects at the location, including immediately prior to John Johnstone's crash, and that as a result "the council could not possibly argue that they had not been aware of the issues."

In October, we reported that 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.

> Dangerous pothole that caused fatal cycling crash was reported multiple times without action

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.

Dan joined 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, 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.

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