We want to hear from cyclists and motorists: have you suffered due to a pothole? Is the condition our roads are in getting worse?
For now, though, it seems our pothole problem is getting worse rather than better. With our roads seemingly deteriorating, we want to hear directly from the cyclists and motorists they’e affecting.
According to the latest Asphalt UK survey, the number of potholes filled in the last year jumped by 24%, from 1.5 million in 2017 to 1.86 million in 2018.
It sounds like the situation is improving, but in England alone the number of potholes reported on roads controlled by Highways England increased by 46.6% from 2017 to 2018.
The cost to drivers
Despite the announcement of extra funding, and new innovations designed to speed up the process of fixing potholes, there are still plenty of bumps in the road – causing significant cost and potentially physical harm to the UK’s road users.
The AA estimates that there were over 4,200 claims for pothole damage in the five months to May 2018.
With an estimated average repair bill of around £1,000, that comes to an eye-watering £4.2 million, or more than £1m per month. Two thirds of drivers said that roads have ‘considerably deteriorated’ over the last decade, too.
But the numbers don’t capture the true cost of hitting a pothole – in some cases they aren’t just an inconvenience or a trip to the garage or call to your insurance company, they can cause serious injury.
If you’ve ever passed a group of cyclists on the UK’s roads, then you may well have heard the cry of ‘hole!’ go up as they speed past, alerting the cyclists behind to a potentially damaging pothole.
It’s a warning that’s taken seriously – potholes can be damaging to bikes, and often the cyclists that are riding them.
According to a Freedom of Information request submitted by Cycling UK in March 2019, the average pay out for cyclists after an incident involving a pothole was £8,825.93 over a five year period, compared to £338.88 per motorist.
The charity suggested that the vast difference could be due to the serious physical damage that can be incurred by cyclists.
According to Department for Transport figures, more than 360 cyclists reported serious injuries, caused by poor or defective road surfaces, between 2007 and 2016, and there were at least 22 fatalities.
Is funding falling short?
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced during the 2018 Budget that local councils will be allocated £420 million during this financial year so that they can attempt to fix potholes in their constituency – this is on top of an existing fund that is made up of close to £300 million.
But according to the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey 2018 (ALARM), £9.79 billion is the estimated one-time cost to get roads back into reasonable condition in England and Wales.
Even then, it would take 10 years to clear the maintenance backlog, so the current funding is falling short.
Cyclists and drivers: get in touch
We want to hear your experiences; have you reported a pothole in your area, and how quickly (if at all) has it been fixed? Has your car been damaged by a pothole incident, and what was the cost to repair it?
Do you think the condition of the roads is improving, or is it worse than in the past?
We also want to hear from cyclists and motorcyclists – have you had an accident or injury as a result of a pothole? Do potholes put you off cycling or riding a motorbike?