Happy National Pothole Day!

With council budgets under increasing downward pressure, how safe are UK roads for cycling?

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Cycling UK, which runs the pothole reporting webtool and app Fill That Hole, has expressed its alarm and concern at what appears to be a steadily worsening trend, with 64 cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI) in 2016, compared to 17 in 2007.

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Between 2007 and 2016, 22 people cycling have died and 368 have been seriously injured due to the poor state and maintenance of Britain’s roads.

Commenting on the latest figures Sam Jones, Cycling UK’s Senior Campaigns officer said:

“Cycling UK is incredibly concerned to see what is clearly a trend on the up showing more people being killed or seriously injured while cycling, all because our roads are in a shocking state. Unfortunately for cyclists if they hit a pothole, then it’s not just a costly repair bill but also a strong possibility of personal injury or in the worst cases death.”

These latest figures were published by the Department for Transport in response to a parliamentary question submitted by Hornsey and Wood Green MP, Catherine West.

The casualty figures issued by the DfT rely upon STATS19, a reporting mechanism based on incidents recorded by the police. The cycling charity therefore believes the casualty stats will only present a snapshot of the problem caused by potholes, as not all cyclists will report their injuries to the police.

Following years of hard winters and hot summers, the UK’s local roads are widely recognised to be in desperate need of national investment, with the Asphalt Industry Alliance estimating it will take 10 years and £12bn to make them safe again.

“It’s clear the UK has a pothole problem and it won’t be cheap to fix, but given the cost to human life the country is not investing enough,” said Mr Jones. “Current estimates suggest it will cost over £12bn to fix our roads, but the Government’s committed only £6bn up till 2021. The Government’s cycle safety review is due in the very near future – fixing our roads first must therefore be a priority, not just for cycle safety but every other road user too.”

The charity also points out that while local and regional roads are falling into a state of disrepair due to inadequate national funding, the Government is investing £15bn in motorways and trunk roads up till 2020.

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Continuing, Mr Jones said: “Cycling UK wants to see the Government adopt a fix it first policy. Let’s mend the roads everyone uses every day before spending money on building new motorways and trunk roads.