Cycle-SOS actively encourage the uptake of cycling and, as cyclists ourselves we firmly believe that cyclists have the right to be safe on our roads
There has been a phenomenal increase in the uptake of cycling in recent years and at Cycle-SOS we’re hopeful that this will continue, opening up the many benefits of cycling to a wider audience.
Cycle-SOS is committed to safer cycling – but there remains ‘the pesky pothole’.
A pothole is fixed every 21 seconds in England and Wales according to the Local Government Association.
Potholes have become a source of increasing annoyance to all road users with over half a million potholes reported to local authorities in 2017. Most road users find potholes a nuisance, however, those most affected and most at risk of having a life-threatening run-in with a pothole are cyclists.
What is being done to fix the problem?
A recent report by the RAC Foundation, highlights the lack of consistency between local authorities when dealing with potholes. In Lancashire, actionable potholes will usually be repaired anywhere between four hours to 20 days, depending on the level of severity. For those in Calderdale, the most serious defects will usually be attended to within two hours, whilst less serious ones will be dealt with in an agreed timescale. Cumbria appeared to be one of the best authorities at responding to potholes with action being taken within three days for any potholes exceeding 40mm, with the most serious being dealt with immediately.
The danger of potholes
Regardless of how quickly an authority responds to the issue of potholes, it is evident that they still present an enormous danger to cyclists. The Department for Transport statistics show that 22 cyclists have died in accidents involving defective road surfaces since 2007. Let’s consider the mechanics of a pothole accident for a moment. When a cyclist hits a pothole, the front wheel generally comes to an abrupt halt lifting the rear of the bike and sending its rider head first over the handlebars, although any loss of balance is likely to cause a dismount. The cyclist falls towards the road surface with some force and there is a real risk that they will break a bone or sustain head and facial injuries. The risk is only amplified if there happens to be a vehicle in the path of the cyclist.
Potholes can cause severe injuries and cause a risk to life. With this in mind, Cycle-SOS is raising awareness and continues to campaign for safer roads, to make cycling safer for everyone.