Cycling UK reaction to £100 million boost to tackle potholes

Cycling UK believes councils should receive enough funding for regular planned road resurfacing
Road surfacing happening in Stoughton, Guildford
Road surfacing happening in Stoughton, Guildford

Cycling UK reaction to £100 million boost to tackle potholes

Cycling UK has responded to the Government's announcement of an extra £100 million for pothole relief by saying while welcome it is "too little, too late".

Responding to the Government’s announcement of a further £100 million for pothole repairs following the recent severe winter weather, Sam Jones Cycling UK’s senior campaigns officer said:

“Any funding which will help improve our roads is welcome, but it does not change the fact it is still too little too late. Giving money simply to fill potholes is the same as if a doctor had put a broken leg in plaster before setting the fracture. The bone is still weak, poorly healed and more likely to break again and the same can be said for our roads too if we persist in just funding patchwork jobs rather than full scale road resurfacing.

“Cycling UK’s research published on Sunday has shown the true cost is a human one as people cycling are suffering from personal injury and in the worst cases even dying. The Government should concentrate on fixing the underlying problems of our current local roads network before building new ones. Councils need enough funding to adopt long-term plans for roads maintenance, as repairing streets only as they become dangerous can only ever be a short-term solution.”

Cycling UK, which runs the pothole reporting webtool and app Fill That Hole, published its findings showing local authorities have spent at least £43.3 million dealing with compensation claims and legal costs due to potholes over the last five years.

The cycling charity points out compensation claims and legal fees alone, not including staff time, from the 156 highways authorities is equivalent to 17 percent of the Government’s five-year Pothole Action Fund of £250m allocated announced in April 2015.

The findings are based on an investigation conducted by Cycling UK who submitted Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to 212 Highway Authorities in the UK, of which 156 responded. The FOIs included questions on the amount of compensation paid out to cyclists and motorists, the number of successful claims by both groups and the amount authorities spent on legal fees between 2013 and 2017.

Key findings for the five-year period show:

  • Authorities on average incurred costs of £277,707.44
  • 670 cyclists and 30893 drivers had their claims accepted
  • Motorists received on average £841.26 per successful claim
  • Cyclists received on average £10,963.15 per successful claim
  • £9,980,158.74 was spent on legal costs

According to Government figures, since 2007, 390 cyclists were killed or seriously injured due to poor or defective road surfaces.

Full breakdown of the findings, images and case studies available in Dropbox.

Contact information 

For more information contact the national Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email publicity@cyclinguk.org

Notes to editors 
  1. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org
  2. For further information on the Government announcement see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pothole-fund-boosted-to-repair-roads-after-winter-damage
  3. FOI responses not received yet from Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure Roads, Transport Scotland or Transport Wales.
  4. For further information on Cycling UK’s Fill That Hole go to: www.fillthathole.org.uk
  5. In April 2016, the Department for Transport announced its £250m Pothole Action Fund to help 100 English local authorities https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cash-for-councils-to-fill-almost-1-million-potholes
  6. According to Government figures, since 2007 390 cyclists were killed or seriously injured due to poor or defective road surfaces. For further information on the number of people killed or seriously injured while cycling see the below table and https://www.cyclinguk.org/press-release/390-cyclists-killed-or-seriously-injured-2007-due-potholes
Year Reported Cyclist Fatalities Reported Cyclist Serious Injuries Total KSI
2007 2 15 17
2008 0 18 18
2009 1 29 30
2010 6 25 31
2011 3 42 45
2012 3 41 44
2013 1 38 39
2014 1 55 56
2015 1 45 46
2016 4 60 64
Total 22 368 390
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