UK Pothole Crisis is putting Cyclists at risk of Death or Injury

Posted Mar 18, 2020.

New data from Cycling UK has laid bare the extent of the UK’s ‘pothole crisis’ and the impact it is having on cyclist’s safety and potential for injury when using the road network. The charity, which aims to support safe and enjoyable cycling for all, has recently published research showing that less the 15% of councils are meeting the current timescale targets for pothole and road defect repairs.

Using data obtained via an FOI request from 85 local authorities covering 2015 to 2019, Cycling UK found that only 10 had made appropriate repairs in the required timescales. The top performing authority, Worcester County Council, made almost 140,000 repairs on time. This contrasted with the worst performer, Wakefield County Council, who only managed to fix around 3,000 potholes out of a total of over 21,000.

Cyclists Killed or Injured

Cycling UK said that its findings have underlined the need for additional, long-term government funding to address the issue. Statistics from the Department of Transport show that between 2007 and 2018, 448 cyclists have been seriously injured or killed as a result of potholes or defective road surfaces. However, this number may well be far higher as such incidents are only recorded if the Police attended the scene. In March’s budget, local councils have received a boost in funding as part of the Governments ‘levelling up’ project, with the Chancellor committing an extra £2.5bn (which is in addition to the current £5.3bn pothole budget) to tackle the estimated 45million potholes on the UK’s roads.

The danger of cyclists hitting potholes was clearly illustrated following an incident where a triathlete was badly injured during a competition in Nottinghamshire in 2018.  Kevin McAuley, 49, hit a pothole which resulted in him crashing into a ditch, suffering broken bones and a severe head injury which kept him in hospital for 6 months, including 3 weeks in intensive care. 2 years later, he is still undergoing a programme of physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

In commenting on the findings, Cycling UK’s Campaigns Manager said:

Whilst Boris Johnson talks about levelling up infrastructure, the reality is that millions of miles of roads in the UK aren’t even fit for purpose, and cyclists are being put at risk every day

Local authorities and Councils are supposed to prioritise repairs, with the deepest potholes or ones on the busiest roads being prioritised to be repaired within 24 hours. Repair timescales for shallower potholes or those on minor roads usually should be repaired within 3 months.

Cycling Injury Claims Advice from Bakers Solicitors

At Bakers we pride ourselves on our experience in representing claimants who have been injured by an accident whilst cycling through no fault of their own, helping them to receive compensation that they are properly entitled to. 


Our professional, friendly team will give you an honest, free and ‘plain English’ appraisal of your claim and we love delighting our clients when they receive injury compensation they deserve. If you would like us to handle your personal injury compensation claim, you can contact us online or by phone on 01252 744600.