Local roads have become a “death trap” as warnings are sent about pothole increase

Poor maintenance of UK roads is being blamed for the death and serious injuries of cyclists as concerns are raised about a predicted spike in potholes following the cold snap which gripped the country last week.

The warnings come as figures published by the RAC show pothole related breakdowns have already doubled following last week's blast of freezing weather. Freezing water in road cracks when the Beast from the East struck has broken up surfaces, the road organisation has said as it marked National Pothole Day.

The number of serious cycling accidents caused by crumbling roads has also hit the highest level in almost ten years. Cycling UK claim that 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. 64 cyclists were killed or seriously injured (KSI) in 2016, compared to 17 in 2007.

Commenting on the statistics, Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “This tragic toll of cyclists killed is far worse than we thought. We had earlier raised our concerns of deaths among cyclists after a coroner’s report saying that new Department for Transport road maintenance guidance would lead to more riders’ deaths.”

The RAC has raised concerns that following recent bad weather the condition of roads will worsen further.  The RAC say it received an average of 218 call outs for pothole related issues, this is compared with 104 from 1 February to 3 March.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “While the snow caused serious short-term travel disruption, motorists will sadly be suffering its consequences for months and possibly years to come as our roads were already in a poor state of repair before the extreme cold weather hit. Unfortunately, Siberian weather was the last thing our roads needed as the freezing conditions wreak havoc with any road surface that is in bad repair. We fear that this Spring we may see the emergence of almost as many potholes as daffodils.”

Research by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) last year estimated that it would cost £12bn to get roads in England and Wales into a reasonable condition. The body is calling on the government to increase funding into local roads moving forward.

"Councils are fixing a pothole every 19 seconds despite funding pressures. They want to do more but are trapped in an endless cycle of patching up our deteriorating network."
LGA transport spokesman Martin Tett.

The Local Government Association’s transport spokesman Martin Tett, has echoed the AIA’s calls and believes only investment will solve the pothole problem that continues to plague the UK.

“Councils are fixing a pothole every 19 seconds despite funding pressures,” he added. “They want to do more but are trapped in an endless cycle of patching up our deteriorating network. It would already take £12bn and more than a decade for councils to clear the current local roads repair backlog. Only long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance can allow councils to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed, to the benefit of all road users up and down the country, including cyclists."

A DfT spokesman said: "This government is taking the big decisions for Britain's future and investing a record £23bn on our roads to improve journeys. We know road surfaces are a concern for all road users and that is why we are providing local highway authorities in England, with just under £6bn to help improve the condition of our local highway networks.”

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