Insurer calls on Government to change “outdated” pothole funding allocation to protect cyclists

Local Government insurer Zurich Municipal is calling on the Government to give greater focus to cycle paths and footways in its pothole fund.

In 2020/21, there was a 15% increase in highway maintenance budgets – partly due to the Government’s £2.5 billion Pothole Fund. However, Zurich said councils have been hindered by the way the Government currently distributes pothole funding, as it includes no suggested allowance for cycleways and footways.

Analysis of DfT figures by Cycling UK showed that 368 cyclists were badly injured in crashes caused by poor road surfaces between 2007 and 2016. In 2020, Zurich Municipal received more than 2,800 highway claims for injuries sustained on roads and pavements. Despite seeing claims drop off early in 2020, the insurer said it saw a ‘worrying’ reversal through summer and into the end of the year.

Sarah Rowan, public services segment manager at ‎Zurich Municipal, said: “Cycling has exploded in popularity during the pandemic which, along with the introduction of e-scooters has changed the way our roads are used. The challenge now confronting the government is how to avoid a rise in related injuries as an unintended consequence of green recovery.

“We are urging the Government to reassess its allocation of transport spending to reflect the changing nature of our roads and enable local government to prioritise active travel routes. If ministers are serious about a green recovery, and protecting lives, local councils must be given the resources to allocate repair cash where it is needed most.”

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