Big survey of cyclists – done via Cycling UK and Cycling Weekly – finds that pothole injuries are common

Half of all cyclists have been harmed after riding into potholes according to a BBC questionnaire. BBC 5 Live Investigates also used Freedom of Information requests to reveal that spending on road repairs has fallen in real terms across the United Kingdom during the past five years.

Between 2013 and 2017, local authority budgets for road repairs fell by 10 percent across the UK as a whole. 5,000 cyclists responded to 5 live Investigate’s survey.

49.5 percent said they hah had an "accident" due to a pothole in the road. 1516 cyclists said they were injured as a result, with 207 saying they were "seriously injured."

31 percent of cyclists asked in this survey said they had been put off cycling due to potholes

Dani Rowe, Olympic Gold medallist and three-time world champion cyclist, told the BBC she was shocked by these results.

“That’s quite frightening actually,” said Rowe, who broke eight ribs and punctured a lung after a collision with a pothole during a training ride in 2014. 

“A lot more needs to be invested into making our roads better for sure,” she said.

Kate Uzzell, whose husband Martyn, died after being thrown into the path of a car by a pothole in 2011, told the BBC that “sadly, people are still going through the trauma I did. People’s lives are being destroyed.”

The driver of the car, Talvinder Panesar said “all this could have been avoided, the pain that everybody is going through, if the right policy had been followed [by those responsible for the maintaining the road where the incident took place]”.

A coroner subsequently found North Yorkshire County Council had missed opportunities to repair the A65 in Giggleswick.

Uzzell, who received a six-figure settlement after launching a civil action against the council, told the BBC that she did not blame Panesar for what happened.

Following her husband’s death, she successfully campaigned for changes to the road inspection regime with the charity Roadpeace.

“There are so many potholes. There’s a lot more work to do,” she said.

North Yorkshire County Council told the BBC: “We continue to maintain and review our risk-based safety inspection regime to ensure the safety of routes for the travelling public, including cyclists, at a time when the council faces increasing pressure due to funding and the deterioration of road surfaces as a result of prolonged winter weather conditions.”

The Department for Transport told the programme: “Any death on our roads is deeply regrettable, no matter what the cause.

“While it is for councils to identify where repairs should be undertaken, we are also looking at how innovative technology can help them keep their roads in the best condition and save money.”

Cycling UK senior campaigner Sam Jones said: “More people out cycling are being killed and seriously injured each year due to years of persistent under investment in our rotting local road networks.

“Cycling UK echoes the calls of local councils to reverse this decline. This isn’t just about broken axles, but also about saving lives," he said.

The report can be heard in full on Sunday's BBC 5 Live Investigates at 11am.

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