Potholes are becoming a serious problem for local councils across the UK. They are caused by heavy traffic and severe weather conditions and present a significant danger to motorists and cyclists if left un-managed.
Councils across the country face some difficult decisions. With the number of road users in the UK rising each year and the severe weather conditions that we’ve experienced over the last few winters, there are more potholes than ever. This also comes at a time when councils are being forced to make financial cutbacks in almost every area.
Unfortunately, making cutbacks by not maintaining the road surfaces isn’t an option. By failing to repair potholes, councils risk losing even more money through costly personal injury claims.
In the last two years alone, Nottingham County Council has paid out over £150,000 in pothole related personal injury claims. This is a very common picture for councils across the country with some authorities reporting payouts which are significantly greater than Nottingham. Nationally, potholes are costing the economy millions of pounds each year.
Potholes present a severe danger, particularly to cyclists. They almost always occur at the edge of a road where the surface receives the most wear. As cyclists tend to cycle at the edge of the road on thin, relatively fragile wheels and tyres, these potholes can cause severe accidents. Though the majority of road accident claims are made by cyclists, there are also a significant number of claims made by injured pedestrians and motorists who’ve had their cars damaged by potholes.
Though it is clear that councils across the UK are facing very difficult decisions, saving money on road maintenance certainly seems like a false economy. When you consider that a single pothole could cause an accident which might result in a compensation payout of up to £50,000, fixing it as soon as possible makes sense in terms of both safety and economics.