Olympic track champion Victoria Pendleton has hit out at the state of Great Britain’s pothole-plagued roads and believes cyclist are being put in danger.
The latest figures from the Asphalt Industry Alliance show an average of 10 potholes for every mile of road in England and Wales, with the total number set to rise above two million for the first time this year.
This winter’s bad weather has left the country’s roads littered with potholes, which are caused when water freezes and expands in cracks in the road.
“Following more bad weather this winter, potholes are still a serious problem for road users, particularly people cycling to work or school, cycling for fun, keeping fit, or even cycling professionally,” said Pendleton, who won sprint gold in Beijing.
“We have to make our roads safer and more accessible for cyclists who often lack confidence to ride their bikes in and around urban areas because of poor road surfaces.”
Pendleton is backing a CTC campaign which ranks local councils on how quickly they repair potholes notified by the public on their Fill That Hole website and iPhone app.
“I’m getting involved because anything that showcases pothole repairs and encourages councils to improve their roads has to be a good thing for both cyclists and motorists,” added Pendleton.
But pothole repairs could be brought to a halt due to a £165 million shortfall in local council funding, according to the Local Government Association, which represents approximately 350 councils.
“Cyclists and motorcyclists are the road users most vulnerable to accidents caused by potholes,” said Helen Melhuish of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, which produces a yearly report on the state of the roads.
“If the government provided more funding to help get local roads back into reasonable condition, local authorities would be better able to implement their planned preventative maintenance programmes.”
Transport minister Norman Baker said: “We will invest £3 billion in maintenance over the next four years as well as spending £6 million to help local authorities make their road maintenance programmes as efficient and effective as possible.”