The decline in the state of road surfaces is one of the main factors behind a significant increase in the numbers of cyclists being killed or seriously injured according the CTC, the national cycling charity. New statistics from the Department for Transports show that in the year ending March 2015 3,410 cyclists were killed or seriously injured compared with 3,383 a year earlier. A further 16,760 cyclists were slightly injured. Commenting on the figures, CTC said that the rise in deaths and injuries was due to an increase in traffic, rising number of cyclists and the continued deterioration in road surfaces. It called upon local councils to be more proactive in fixing potholes. However, the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) explained that lack of funding means that local authorities are often fighting a losing battle of pothole patch-and-mend rather than carrying out sustained programmes of road maintenance.
“Cyclists are amongst our most vulnerable road users. For them a deterioration in the road surface can result in serious, life-changing injuries,” said Howard Robinson, RSTA Chief Executive. “There is currently a £12.1 billion backlog of local road maintenance. Despite the government providing £6 billion to maintain local roads over the next six years, the backlog, continued cuts in funding and the ever increasing use of roads means that local councils are fighting a losing battle and find it difficult to keep pace with the level of road repairs required.”
He continued: “The Chancellor, George Osborne, recently announced a new road fund that will see the receipts from the vehicle excise duty being used for investment in roads. It is unfortunate that the monies raised will be directed at motorway and trunk roads and not at local roads which are used by cyclists and indeed by 98% of motorists. The road fund should be used for both national and local roads with local councils being given the necessary resources to carry out real long-term programmes of road maintenance and not emergency patch-and-mend.”