A key industry body has said that the Government’s announcement of £7m to promote safe cycling fails to address the fundamental safety issue of potholes and deteriorating road surfaces.
This week cycling minister Jesse Norman announced that the Government will give eight existing Cycle City Ambition cities £6.5m for a range of projects to improve road safety.
Cycling is only as safe as the road you are riding on
The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA), highlighted that around 50 cyclists a year are killed or seriously injured (KSI) in Britain in incidents 'caused by poor or defective road surfaces’.
RSTA chief executive Howard Robinson said: ‘Cyclists are among our more vulnerable road users. For them, the continued deterioration of local road surfaces can result in death or serious, life-changing injuries. Initiatives to get more people cycling are to be welcomed but the Government needs to invest in the provision of a well-maintained road network that is safe to for them to use.’
Mr Robinson added: ‘Before making headline grabbing announcements the Government should provide real levels of investment in road maintenance to ensure that cyclists have a safe road surface to cycle on.’
In a parliamentary written answer in January 2017 the then transport minister, Andrew Jones, said: ‘There were 99 pedal cyclist KSIs (killed or seriously injured casualties) in reported road accidents allocated the contributory factor “Poor or Defective road surface” on local roads (for England) or all non-motorway roads (for Scotland and Wales) from 2014 to 2015.’
Mr Jones added: ‘Figures for 2016 will be available from June 2017.’
Sam Jones, campaigns senior officer at Cycling UK, said: ‘While the number of KSIs due to defective road surfacing for 2015 was thankfully down from 2014, the overall trend is on the up, and very worrying. We’re still waiting to see the figures for 2016 but suspect these will not show any improvement.
‘For our most vulnerable road users, defective road surfaces are particularly worrying as it’s trips to the hospital not the garage that they potentially face. Each year, Cycling UK helps over 10% of our membership with pothole related injuries and damages to make claims against local authorities. If the roads were in a fit state, there would be no need for cash strapped councils to be paying out nor families across the country having to struggle with the loss of a loved one.’