HomeBlogThe Pot Hole Season

Lee's Blog No 8

The pothole season is upon us. A combination of water seepage followed by freezing conditions and a thaw means many of the UK's roads will be pockmarked with potentially wheel-crunching, fork-snapping craters in the coming weeks.

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Incidents involving potholes already account for an estimated 10 to 15% of all cycling accidents.Pothole

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety, warns: "The recent poor weather will cause even more potholes on our roads. These create a significant danger to cyclists, who could be unseated if they hit a large or deep pothole, or may be hit by other vehicles if they suddenly swerve around a pothole."

National cycling charity CTC , which operates a pothole-reporting website and smartphone app, calls the problem "a crucial issue" and says 15% of the crashes its legal department deals with are the result of highway defects.

British Cycling said that 12% of the accidents its members reported between April and September last year were the result of "a defective stretch of road or a spillage or obstruction in the cyclist's path".

Though the most recent (2011) Department for Transport figures for road casualties don't include a category for potholes, they reveal that of 13,000 reported cycling accidents, 1,110 included "loss of control", "swerving" or "sudden braking" as contributory factors.

Here's what to do if you suffer injury or damage to your bike as a result of a pothole:

• Note the dimensions of the hole - including depth and its position in the road in relation to the kerb - and its location. Also note any

other road defects in the vicinity.

• Take a photograph (with your phone if you have one) and try to include a sense of scale (eg by including your hand or foot in the photograph). Also try to give a sense of its position in the road.

• Take photographs of the damage to your bike and any injuries you have sustained.

• Report it to the local highways authority, usually the council. (If you're not sure which council is responsible for that road, you can find out by typing in the road or town name at the Gov.uk website.)

You can report it to the council directly, or via a website such as the CTC's FillThatHole , which also allows you to upload photos, give details of injuries/damage and pinpoint the exact location on a map.

• If the council doesn't admit liability and you decide to sue, consider joining the CTC or British Cycling who offer free legal advice.