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What cyclists should know about potholes

Potholes can be dangerous for any road user, but especially for cyclists. Our experts explain all you need to know about potholes, who’s responsible and what you need to do if you’re injured because of a pothole.

11 May 2021

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What causes a pothole?

The UK’s roads are littered with potholes, as soon as one is filled, another appears. Potholes are caused when general wear and tear of the road creates small cracks in the surface and when it rains, water seeps into these cracks. In the winter time, the water freezes and expands. When the weather warms up in the spring and summer months, the ice melts and the water evaporates which leaves gaps under the surface. Traffic then breaks down the surface of the road even more and this causes potholes.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), every year around 17,000 cyclists are injured in UK road traffic accidents and according to Cycling UK, 15% of cyclists who have an accident have reported the cause to be due to a pothole or other road defect.

Cycling UK have put together a list of FAQs specifically about potholes, read more here.

What is the Local Authority’s responsibility?

Each Local Authority has a duty to maintain roads within their remit. That includes repairing defects and resurfacing where necessary. However, they can only repair potholes if they know about them. Cycling UK set up a reporting system called FillThatHole which means road users, when they come across a pothole or other road defect, can report it to their local council. If you would like to report a pothole, please report it using FillThatHole.

What to do if you’re involved in an accident where a pothole was the cause?

If you’ve been involved in an accident which was caused by a pothole, you should first check your injuries and asses whether you need to attend hospital. You should then see if there are any witnesses to your accident and take their details so that if you decide to make a personal injury claim, your lawyer can contact them for a detailed witness statement.

If you are able, take photographs of the pothole and document the depth and width of it. Ideally show this in the photograph with a tape measure. You should also take photographs of your injuries and the damage to your bike and clothing you were wearing at the time of the accident. These will help as evidence if you decide to make a personal injury claim.

If you attend hospital or your local GP surgery, keep a record of your medical notes and any medication prescribed.

Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who specialises in cycling accident claims if you wish to make a personal injury claim to get the compensation you’re entitled to for an accident that wasn’t your fault.

If you've been injured in a road traffic accident, simply register your details on the micase RTA platform and start your claim.

The information contained in this article was correct at the time of publication.

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