Nottingham residents make the highest proportion of complaints about potholes

New analysis suggests that people in Nottingham make the most complaints about potholes on the roads.

Personal Injury Specialists for cyclists Cycle SOS used Google data to rank the UK cities which make the highest proportion of pothole complaints, investigating Google searches for phrases such as “pothole complaint” and “pothole complaint letter” over the past year, and cross referencing the numbers with the estimated number of locals in each major UK city. They were therefore able to uncover which city looks to make the highest proportion of pothole complaints, respective to the size of each area.  

Lena Farnell, Legal Team Leader at Cycle SOS has broken down the findings, sharing how cyclists can stay safe from potholes and what you can do if you’ve experienced an injury as a result of a pothole-related incident.

“Searches related to the topic of potholes have increased by 13%, year on year. Residents living in Nottingham appear to make the highest proportion of complaints relating to potholes on the roads, closely followed by those living in Cardiff and Newcastle in third.

“Nottingham UA has been allocated £1,229,000 for spending on pothole repairs between 2022-2025, whilst spending allocated to Newcastle for the same period is approximately 23% higher at £1,506,000 (Source: Department for Transport) which could indicate that complaints are higher in areas where there is a smaller budget being allocated for repairs.

“Nottingham is known for being a city with a large distance in cycle lanes, spanning over 482km. A 2021 FOI finding, discovered that Nottingham City Council have planned to invest almost £30 million in cycling focused investments between the periods 2022/23. This suggests that there is a considerable demand for cycling within Nottingham and may well explain why searches for pothole complaints are high in the city, given the dangers that potholes pose to cyclists (Source: COLAS).

“Lower down on the list of UK cities are complaints made by Londoners. The recommended frequency of road resurfacing is between 10 and 20 years; however, this is an ideal which is only achieved on principal roads in London.

“Replacing the entire surface layer of roads at regular intervals maintains an appropriate level of skid resistance, which is vital for road safety. It also guards against water ingress and freeze thaw by maintaining a weatherproof seal on the road’s surface.

“In England and Wales, the average surfacing frequency across all types of roads is once every 70 years. In England, it is reported to be once every 84 years (2021/22) and in Wales once every 54 years (2021/22), whilst in London this figure is only once every 31 years.

“The discrepancy in data between resurfacing frequency for principal roads and the rest of the network in all regions, continues to highlight how local authorities have to prioritise key travel routes as budgets are not sufficient enough to adequately maintain the whole network (Source: ALARM Survey 2022).” 

Where in the UK makes the highest proportion of pothole complaints? 
UK CityRanking
Nottingham 1
London 10

“The number of potholes filled during the period 2021/22 totalled 1.7 million, the same as the period 2020/21 and up from 1.5 million during the period 2019/20. This is the equivalent of one pothole being repaired every 19 seconds in England (including London) and Wales (Source: ALARM Survey 2022).” 

How much budget has been allocated to the repairing of potholes between 2022 and 2025? 

“The Spending Review, published in October 2021, committed over £2.7 billion of local highways maintenance funding, between the tax years 2022 and 2025, to local authorities outside of London and the eight largest city regions. Out of this budget, £500.5 million has been allocated to spending on pothole repairs (Source: Department for Transport).”

Why are potholes so dangerous to cyclists, and particularly in the winter? 

“Potholes are particularly dangerous to cyclists in the winter as they multiply in number due to the effects of freeze thaw. Dark nights and poor street lighting can make it incredibly difficult to spot a pothole on time and this danger can be amplified by leaves, puddles and ice obscuring your view of the pothole.”

What can I do to stay safe from potholes as a cyclist?

“In order to stay safe from potholes, don’t hug the kerb. Good road positioning will keep you away from sunken drains or steeply cambered road edges and will give you more room to manoeuvre around a pothole.”

“Swerving out into the road is dangerous. Scan the road far ahead so that you can change your road position gradually if there’s a hazard. Pothole depth can be hidden by rainwater or the shadow from headlamps or a low sun, so always plan to go around if you can.”

What can be done if you are experiencing an injury as a result of a pothole related incident?

“If you are experiencing an injury as a result of a pothole related incident, it’s important to gather as much evidence at the scene as soon as possible after the incident. The more time passes, the greater the scope for an argument that the defect wasn’t dangerous at the time of the crash.”

(File picture – RAC)


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