Grant Telford | Complex Case Manager

Cyclists and Potholes: a Vicious Cycle?

With lockdown seeing a surge in the amount of cyclists taking to the Scottish roads, it is not only the danger of other vehicles on the roads that cyclists need to worry about.

Research using automatic cycle counters at various locations throughout Scotland has shown that in some places the number of cyclists has more than doubled. Cycling Scotland has compared the average number of people cycling per day in the second half of March 2020 to the same period in March 2019, with the biggest increases seen in Dunfermline (215%), Newton Mearns (121%) and  Dundee (94%). Cycling Scotland also compared the average number of people cycling per day during May 2020 to May 2019 and the average increase across all counters with available data was 77%.

However, with Covid-19 and lockdown resulting in many local authorities having to furlough staff and work on a reduced capacity, as well as budget cuts, this has inevitably resulted in Scotland’s roads maintenance services moving to a critical level of service delivery, and potholes causing a real danger to cyclists. Cycling Scotland set up website which allows cyclist to report potholes. Glasgow currently has 2830 reported hazards, Edinburgh 1888, Aberdeen 448 and Dundee 278.

It is important that potholes are reported to local authorities and/or Councils. They cannot be expected to keep every road and footway free from hazards, and whilst they will carry out inspections at varying intervals, they do rely on the public reporting any dangers to them. In short, if they do not know about the hazard; they do not know it requires to be repaired. That said, not all potholes will be subject to repair; it will depend on how high a risk it poses to injury. In general, potholes with a depth of 20-25mm or more on footways, and 40mm or more on roads should be subject to repair.

It is not all doom and gloom for Scotland’s cyclists however. Transport Scotland has announced a number of new initiatives to help keep cyclists safe. These include utilising roads and re-allocating road space to introduce safe temporary cycle lanes, and ensuring appropriate safety measures are in place for clear segregation between traffic lanes, cycle lanes and footways.

It therefore goes without saying that potholes can cause serious injuries and even death to cyclists. At Jackson Boyd Lawyers we specialise in dealing with personal injury claims for cyclists who have been injured due to potholes and other hazards on our roads and footways. If you have been injured in the last three years then get in touch with a member of our team today.

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