Roads to ruin: the problem of potholes

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CTC Campaigns and Policy Coordinator Chris Peck explains why UK roads are so bad
Potholes aren't usually quite as large as this one
Potholes aren't usually quite as large as this one


A rough ride

If the current state of the roads is the “standard to be expected”, Olympian cyclists venturing to London next year better dig out their Paris-Roubaix bikes and start popping the ibuprofen in readiness. Thousands of cyclists have taken part in sportives and other events on or near the Olympic route and many more will take to the Surrey hills next year in the run up to the Games. From my experience of these roads in their current state I couldn’t recommend the use of narrow tyres or fragile racing rims.

For event organisers without the benefit of international scrutiny and millions of pounds riding on the event, the dire state of road maintenance is more of a headache. Due to the recent rapid deterioration of roads Graham Temple, the organiser of CTC’s Challenge Ride Series, had to invest in signs which are erected along his routes warning riders of loose gravel and other hazards. But, as he says, “if I signed every patch of gravel I’d need another team of drivers just to assist with that.”

In a recent major survey of residents of English councils Surrey’s roads were rated worst with the sole exception of Buckinghamshire, with satisfaction running at just 22% - far below most of the other issues surveyed. Nationally satisfaction with road surface condition has crumbled from 46% to 33% over the last 4 years, farther than for any other local authority action except winter gritting.

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