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Pothole Peril for Cyclists

Cyclists are facing greater risk of injury and damage to their bikes and themselves because of potholes on British roads, new research has revealed.


Cyclists are facing greater risk of injury and damage to their bikes and themselves because of potholes on British roads, new research has revealed.

The poor condition of the highways has been blamed for three deaths this year alone and annually causes over 1,000 injuries to bike riders and thousands of pounds worth of damage to cycles.
Latest figures from national charity Cycle Touring Club show more potholes reported to local councils in the six months since January, than throughout the whole of 2012.

The research reveals huge scale of the work that is urgently needed and comes after the Government promised enough money in the spending review to fix an estimated 19 million potholes
Cycle retailer Halfords backs up these findings after seeing a soaring increase in damaged bikes coming into its branches for repairs. Demand for its popular bike repair service has risen by 33% over the past year from cyclists seeking repairs to wheels, tyres and forks.

Karen Bellairs, Halfords Head of Cycles said: “We welcome the Government commitment to resolving this problem and making sure the roads are safe to ride on, now all road users would like to see some action. Potholes are a problem for everyone but particularly cyclists and especially at this time of year when people like to get out on their bikes.”

“Our mechanics report a significant rise in the number of cycles coming in for repairs which owners are blaming on potholes or disintegrating and uneven highway surfaces.”

Potholes are a particular danger to cyclists as they are often at the side of the carriageway where riders cycle. Swerving to avoid the holes is an added danger for cyclists because it causes a sudden movement that motorists may not anticipate.

The peril caused by potholes to cyclists has even led to riders creating their own warning signal, dropping their hand down the side of the bike, so others behind are aware of the potential hazard.

Latest Department of Transport figures reveal that 1,110 out of 13,000 reported cycling accidents, included “loss of control”, “swerving” or “sudden braking” as contributory factors. A British Cycling survey by its members showed that 12% of accidents were caused by a “defective stretch of road,” or “spillage” or “obstruction in the cyclist’s path”

“The danger of coming off of a bike and risking serious injury is all too evident.” Says Karen Bellairs. “The roads should be safe for cyclists and motorists alike. We’re asking The Highway Authority and Councils to pay particular attention to repairs at the side of the road where cyclists travel and also cycle paths which have been the subject of complaint.”

One in five roads is now classed as being in a ’poor condition’


Editor’s Notes:
Police have investigated three deaths this year where it was claimed potholes were to blame: In February a 40 year old cyclists died after coming off his bike in Lincolnshire; In March a 44 year old man on his way to work fell from his bike in West Bromwich; In May a woman died from injuries sustained in a fall from her bike in Momouthshire
About Halfords
The Group is the UK’s leading retailer of automotive, leisure and cycling products and through Halfords Autocentres also one of the UK’s leading independent car servicing and repair operators. Halfords customers shop at 466 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland and at for pick-up at their local store or direct home delivery. Halfords Autocentres operates from 287 sites nationally and offers motorists dealership-quality MOTs, repairs and car servicing at affordable prices.

Halfords employs approximately 12,000 colleagues and Halfords Retail sells around 10,000 product lines in stores, increasing to around 30,000 lines online. The product offering encompasses significant ranges in car parts, cycles, in-car technology, child seats, roof boxes, outdoor leisure and camping equipment.
Halfords own brands include the in-store Bike hut department, for cycles and cycling accessories, Apollo and Carrera cycles and exclusive UK distribution rights of the premium-ranged Boardman cycles and accessories. In outdoor leisure, we sell a premium range of camping equipment including brands such as Vango and Outwell.

Halfords offers customers expert advice and a fitting service called “we fit” for car parts, child seats, satellite navigation and in-car entertainment systems, and a “we repair” service for cycles. 

In 2003 Halfords became the pioneers of the Cycle to work scheme, after being invited to join the working party that helped produce the Department for Transport Cycle to Work guidelines. They now have years of experience running the scheme for companies of all sizes.


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