Potholes and Pothole Damage

Potholes Kill Cyclists
Potholes Kill Cyclists

Pothole damage is a problem for vehicle drivers, but potholes are also a concern for cyclists on the roads. Potholes are becoming more common and are causing a lot of injuries for cyclists when commuting and riding. Potholes will just not disappear, especially if the results of a new report by the RAC is anything to go on.

Although there are fewer cyclists on the roads compared with the number of cars, cyclists also suffer from the number of potholes. They are not as protected as a driver in a car and potholes can cause great damage for those who do decide to cycle.  According to a study reported on by the Independent, 50 cyclists are killed or seriously injured due to the dangers in our roads each year and this is becoming a more frequent problem.

VW service provider Inchcape Volkswagen offers an aftersales service, MOTs, and repairs to solve issues such as wheel misalignment and suspension damage. Here, they explore Britain’s relationship with potholes:

The Scale of Britain’s Problem with Potholes

The RAC coped with over 6,500 breakdown jobs between January and March of 2017 which were likely caused due to poor road surfaces in the UK. The last time that so many pothole related breakdowns were recorded in a three-month period was in the first quarter of 2015 (almost 6,900 breakdowns were recorded then). However, in the early months of 2015, the country was subjected to more days of frost and rainfall when compared to the first three months of 2017, when the nation experienced mild and moderately dry conditions.

The RAC’s Chief Engineer, David Bizley, confirmed that  “our figures sadly show a surprising and unwelcome first quarter rise in the number of breakdowns where the poor quality of the road surface was a major factor. We had expected a figure no worse than that recorded in the first quarter of 2016 (4,026) and it is very concerning that the roads, strangely, appear to have deteriorated in a mild, comparatively dry winter.

From the tables below, you can judge for yourself how bad potholes in the UK are.

Potholes: Top Hotspots

These are the top ten highway authorities that FillThatHole.org.uk has compiled. It is based on the number of road hazards which were reported to them:

PositionAuthorityRegionTotal reportsOpen reportsFixed reportsPercentage fixed
1SurreySouth East England7,6576,4731,14915%
2HampshireSouth East England4,1333,24184921%
3EssexSouth East England3,8042,91287823%
4HertfordshireSouth East England3,5573,00453015%
5KentSouth East England3,4783,10536410%
6LancashireNorth West England3,3012,48479224%
7OxfordshireSouth East England3,2452,22598531%
9Cheshire EastNorth West England2,9802,11078727%
10West SussexSouth East England2,8452,03478328%


This is the top ten places of FillThatHole.org.uk’s league table  when ranked on open reports though:

PositionAuthorityRegionOpen reportsTotal reportsFixed reportsPercentage fixed
1SurreySouth East England6,4737,6571,14915%
2HampshireSouth East England3,2414,13384921%
3KentSouth East England3,1053,47936410%
4HertfordshireSouth East England3,0043,55753015%
5EssexSouth East England2,9123,80487823%
6LancashireNorth West England2,4843,30179224%
8BuckinghamshireSouth East England2,3992,75434313%
9OxfordshireSouth East England2,2253,24598531%
10DevonSouth West England2,1142,51938515%


Frequency of Potholes being filled in

An Asphalt Industry Alliance’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey from 2017 said that the average number of potholes filled in 2016/17 per local authority across England was 13,468.

The top ten authorities ranked on fixed reports in FillThatHole.org.uk’s league table is as follows:

PositionAuthorityRegionFixed reportsTotal reportsOpen reportsPercentage fixed
1YorkYorkshire & Humber1,1871,34115189%
2SurreySouth East England1,1497,6576,47315%
3BristolSouth West England1,0941,47519985%
4OxfordshireSouth East England9853,2452,22531%
5Cheshire West & ChesterNorth West England9131,2523097%
6EssexSouth East England8783,8042,91223%
7NorthumberlandNorth East England8691,123599%
8HampshireSouth East England8494,1333,24121%
10LancashireNorth West England7923,3012,48424%


Number of drivers reporting pothole damage in the past 12 months (ranked by region)*

RegionNumber of drivers
South East England941k
South West England721k
Yorkshire & Humber720k
North West England687k
West Midlands609k
Eastern England457k
East Midlands365k
North East England343k

 Average Cost to Repair Pothole Damage (ranked by region)*

RegionAverage cost
Eastern England£163.68
South East England£124.93
Yorkshire & Humber£120.00
South West England£119.01
West Midlands£87.59
North West England£87.01
East Midlands£86.33
North East England£72.66


Structural road condition percentage split in England

  • Percentage of roads across England in good condition (i.e. they have 15 years or more residual life remaining) — 53 percent.
  • Percentage of roads across England in adequate condition (i.e. they have between five and 15 years’ residual life remaining) — 30 percent.
  • Percentage of roads across England in poor condition (i.e. they have less than five years’ residual life remaining) — 17 percent.


RAC Report

*RAC data reported on at Telegraph Report

Asphalt UK

Fill That Hole

The Independent (quoting Chris Boardman)



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