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Pothole crashes most likely to involve cyclists and bikers

Potholes a danger to cyclists and bikers

AA analysis of official stats highlights dangers to those on two-wheels for this year's National Road Safety Week (19 – 25 November)

19 November 2018

Crashes resulting in injury and caused by a poor road surface are three times more likely to involve a cyclist or biker than all crashes, reveals the AA, as National Road Safety Week shines a light on the dangers faced by those on two wheels. 

Official statistics* show in 2017, 545 vehicles were involved in injury crashes where a defective road surface was a contributory factor. Nearly half (45%) of those vehicles were bicycles (102) or motorbikes (141), yet these vehicles were only involved in 15% of crashes overall.

Overall the casualty rate for cyclists and bikers per billion passenger miles is around 25 times higher than for car occupants*.

AA-Populus research also shows:

  • Half (51%) of drivers** have seen a cyclist swerve suddenly to avoid a pothole, placing themselves and others at risk of a crash, and
  • Two fifths (39%) say they have seen a motorcyclist suddenly swerve around a pothole
Damaging cars, but injuring riders

Potholes are potentially damaging for all vehicles, but for bicycles and motorbikes they pose even more of a threat; causing riders to fall or make sudden movements. 

Edmund King, Director of the AA Trust, said: “Potholes are a plague on the roads for all road users – not just drivers. 

 “They create a particular danger to those on two wheels, as is shown by the crash figures. 

If a cyclist hits a pothole they can suffer serious injury from the fall, yet swerving into traffic is not an attractive alternative
Edmund King, president of the AA

“If a cyclist hits a pothole they can suffer serious injury from the fall, yet swerving into traffic is not an attractive alternative.

A network that's fit for purpose

“All road users deserve a road network that is properly and safely surfaced and fit for purpose.”

The AA Trust runs a ground-breaking road safety campaign, Think Bikes, which encourages all drivers to do a double take for cyclists and motorbikes. Small ‘Think Bikes’ stickers can be placed on wing mirrors or inside the door to remind drivers to make this extra check. 

Highlighting the problem of Britain's potholed roads

And earlier this year it launched #FlagitFunditFillit to highlight the widescale problem of Britain’s potholed roads. As a result an extra £420million has been allocated to local authorities to fix their potholes before the end of March 2019. 

The campaign calls on drivers to continue safely photographing potholes and sending them to the responsible highway authority via social media to show where the potholes need fixing.


*Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2017. Table RAS50005

**Populus received 25,208 responses from AA members to its online poll between 16 and 23 February 2016

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