Cyclist refutes pothole claims

Andrew Storer from Whittlebury with his pothole damaged bicycle wheels.'130409M-C448
Andrew Storer from Whittlebury with his pothole damaged bicycle wheels.'130409M-C448

A cyclist from Whittlebury has reacted with surprise at a report in which Northants County Council congratulates itself on improvements to the way the authority deals with potholes.

In 2010 NCC introduced the New Highways Maintenance Initiative to tackle potholes.

Instead of prioritising holes on a ‘worst first’ basis, the council looked at the ‘whole life cost’ of a pothole, and directed more money towards preventative measures.

In a report to be discussed by the NCC cabinet next Tuesday officers lay out figures showing a dramatic rise in the number of permanent repairs, falls in the number of insurance claims against the council as result of pothole damage to cars and an increase in what it calls ‘preventative treatments’ to road surfaces.

However, cyclist Andrew Storer, of The Crescent in Whittlebury, said his experience paints a very different picture.

He has been knocked off his bike twice after hitting a pothole in two years, requiring the replacement of a £120 cycle helmet, and has half-a-dozen dented wheels in his back garden.

“As a cyclist, I think that’s rubbish,” he said.

“Quite honestly, the number of what I would call dangerous potholes has increased overall.”

While the report recognises some roads have gone beyond the stage where preventative measures would be effective it adds: “During this period we have made good use of our available resources by adopting this approach and this has also received national recognition and been cited as best practice in the Highway Maintenance Efficiency Programme pothole review published in April 2012.”