Potholes in and around Banbury pose ‘a real and credible threat’ to cyclists’ safety and need to be addressed, a local club has warned.
Banbury Star Cyclists Club president Paul Dean has called on Oxfordshire County Council to improve the road surface to reduce the risk of a ‘potentially catastrophic accident’.
Mr Dean said the club’s 150 members are among the first to experience the impact of the council’s budget cuts to road maintenance.
“The state of Banbury’s roads now pose a real and credible threat to the safety of cyclists because of the size and depth of potholes which are large/deep enough to cause a puncture and buckled wheel and sometimes even necessitate the rider taking evasive action by swerving to avoid a hole so placing them further away from the kerb and potentially into the flow of traffic,” he told the Banbury Guardian.
“The deterioration of Banbury’s roads acts as a disincentive to bicycle usage which has a knock-on effect on car volumes on our already-congested roads.
“Reporting potholes is, for the most part, a waste of time as the standard response from Oxfordshire County Council is that there is no money left.
“We are concerned that even when repairs are made, their quality is often below par and the hole soon reappears – this is a waste of our council tax and the utility company or contractor who was involved should face a financial penalty if their repairs fail.
“We call upon Oxfordshire County Council to recognise and act upon the duty of care responsibilities they have regarding road users and urgently start a programme of corrective action that solves the problem rather than ignoring it.
“A failure to act now further raises the risk of a potentially catastrophic accident taking place.”
A county council spokesman said: “We understand the impact that potholes have on people using the roads in Banbury and right across the county and that is why we are working very hard to carry out as many repairs as we can.”
The reporting website, fixmystreet.oxfordshire.gov.uk, shows that 1,897 pothole and road damage reports were received in the last week.
The site does not give corresponding repairs as a weekly figure but shows 4,998 repairs within the last month.
The county council spokesman added it would cost more than £150m to repair all of the roads in Oxfordshire which have ‘taken a battering’ from the wet and cold weather.
“All councils in England are in a similar position and a motion was recently passed by the county council asking central government to provide more money for road repairs,” he said.
“The council, as well as other councils across the country, have been lobbying government for more money for highway repairs and this year Oxfordshire has been allocated an additional £2.7m to help address the immediate problem caused by the winter.
“An additional Dragon Patcher has been purchased allowing more potholes to be filled on rural roads this coming year.
“People should not think this issue is being taken lightly and, as well as asking for more money, the county council is constantly looking for ways to get even more out of the limited resources we do have.
“We continue to work very hard to repair the potholes – large numbers have been repaired in recent weeks and we continue to do that work to the best of our ability within the resource available.
“We ask that people continue to report potholes to us direct via the council’s website, fixmystreet.oxfordshire.gov.uk.”