Revealed – how much Lincolnshire County Council pays out in pothole compensation
The amount of money paid out by Lincolnshire County Council in pothole compensation claims has been revealed.
A total of £411,221 has had to be spent in five years.
Although most of the money has gone to motorists, pothole compensation claims cost the council six times more in payouts to cyclists than for motorists.
An investigation by Cycling UK found the council had paid out an average of £889 each to 19 cyclists in pothole-related compensation between 2013/14 and 2017/18, while paying out an average of £163 each to 1,870 motorists.
The charity said the figures showed that while potholes can be an inconvenience for motorists, they are more likely to cause injury, and even death, for cyclists.
Overall, Lincolnshire paid out £321,126 in compensation relating to pothole damage and injuries between 2013/14 and 2017/18 – £16,895 to cyclists and £304,231 to motorists.
After taking into account legal costs as well, pothole claims cost the council a total of £411,221 over the five years.
Across Britain, pothole compensation claims are costing councils 26 times more in payouts for cyclists than for motorists.
The average compensation payout per motorist was around £339, but councils paid out an average £8,826 per cyclist for incidents involving potholes – with the charity saying cyclists are being killed or seriously injured due to defective road surfaces.
“Cyclists are running the gauntlet when riding on British roads following a decade of under-investment leading to the poor state they’re currently in,” said Cycling UK CEO Paul Tuohy.
“Potholes aren’t just an expensive nuisance, they are ruining lives.”
The information was obtained by the charity through a series of Freedom of Information requests to 211 highway authorities across the UK. A total of 156 responded.
The charity asked about the amount of compensation paid out to cyclists and motorists, and the number of successful claims made over the five-year period between financial years 2013/14 and 2017/18.
The Asphalt Industry Alliance estimates after decades of underinvestment in the local road networks it would cost £9.3 billion to repair the damage on British roads.
Cycling UK has launched ‘Pothole Watch’ week from March 3 to 9 to call on the Government to adopt a ‘fix it first’ policy, and invest part of its £25 billion Road Investment Strategy, which is currently ringfenced for the building and maintenance of motorways and trunk roads, into repairing local roads.
“The Government is going to spend £25bn on maintaining and building new motorways, while effectively each year it finds some loose change for the problem of potholes on local roads,” said Mr Tuohy.
“Cycling UK wants Government to adopt a ‘fix it first’ policy. Let’s repair the local roads first – the ones we all use in our cars and on our bikes everyday – before building new motorways.
“Through Pothole Watch, I want to encourage the wider public to help councils by reporting potholes and helping them identify where the problems are – then they can start fixing them.”
Cycling UK runs the pothole reporting webtool and app Fill That Hole www.fillthathole.org.uk which helps the public report road defects to their local council.
Cllr Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “Obviously, we’d love to keep all roads pothole-free at all times, but with 5,500 miles of highway to maintain, that’s not realistic.
“Although we carry out regular inspections, we actively encourage people who spot a pothole to report it via www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/faultreporting
“The sooner we’re aware of a pothole, the sooner we can deal with it.
“That can help improve safety and also reduce compensation claims, meaning that money can instead be invested back into our roads, which benefits everyone.
“Of course, what’s really needed is fairer funding for Lincolnshire, which is something we continue to push for.
“If councils here received the national average, we’d benefit from extra £116 million every year – some of which could be invested in our roads, making potholes less likely to form in the first place.
“That would make a massive difference.”