Slips, trips, falls and the dreaded pothole – yes 'Winter is Coming' to quote Game of Thrones!
These are unfortunately the most common types of accident in the UK and are a common cause of injury and cost.
The main legislation on pavements and roads is the Highways Act 1980. For publicly maintained roads your local council is responsible for maintaining them in a reasonable condition. In the case of motorways and trunk roads the responsibility is that of the Highways Agency.
The Highways Act requires the council to keeps its roads, pavements and footpaths maintained in a condition so that they do not pose a danger to the public that may be expected to use them.
Shops, offices, schools and other premises open to the public should also be kept reasonably safe.
The public’s biggest gripe is of course potholes and this story is very common. According to The Independent in April 2019 drivers in the UK spent £4.09bn a year on car repairs caused by potholes. Not to mention the injuries caused to cyclists and motor cyclists.
A pothole is a hole in the road that is deeper than 50mm and 100mm across in two directions at right angles to each other.
Councils should carry out regular inspections of roads but they also rely on the public to report potholes. They are either classed as urgent or are put in a planned programme of works.
The government pledged to fund an extra £500 million to the £2.5 billion budget 2020 for pothole repairs to local authorities who pledged to fill 50m potholes across the country.
But did this happen? With lower traffic volumes during the UK’s lockdown the majority of Councils report that they are on track for Winter 2020. However accordingly to the RAC nearly two thousand drivers had their vehicles damaged by potholes during the lockdown despite road traffic plummeting and drivers are now 1.5 times more likely to suffer a pothole breakdown than in 2006 when they first started collecting data.
It will be interesting to see what the public’s experiences are as we come out of Autumn and into Winter.
Want to share your experience? If so please feel free to leave a comment.