Pothole peril for local cyclists

Potholes on our roads are making life miserable - and expensive - for local cyclists, according to a leading member of a local club.

A new survey issued by the national charity Cycle Touring Club reports that more potholes than ever before are being reported - and the district is no exception.

Damage repair bills are costing people who take up the sport as a hobby hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of pounds.

Gareth McGreevy from Banbridge Cycling Club said he had been fortunate in that he had not been hit too hard in the pocket but that he was aware of some of the worst cases.

“Sometimes it can just be as bad as a flat tyre, but it is an issue,” he said.

“I know of guys who have been bikes worth £1,500 which have been badly damaged as the result of driving into a pothole.

“Usually if you were in a group riding someone at the head of it would call out that there was one ahead, but that presents it’s own dangers too because you have to swerve to avoid it.

“It can lead to people falling off too and that can result to damage to saddles and to the handlebars.

“It all adds up and it does hit you in the pocket.”

Gareth said he had noticed many roads locally which could do with some repair work.

He added, “We would quite often race on the hard shoulder of the A1 from Banbridge to Dromore. It’s not so much the potholes there but just general deterioration of the surface.

“Sometimes to avoid it you have to swerve out onto lane one of the carriageway and you can imagine how dangerous that can be.

“The road between Scarva and Newry can be quite bad too, particularly on the Newry side of it.”

In England the latest Department of Transport figures reveal that 1,110 out of 13,000 reported cycling accidents, included “loss of control”, “swerving” or “sudden braking” as contributory factors.

A British Cycling survey by its members showed that 12% of accidents were caused by a “defective stretch of road,” or “spillage” or “obstruction in the cyclist’s path.”

Cycle retailer Halfords have backed up these findings after seeing a soaring increase in damaged bikes coming into its branches for repairs.

Demand for its popular bike repair service has risen by 33% over the past year from cyclists seeking repairs to wheels, tyres and forks.