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Potholes can cause problems to all kinds of road users. For cyclists in particular, they can be incredibly dangerous. It’s no surprise, in fact, that so many cyclists submit a claim for pothole damage against their local authority, which may not maintain their infrastructure correctly.

If you’ve been injured after hitting a pothole whilst cycling, or even if you’ve emerged unharmed but your bicycle has suffered serious damage, it’s only natural to seek legal advice, and potentially look at claiming compensation.

Pothole damage can be extremely serious, leading to expensive repair costs from an independent bicycle dealer. or tyre specialist or, in some cases, requiring you to replace your bicycle outright.

At Cycle SOS, our legal team have successfully represented, since 1988, thousands of cyclists who have been involved in an accident resulting from a pothole. For these cyclists, we have gone on to obtain compensation from the authority responsible for not only the injuries sustained, but also for other costs including loss of earnings, medical assistance, and damage to the bike and kit

What constitutes a ‘pothole’?

Unfortunately, there is no agreed definition of a pothole.

One suggested definition is that they are ‘isolated failures in a road, footway or cycleway that have caused a sizable hole.’ But issues arise when trying to form an agreement as to the precise size and cause of a pothole.

In fact, this is where many pothole claims fall apart in the early stages – without an experienced team, with a track record of successful claims for compensation, you may even struggle to get the local authorities to take you seriously.

Despite the lack of a clear, legal definition of potholes, we all know what they are. These, sometimes unavoidable, features of the road can be a nightmare for any road user, and a deep pothole can be serious enough to cause car insurance claims, vehicle damage claims, cyclists pothole claims and much more.

For more information about what constitutes a pothole and advice on how to measure road defects, please see our informative video.

A deep pot hole.

What Causes Potholes?

Here in the UK, our roads are subject to a great deal of wear and tear from heavy traffic, as well as the ever-changing weather. The regular freeze and thaw of Autumn, Winter and Spring is the perfect weather for creating potholes in UK roads.

Most potholes form when water seeps into cracks in asphalt surfaces, then when temperatures drop and this water turns to ice it expands, causing even deeper cracks. The weight of vehicles that drive over these potholes then causes chunks of the road surface to break away, creating a pothole.

How to Claim for Pothole Damage?

We can help you file a pothole accident claim for free in most cases.. Almost all of our cyclist pothole claims are funded through a Conditional Fee Agreement. More commonly known as a no win, no fee agreement, this will mean you will only pay for our services if you are successful in your claim. We are cyclists ourselves at Cycle SOS, and know full well how problematic potholes can be. Led by solicitor, Paul Darlington, who has in the past worked closely with Cycling England, the Cycling Demonstration Town project and has provided consultancy services to CTC (as was), we regularly campaign about the presence of potholes on Britain’s roads. For more information about our services or to start your claim, call 0808 100 9995 and speak to one of our specialist solicitors. We’re here 24/7 to help. You can email us or schedule a callback.

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How Long Should It Take to Claim Compensation?

We understand that it may be difficult to wait for an outcome, but rest assured that we will do all we can to ensure your claim succeeds as quickly as possible.

Typically, a claim for pothole damage while riding a bicycle can take anywhere from 3 months to a year, but some do take even longer if you’re required to go to court.

The amount of time it will take to claim compensation for your cycle pothole damage or injury, in addition to its overall outcome, depends on a wide range of factors. Some of the most important things to consider when you’re seeking pothole compensation include:

  • The seriousness of your injuries.
  • Whether you’ve been injured, or you’re claiming for property damage.
  • How quickly the local authority responds to your claim.

How Much Could I Claim In Compensation?

The amount you may be able to claim for pothole damage depends on a range of different factors. Typically, you’ll claim for the seriousness of your injuries, and the long-term impact the incident has on your life.

Obviously, the more serious and life-altering your injuries, the more you should be entitled to claim.  For minor injuries, such as cuts and bruises, a claim is still valid but would not normally be expected to reach the same level of compensation as more serious bicycle pothole claims.

To get an idea of the potential value of your cyclist pothole claim you may be able to receive, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced team of bicycle solicitors.

The Severity Of Your Injury

The severity of your injury following your accident can have a big difference on both the amount of time your case can take, and the amount of compensation you could be able to claim for.

Typically, the more serious and life-altering your injuries, the more you’ll be able to claim in compensation. However, with more complex litigation work, the process can often move slower, and take longer to complete.

Some of the more serious injuries you can sustain following a collision with a deep pothole include:

  • Head injuries (including visible damage and brain injuries).
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Avoidable amputation of a limb
  • Fractured and broken bones
  • Soft tissue damage 
  • Ligament and tendon tears
  • Nerve damage
Somebody taking a photo of a pothole.

Whether You Are Claiming For Property Damage to Your Bicycle or Personal Injury

If your pothole related damage is restricted to your bicycle, then the claim process is usually much less complex and can be completed quicker than if you were claiming for a physical injury. They can often be dealt with in small claims court, meaning you can avoid the long legal process of claiming for a significant amount of compensation.

Bicycle repair or replacement costs are generally quite low, so insurers are often keen to settle these types of claims quickly, rather than engaging in lengthy legal proceedings.

A pothole that could cause a nasty cycling accident.

The Evidence You’ve Gathered to Support Your Claim

All the evidence that you, and we, have gathered, can impact the outcome of your case. For example, being able to prove the pothole’s location, depth, and position and whether (according to appropriate council’s road inspection reports)  the pothole was clearly visible and therefore, detectable at the time of your accident are all important factors in determining who is liable.

When you gather evidence related to your claim for pothole damage or injuries, you’ll strengthen your claim, and make it much more likely to succeed. Whether you’re making an insurance claim, or starting compensation claims against the part responsible for your injuries, gathering evidence is one of the most important parts of the process.

In addition to images, medical reports and invoices, the testimony of other drivers or road users can be extremely useful in making a successful claim for compensation

How Deep does a Pothole have to be to Claim?

One of the problems with potholes is defining exactly what constitutes one, and this varies depending on the local council. “Defining a pothole is something that has been debated by local highway authorities for a number of years. There is no nationally agreed measurement for a pothole, although some authorities have adopted a dimensional definition as a basis for inspection. Others adopt a risk-based approach, where the highway inspector makes a judgement. However, it would seem that the majority of authorities adopt an approach that combines a dimensional definition with risk-based decision making.” Taken from Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme –Potholes Review’ (April 2012) We recommend speaking to our experienced team on 0808 100 9995 who will be able to advise on the precise measurements to follow based on the local council guidelines for the location of the pothole that has caused your injuries. We can also assist you in gathering the appropriate evidence to give your claim the best chance of success. Realistically, if you’ve suffered due to a “pothole” – whether that’s in the form of bicycle damage, or personal injury – it’s probably deep enough to be characterised as one. Slight indentations or dips in the road wouldn’t cause you to lose control of your bike to such a degree that you’re required to make a pothole claim.

Who is responsible for the Repair of Potholes?

The responsibility of the repair of potholes lies with the local Highways Authority, this will usually be a county, city or borough council. However, councils do not have a duty to immediately fix every defect in the road, as it could be that they were unaware of the problem. Each council follows their own set of guidelines in relation to pothole repairs and the exact protocol can vary.

Today, there are plenty of delays to fixing potholes on UK roads, no matter where in the country you are. A reduction in council funding, a substantial increase in the amount of vehicles on the road and the ever-increasing age of our roads means that potholes are appearing all the time, and it’s practically impossible to stay on top of them (particularly on major roads and A roads).

If you think that your injuries were caused by a dangerous pothole and would like more information on how to proceed with a claim, then our team can advise. To speak to us, simply call 0808 100 9995. Alternatively, you can email us or schedule a callback.

Get the expert help you need right now


To make a claim for damages caused by a pothole while cycling, you should follow these steps:
  1. Monitor the pothole: Monitor the pothole to see if it changes or if any repairs take place.
  2. Gather evidence: Take photos of the pothole and your injuries, and make a note of any witnesses. Keep a record of any expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident, such as medical bills, lost income, or repair costs for your bike.
  3. Make a pothole claim: Do not contact the relevant authority until you have sought legal advice before making a claim.
If you need expert advice regarding pothole claims please call our team on 0808 100 9995.
To support a cyclist pothole claim, we can help you provide the relevant evidence to show that the pothole caused your injury, and that it was the result of the negligence of the responsible party. This may include:
  1. Photographic evidence of the pothole, taken as soon as possible after the accident.
  2. Medical records and bills to show the extent of your injuries and the cost of any medical treatment.
  3. Witness statements from anyone who saw the accident or the pothole.
  4. A police report if the accident was reported to the authorities.
  5. Records of any lost income or wages if you were unable to work as a result of your injuries.
It is important to note that the specific requirements for a cyclist pothole claim may vary depending on where the accident took place as laws in England, Scotland and Wales may vary slightly. It is recommended that you consult with an experienced bike injury compensation solicitor for guidance on what evidence will be required for your specific situation. Call our team on 0808 100 9995 if you need expert advice about pothole claims.
The amount of compensation you can expect for a cyclist pothole claim depends on several factors, including the severity of your injuries, the impact of the injuries on your life, and any expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident. It is difficult to provide an exact figure without assessing the specifics of your case. To get a general idea of the claim amount, please see our Cycle Accident Compensation Calculator However, as a general rule, compensation for pothole claims in the UK can range from a few thousand pounds for minor injuries to hundreds of thousands of pounds for more serious injuries. In order to get a more accurate estimate of the compensation you may be entitled to, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a specialised bike injury compensation solicitor. Get expert advice about pothole claims by calling us on 0808 100 9995.
The process of filing a cyclist pothole claim can be complex, and you will benefit from the advice of an experienced bike injury compensation solicitor in order to ensure that you receive the compensation you are due. A cycling accident solicitor with experience in cyclist pothole claims can provide guidance and support throughout the claim process, and can help you build a strong case to support your claim. If you have a pothole claim, call 0808 100 9995 for expert advice.
In the UK, the statute of limitations for making a personal injury claim, which would include a cyclist pothole claim, is typically three years from the date of the incident. However, because there are some exceptions to this rule and it can be a complex area of law, it is recommended to gather evidence and seek legal advice as soon as possible after the incident. You can get expert advice on pothole claims by calling us on 0808 100 9995.
To prove negligence in a cyclist pothole claim in the UK, you will need to demonstrate that the local authority or highway authority responsible for maintaining the road had a duty of care to maintain the road to a reasonable standard, and that they breached this duty of care by failing to repair the pothole in a timely manner or at all. You will need to provide evidence that the pothole was present for a sufficient period of time before your accident for the authority to have had the opportunity to repair it, and that it was of a size and depth that made it a hazard. This can be established through witness statements, photographs, or other forms of documentation. As always, it’s advised to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional who can help you with this process. We can help you with pothole claims by calling 0808 100 9995.
If the pothole has already been repaired by the time you make your claim, it may still be possible to make a claim. To support your claim, you will need to provide evidence that the pothole was present and caused your accident at the time it occurred. This could include photographs, witness statements, or any other relevant documentation. Getting help with pothole claims is as simple as dialling 0808 100 9995.
In general, for a pothole claim to be successful, the pothole must be considered a hazard and the responsible authority or party must have had a reasonable amount of time to repair it. This means that the pothole needs to have been reported.  In the United Kingdom, for example, the guidelines suggest that a pothole needs to be at least 40 mm (1.5 inches) deep for a claim to be successful. However, this depth requirement may vary between different regions and authorities. Always consult with the appropriate parties, or seek legal advice, prior to filing a claim for pothole-related damage or injury. You can contact CycleSOS on 0808 100 9995 for free and impartial advice.
Yes, it is possible to claim for damage caused by potholes. If your bicycle is damaged as a result of hitting a pothole on a public road, you may be able to claim compensation from the local authority responsible for maintaining the road. Equally, if you are injured in a collision with a pothole, you may also be able to pursue a claim. To file a claim, gather as much evidence as possible, such as photographs of the pothole and the damage to your bike, as well as documentation of any injuries. You should also keep any receipts for repairs or other expenses related to the incident. If you are thinking about filing a claim for damage from a pothole, you might want to seek legal advice from specialist solicitors to better understand your rights and the claims process. Call 0808 100 9995 to speak to a pothole claims expert at CycleSOS.

The local authority has a duty of care to ensure the roads are safe for all who use them. Parts 42-58 of the Highways Act 1980 include the applicable legislation in England and Wales. Part 1 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 applies throughout Scotland. It is Article 8 of the Roads (Northern Ireland) Order 1993 in Northern Ireland.

During 2020–2021, 1.7 million potholes were filled on local roads in England and Wales, equivalent to one every 19 seconds.

Cyclists can make a claim against the council for pothole damage if the local authority fails to maintain the roads to a safe standard. Local councils must ensure road safety – this includes repairing potholes.

You must prove that the pothole caused the damage and that the council was aware of it but failed to fix it in a reasonable timeframe to win your claim. The council may challenge your claim if they can prove they took reasonable steps to inspect and repair the road surface. As this can be a complex and intimidating task for many, it is always best to seek legal advice. Please call CycleSOS on 0808 100 9995 for reliable advice.