Dan Allsobrook out for a bike ride (left), his bike next to a pothole in Whitchurch (right). Credit: Dan Allsobrook

Pothole problem unites cyclists and drivers

‘You have to drive as if you are drunk to avoid them,’ says one motorist 

ABOUT 22,800 potholes were filled in Cardiff in 2023 – but not before causing injuries to cyclists and drivers and damage to their vehicles.

Here some victims share their stories, and the council explains its never-ending job of fixing the problem.

Driver Stuart Bolter-Shone said driving over potholes has worsened his back problems. He has gone from working over 50 hours a week as a chef to 16. 

“There’s so many potholes in the road that to miss them you have to drive as if you are drunk,” he said.

Dan Allsobrook, part of campaign group Cardiff Cycle City, got two punctures from a pothole covered by a flooded cycle path. 

“The state of the roads does discourage people from cycling,” said Mr Allsobrook. 

“A lot of potholes get filled in with tarmac and then a few days later they open again,” he said. 

A Cardiff Council spokesperson said: “Potholes are repaired temporarily until a long-term solution can be provided – which requires more extensive patching or resurfacing of the road.”

Potholes are particularly dangerous for cyclists because they can knock someone off a bike. Phil Swan recently fell off his bike after hitting a pothole hidden by a puddle. 

Cyclist Pieter Naaijkens, who takes his daughter to school by bike, said that more preventative resurfacing is needed to manage the pothole problem. 

“They are mainly patching up the worst issues,” he said. 

Cardiff Council said: “The council uses the resources available to best effect by carrying out a variety of road works across the highway network including reconstruction, re-surfacing, surface patching and treatments as well as temporary repairs to potholes.”

Potholes on Lansdowne Road. Credit: Pieter Naaijkens

For drivers potholes can cause expensive damage to cars including punctures, cracked wheel rims and bent suspension arms. 

“The roads in Cardiff are disgusting. Everyday someone comes in. For someone who is on a low budget it can hit them hard,” said Gary Pinkard, owner of Gary Pinkard Vehicle Repair in Roath. 

He recently replaced a cracked wheel rim caused by a pothole. The parts cost £290, £230 for a new wheel and £60 for the tyre. 

Abdul Beparry, from Canton Auto Centre, said cracked wheel rims can be dangerous because drivers don’t realise they’ve cracked. 

In 2023 Cardiff Council reportedly filled in 22,806 potholes and in 2021/22 it spent £589,000 on fixing potholes. 

Potholes are caused by water in the soil underneath the road, weakening the tarmac which is then broken by cars driving over it. They are often worse in the winter because of heavy rainfall and cold temperatures, which causes the water to freeze and expand. 

You can report potholes here on the Cardiff Council website. If you’ve had any issues with potholes please get in touch at gardnerci1@cardiff.ac.uk