At the end of last week I got an email from Cycling UK telling me it was their annual Pothole Watch this week. "That sounds exciting", I thought. So in celebration I reported with photographs all the potholes on Hay Green Lane between Mulberry Road and Bournville Lane (the screenshot maps my hard work).
Full of potholes
Reported via iOS in the Potholes category by Daniel shardlow at 20:03, Sat 31 October 2020
Sent to Birmingham City Council less than a minute later
The road is full of potholes all over the road and it’s near impossible to avoid them while driving
I don't often cycle this section of road, but I can tell you it's a very swervy ride, so I was pleased to see the report. Alas the follow up was:
Road is still full of potholes yet they claim they can’t find any issues
Posted by Daniel shardlow at 20:31, Sat 28 November 2020
Still open, via questionnaire
They are big potholes, tens of centimetres in diameter. Not something one can easily miss in any sense of the phrase, as the original poster said and I can confirm.
I know from experience that if you don't document each pothole thoroughly, no repair will be made. At best you'll get a message back to say they will "check the road at the next inspection", but even if they do, the road wont be repaired. So that's why I selected this section of road to report in detail. Sadly it does represent the state of many roads.
At the present time we are always hearing from flag-waving politicians about how exceptional is Britain. In terms of potholes, yes, we are exceptionally good compared with say, post-industrial Russia, but compared with Germany, which I have visited a lot, we are just unbelievably exceptionally bad. Whereas in Birmingham I will return from a ride with a phone full of pictures of potholes, I can literally cycle for many, many kilometres between road defects worthy of reporting. But being an infrastructure nerd, I do just happen to return from my rides with photos that include lots of asphalt. I've picked some of them out below (showing a variety of road classes), along with the only photos I have specifically of defects, so you can contrast and compare, and draw your own conclusions about whether the state of British infrastructure is reasonable or not. I want to emphasise that the photos I have presented are not cherry-picked; they depict normality. Slightly off-topic, certain British politicians like to tell us that Germany is a failing country. Looking at the state of the infrastructure in both countries, what do you think?