A motoring company, which published a survey of UK potholes as its own, has been obliged to apologise to an angry CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation, which says the data used was identical to its own.
What rankled the CTC was that this PR stunt for Kia Motors earned the company lots publicity, but with no credit to the CTC whatsoever.
From the Kia website:
“WEYBRIDGE, UNITED KINGDOM – March 10, 2010: Surrey has been named as the pothole capital of the UK in new research released today. The county has topped the league table of regions most blighted by damaged road surfaces, with some 1,998 potholes afflicting Surrey’s 450,000 motorists.
“The Kia Motors UK Pothole Survey identifies Hampshire as the second worse-off county, where drivers have logged 892 potholes, followed by Kent with 857, painting a hazardous picture of the country’s road network.”
CTC Right to Ride rep Jim Bush spotted that ‘The Kia Motors UK Pothole Survey’ is identical to CTC’s league table on www.fillthathole.org.uk
“Their press release titled ‘Surrey named as UK’s pothole capital’ is inaccurate,” claims Victoria Hazael, CTC press officer.
“Surrey comes top on fill that hole as CTC’s National Office is based in Guildford, so most staff log potholes regularly and CTC has a large membership in Surrey too. CTC has never used the data on Fillthathole to name and shame local authorities, as the data is not robust.
“It relies on cyclists reporting potholes and in areas where there are more CTC members there are more reports. For example Torfaen has a 75% fixed rate, but only four potholes have been reported there. It is very unlikely that they are only four potholes in the area.”
Sophie Gregory of Kia’s PR agency told Cycling Weekly.
‘We have apologised to the CTC for not crediting them as a data source. It was a genuine oversight on our part and we were in no way wishing to take undue credit for the excellent research undertaken by the CTC and will be more vigilant when referencing sources in the future.”
The irony that a car company would seek to use Fillthathole data to promote themselves was not lost on the CTC. “I don’t remember seeing any research into cyclists causing potholes on the roads, but there is plenty of evidence to show motor vehicles do!” said Hazael.
The CTC has requested some form of recompense for Kia’s use of information from Fillthathole without asking permission and without any credit.