SOUTHAMPTON has been revealed as having the worst roads in the south which are damaging cars and putting cyclists lives at risk.

The city council is shamed as having fixed just one fifth of road "hazards" reported to it by cyclists over the past year - among the worst records in the country.

It is languishing in 167th place out of 203 in a national league table of highway authorities - behind Hampshire and Portsmouth - with a miserable record of fixing just 24 per cent of reported potholes.

Southampton cyclist Matt Probert, 43, says one of the worst examples can be found near his home - a 12m long rut up to 9cm deep in Cheriton Avenue.

Mr Probert, a writer, said: "The only time I have seen worst pot holes in a tarmac road was in Kingston, Jamaica.

"Car drivers will know these pot holes are a nuisance. To a cyclist they can be lethal."

Lindsi Bluemel from the Southampton Cycling Campaign said the reporting system appeared to have "broken down".

"The holes are a serious risk to cyclists. You can be thrown off your bike quite easily," she said.

Garages also report potholes are a menace to motorists and damage cars.

Alan Bambrough of Mayfield Garage in Archery Road said: "It's quite common, normally with alloy wheels which have with low-profile tyres. The walls are so thin that when you hit a pothole the wheel takes the impact. They can be very badly damaged and the whole wheel has to be replaced."

The pothole league table was compiled from reports to the Cyclists' Touring Club, the UK's national cycling club.

Of the 76 "hazards" notified to the city council, only 19 have been reported as fixed.

Hampshire County Council, ranked 70th, managed to fix 159 of the 371 defects reported, while Portsmouth, ranked 63rd, sorted out four of the nine.

Southampton councillors blame a backlog of repairs estimated to be £50m.

Road chiefs say they have been deluged with an average of 70 complaints a week about potholes since April.

Councillor Gavin Dick, Cabinet member for transport, said: "The trouble is the roads are a disaster from years of Labour and Liberal neglect.

"What we are trying to do is put a sticking plastic over wounds that need bandages.

"We are looking at how to bring more money forward to invest in the roads network because the people of Southamp-ton deserve better."

New funding proposals will be announced next month after the council lost out on a bid for £300m worth of road improvement cash through a Government-approved private finance scheme.

The council says its pot hole team received more than 6,500 reports of defects on the roads and pavements in Southamp-ton in 2007/8 - about 2,000 were on roads.

In the same period it repaired 2,200 potholes within its "agreed intervention level" of 4cm deep.

Many were flagged-up in previous years and others from routine inspections.

To report a pothole contact the council's "Actionline" on 0800 5191919.

n The council is taking part in a national survey to ask residents what they think of the city's roads. It has been sent to a random sample of 4,500 homes.