Cyclist injured by pothole, gets compensation. Good or bad?

by Chipps 0 views22

Here’s the CTC pitch on the matter:

A CTC member injured when he hit a pothole in the road has been awarded £7,600 in compensation.

Ian Davis, 49, of Ermin Street in Berkshire, suffered broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder, plus hip and knee injuries, after he cycled into a pothole and was thrown from his bike while cycling on the B4000 from Lambourn to Newbury in February 2006.

Mr Davis, who was treated in hospital and still requires regular GP care, said: “I’m an avid cyclist and travel this route regularly. On the day of the accident, the weather was clear but the pothole in the road was not visible from my bike. As I went over the pothole, the handle bars from my bike immediately ripped out of my hands, causing me to lose my balance and I crashed to the ground.

“The accident had a significant impact on my lifestyle – I was unable to work for two weeks after the fall and after that, could only work in half capacity for a further six weeks and had to depend on my partner to help keep things afloat. I’m still able to cycle but due to the pain in my left shoulder and arm, I can’t ride for long periods like I used to.”

As Ian Davis is a CTC member he called CTC Accident Helpline, who took up his case.

Acting solicitor Enid Brenyah, of Russell Jones & Walker said: “Mr Davis’ case is a triumph for cyclists who have suffered injuries due to poorly maintained roads. In this instance, West Berkshire County Council denied full liability – but we were able to prove that they were in breach of their duties under Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 – which states the highway must not be dangerous to traffic. This highlights that local councils have a duty to the public to ensure roads are correctly maintained in order to avoid incidents such as Mr Davis’ case.”

CTC’s Policy Coordinator, Chris Peck, said: “This case shows how important it is for cyclists that councils fix potholes quickly. It is why we are asking all cyclists not just to cycle round potholes but to report them on our website www.fillthathole.org.uk.“

The site allows cyclists (and other road users) to zoom into any road in the UK and mark the location of a pothole. www.fillthathole.org.uk then automatically emails the local authority, which is then expected to take action. It takes no longer than 2 minutes to use and if a problem is ignored and subsequently someone crashes, it is possible to show that the council knew about it.

Comments (22)

  1. It’s a road, it should be fit for traffic including bicycles.

  2. agree. i’ve hit some large potholes that have nearly had me off my bike. Out on the open road they’re reasonably easy to spot. But commuting through heavy traffic in the winter they can be very dangerous.

  3. If it has been reported and the council did not act in a timely manner, then yes, in cases like this where there is a long term effect, it seems fair the guy is compensated for his suffering due to someone elses neglect.

  4. fair! the roads are getting worse and worse… Not just for cyclists but also for car drivers. I remember when I came to England 7 years ago how impressed I was by the quality of the roads, but now its the same like in my country, driving “slalom” around pot holes.

  5. When I worked in a bike shop, a good customer of ours creased the top and downtubes of his beloved touring bike (and knocked himself about a bit,) by riding into a huge pothole that appeared to be just a puddle as it was full of water. (it was raining.)
    You don’t expect or plan for that kind of thing on the road! I think a claim is fair.

  6. A friend who works in the council told me 80% of the road repair budget is set aside for claims as it’s cheaper than repairing most roads to the correct standard. If we all claimed every time this happened to us either on the bike or the car I am reliably informed the powers that be would have to reconsider their strategies…..

  7. Squat mouse – I too work in local government highways,and would say your mates talking poo.

    THis claim is fair if the road was had not been inspected to the right level at the right interval for the class of road. You will always get more pot holes on lesser classes of roads as they are inspected less often and generally constructed less well.

    Fair to the bloke I say. Remember keep you eyes peeled!

  8. I ride that road quite often, and compared to many others round here it’s in pretty good condition. I vaguely recall it being resurfaced a couple of years ago – from the local paper the accident was from 2006? Given how infrequently roads are resurfaced it was probably in a fairly shonky condition at the time.

    If a case like this encourages councils to look after the roads a bit better then it can only be a good thing.

  9. Hmmm! roads are in a terrible condition. (rumor has it paris-roubaix may be moved to surrey next year 😉 ) but I really don’t know about legal action because someone rode into a pothole.

  10. Ok.Try this.Biker at well known NE Wales trail centre is dicking about in the car park pulling wheelies and falls off,breaking his ankle.Is very apologetic for being a twat,signs accident form to that effect and is taken to hospital.Fast forward several weeks and a letter is received from said persons solicitor claiming his client was thrown from his bike whilst innocently riding by a bottomless pothole in the car park (accompanied by photos of ficticious pothole-no scale no proof of where it was).Several months later and he’s still at it.Good or bad?

  11. Gibbon, there are claims which are fair (like in the article), and some that are not (guy in the car park dicking around).

  12. Fair play he was injured but – how the hell do you not notice a pothole from your bike? You ride anywhere you’re responsible for being aware of your surroundings and anything that might pose a danger.

    At least it wasn’t a ridiculous settlement and I’m glad to hear he’s healing up.

  13. Fair; in traffic on fast country roads you may have no choice but to go over the pothole because of overtaking traffic. Many potholes could have you off and then under the wheels of a car. But if it’s cheaper for the council to pay compensation then who cares if someone gets seriously injured / killed…

  14. Compensation is likely to be paid by Council’s insurance, not come out of Council’s Highways Repair Budget.

    On a road bike (unlike a fat-tyred MTB), hitting even a shallow pothole can throw you off line or cause damage.

    Councils can (and have) successfully defended cases by claiming that they did not know of the potholes existence so it is likely in this case that they were aware of its existance.

    Given the injuries suffered, I think he had a fair claim; thankfully, so did the court.

  15. Sounds like a fair result although he seems to have done rather well in terms of compensation. As beej says that road is in good condition compared to some round here.

  16. Definitely a fair result.

    I too had an accident and claimed against the council – they had no records, whatsoever, of ever inspecting a bridge that formed part of a cyclepath. Following my incident I wrote to them, emailed them, filled in their online feedback/incident reporting webform, and rang them to inform them that the bridge was in a dangerous condition. I was later told that the webforms are never read, and don’t actually go anywhere! I claimed on principle. I’ve never claimed from anyone in the past but the sheer arrogance wound me up so much that I thought “sod it”.

    Councils have a legal requirement to maintain the roads, paths, highways and byways. They fought my claim for 5 years and incurred a massive legal fee before being instructed to settle out of court. I got £5k – the legal fee (including mine) – approximately £32k.

    Local government offering value for money.

  17. Yeah fair the state of our roads is a joke. What’s the deal with marking potholes with a spray can to, does that mean it’s scheduled to be dealt with or just a warning that it’s a pothole? I’ve seen some with a yellow or white paint marking around them for months.

  18. No, its a good call, but as long as it doesn’t result in the roads pot being kept for making compensation claims. I ride the road in question a lot (in fact I time trial on it) and in 2006 it was a bit dodgy. In fairness we were able to get the worst stretch of it resurfaced this year as the ToB came up it. At the end of the day pot holes are a menace, if you have loads of cars passing you are not in a position to do anything about getting out the way.

  19. We can’t say if it’s good or bad (or rather fair or unfair) without at least a picture of the offending pothole.

  20. FuzzyWuzzy – the spray paint marking the potholes might have been done by local roadie club if it’s on a road race or time trial circuit. We had several to avoid last Sunday, all 80 of us riding at 25+mph with just a few millimetres between handlebars!
    Now that could be an interesting claim…

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