A 76-YEAR-old cyclist who was injured in an accident caused by a pothole in the road has received an out-of-court settlement of more than £6,000.
Kenneth Atkinson, from Welling, Kent, suffered a badly dislocated shoulder after he hit a pothole and was thrown from his bike on Oakfield Lane, Dartford, on May 30, 2007.
His lawyers Russell Jones and Walker, said the pothole was meant to have been repaired five weeks prior to his accident but remained more than four inches deep.
According to the Bexley Times, Kent County Council, responsible for the stretch of road, initially denied liability, but it was revealed that an out of court settlement of £6,250 was reached with KCC and its contractors, Scotia Gas Networks.
Mr Atkinson, whose arm still hurts and limits his cycling, said: "Before the accident I was doing two 60 mile rides a week. I've had to cut that down by half.
"My arm aches constantly and it has meant that simple tasks or hobbies become painful, such as driving or playing musical instruments."
Paul Kitson, Partner at Slater & Gordon, said: "This case illustrates the difficulties of obtaining compensation from highway authorities.
"They rarely admit liability for accidents involving road defects."
KCC have now pledged £1 million to fix potholes and damage caused by the severe weather this Spring.
KCC leader Paul Carter said: "We are planning how we will tackle the problem of potholes now.
"We are increasing our budget by at least £1 million to get the roads repaired across Kent. The money for this has come from underspend elsewhere in the council budget.
New of the damages award comes just days after warnings reported here on road.cc, that Britain's roads face an epidemic of potholes brought on by the abnormally cold, snowy conditions which have hit Britain this winter. The short thaw between Christmas and the New Year revealed extensive damage brought on by the actions of freezing and thawing and the melting ice and snow is expected to reveal even more damage in the coming days.
As ever the advice to anyone who sees a new pothole is to report it to their local council, once that has been done they are legally required to repair it within a reasonable amount of time or be liable should it cause injury or damage.
Because Cyclists are probably the most vulnerable group of road users when it comes to either damage to themselves or their bikes caused by potholes the CTC has long campaigned to have potholes and other road defects speedily repaired and its Fill that Hole! campaign takes all of the hassle out of the process of notifying a council about a problem pothole. Anyone spotting a new, or old, pothole should go to www.fillthathole.org.uk where you can log the problem in a simple online process.