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Family of cyclist killed in Surrey pothole crash express thanks to coroner who issues 'prevention of future deaths' report to Surrey County Council...

The family of a cyclist who died after he hit a pothole have expressed their gratitude to the coroner who presided over the inquest into his death and who has called on Surrey County Council to take steps to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

Ralph Brazier, 52, died on 1 March last year after he was thrown from his bike when he hit the pothole on the A317 in Weybridge, the inquest at Woking Coroner’s Court heard.

The father of three had been riding with clubmates from Twickenham Cycling Club after hitting the partially submerged defect, which was next to a drain cover.

> Weybridge pothole "posed a real risk of death" to cyclists, inquest told

Coroner Christopher Sutton-Mattocks QC, who said he would issue a ‘prevention of future deaths’ report to Surrey County Council, was critical of the local authority for taking a different approach to assessing risks posed by defects in cycle lanes to how it would treat faults on the main carriageway.

In a statement released through solicitors Leigh Day, Mr Brazier’s family said: “We are very grateful to the coroner for such a thorough investigation into Ralph’s death. While nothing can bring Ralph back at least we now feel we have some answers to the many questions we had about how he died.  

 “We hope that the Coroner’s conclusion will provoke effective action from local councils to ensure that their roads are safe for everyone, including passionate cyclists like Ralph.”  

 Leigh Day partner Grant Incles said: “Some of the evidence heard at this inquest would cause considerable concern to vulnerable road users. Through his investigation the Coroner has identified an issue which affects cyclists all too often.  

 "It is hoped his recommendations to Surrey County Council will mean that they and councils all over the UK take meaningful action to protect all vulnerable road users, and in particular the growing body of people using the roads to ride bikes for sport, leisure and just to get from A to B.  

 "For far too long the prevailing attitude has been that roads are for 4-wheeled motor vehicles and risk-assessed on that basis.

“This has got to change and we just hope this case will help to do that,” he added.  

The easiest way to report potholes or other dangerous road defects to the relevant authorities is by using the Fill that hole app - which comes in both IOS and Android versions.  

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

6 comments

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Christopher TR1 [154 posts] 9 months ago
6 likes

What a tragic waste - perhaps the councils would take this more seriously if they were found guilty in court (they are clearly guilty) and made to pay a very large fine.

"was critical of the local authority for taking a different approach to assessing risks posed by defects in cycle lanes to how it would treat faults on the main carriageway."

It beggars belief that even the dumbest of council officials can't understand how much more important it is to have a good road surface for a bicycle than for a car. We need to get the fuckwits responsible for our roads to ride them on a very stiff road bike with 20mm tyres at 160psi.

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beezus fufoon [956 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
Christopher TR1 wrote:

What a tragic waste - perhaps the councils would take this more seriously if they were found guilty in court (they are clearly guilty) and made to pay a very large fine.

"was critical of the local authority for taking a different approach to assessing risks posed by defects in cycle lanes to how it would treat faults on the main carriageway."

It beggars belief that even the dumbest of council officials can't understand how much more important it is to have a good road surface for a bicycle than for a car. We need to get the fuckwits responsible for our roads to ride them on a very stiff road bike with 20mm tyres at 160psi.

I propose they be shown a diagram showing the various widths of car and bicycle tyres and a tape measure with non-sharp edges.

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LastBoyScout [332 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

Wouldn't hold your breath.

I reported a series of potholes on a roundabout on my commute to Reading council 2 years ago and was informed that it was not yet bad enough to meet their intervention level.

2 years later, the potholes are still there, it's still a horrible roundabout to get round and the latest response is that it still does not meet intervention level.

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Man of Lard [338 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

@LastBoyScout - would a reasonable person agree with the council? If you think not, try reporting it again and asking upon whom you should serve notice under section 56 of the Highways Act 1980... That usually concentrates minds sufficiently.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/66/section/56

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LastBoyScout [332 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
Man of Lard wrote:

@LastBoyScout - would a reasonable person agree with the council? If you think not, try reporting it again and asking upon whom you should serve notice under section 56 of the Highways Act 1980... That usually concentrates minds sufficiently.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/66/section/56

I have again replied to their email and am awaiting a response to that one.

Thanks for the info on Section 56 - I'll keep that in mind...

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Man of Lard [338 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

Copy in your MP too - I'm sure they dislike getting involved in this sort of parochial nonsense, but if he/she puts in a word, the council will hate it more... Interesting time to involve your (possibly up for election in May) local councillor...