Cyclist wins £7,600 pothole payout

CTC forces council to pay up for injuries caused by poorly maintained road

by Tony Farrelly   April 3, 2009  

Essex Potholes 3

A cyclist injured when he was thrown from his bike after hitting a pothole has won £7,600 in compensation. Ian Davis, 49, of Ermin Street in Berkshire, took legal action against West Berkshire County Council using the CTC's Accident Helpline.

Mr Davis suffered broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder, plus hip and knee injuries, when he crashed after riding into a pothole while cycling on the B4000 from Lambourn to Newbury in February 2006.

After the award 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.”
 
Commenting on the 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.”

The CTC has been running its Fill that hole! campaign urging cyclists to report potholes for a number of years now and the organisation'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."