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Hole caused by road works felled

Fran Millar, head of business operations for Team Sky and sister of Garmin-Sharp pro ride David Millar, has successfully claimed for compensation against against Oldham Council after hitting a pothole left her with a broken cheek, jaw, fingers and missing teeth.

Fran was was riding along Oldham High Street on 1 May 2010 when she swerved to miss a pothole in the road. But as she tried to avoid one pothole, she rode into an even larger one caused by previous roadworks.

She was thrown from her bike, landed heavily on her face and hand and was knocked unconscious. Witnesses to the crash helped Fran and she was taken to hospital where medics found extensive injuries to her face and hands.

Through her British Cycling membership Fran Millar’s case was taken up by Penny Knight of law firm Leigh Day. Penny successfully obtained damages from Oldham Council to compensate Fran for time off work, her injuries and the damage to her bike.

The amount of Fran's compensation is confidential, but similar cases in the last few years have resulted in four-figure pay-outs. In 2009 Ian Davis was paid £7,600 by West Berkshire County Council after he hit a pothole and sustained broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, and hip and knee injuries. In 2010, Kenneth Atkinson received an out-of-court settlement of more than £6,000 from Kent County Council for a badly dislocated shoulder.

Fran is back on her bike and this summer rode the 198km Etape du Tour.

“I feel extremely lucky to be back on my bike again with both my physical and mental scars healed or healing,” she said.

“A crash like this happens so suddenly it can shake your entire confidence on the bike, one minute you are cycling along the next you’re being wheeled into an accident and emergency department.

“More people need to be encouraged to ride their bikes. We are now a cycling nation and councils must make sure that we can all enjoy the road safely. Had I not hit the pothole caused by these road works I would have been forced out into the road into the path of motorists. Having safe roads benefits everyone.”

Penny Knight said: “It was clear that the damage to the road, which caused this crash, was a result of poor resurfacing after the road had been dug up by the council for works to underground pipes.

“We all pay for the upkeep of the roads through our council tax and income tax, councils therefore have an obligation to ensure all roads are suitable and safe for all users.”

If you encounter a dangerous pothole - and is there any other kind - we recommend  using the CTC's Fill That Hole tool to report it. 

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

25 comments

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TheSpaniard [99 posts] 3 years ago
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“We all pay for the upkeep of the roads through our council tax and income tax, councils therefore have an obligation to ensure all roads are suitable and safe for all users”

Does that mean we all pay for dodgy, and in this case not so dodgy, compensation claims through our council tax as well? Thanks a bunch.

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Some Fella [890 posts] 3 years ago
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Good for her.
The big question however is WTF was a delicate flower such as Fran Millar doing in Oldham!?!?!?!
Nobody goes to Oldham out of choice.

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 3 years ago
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Some Fella wrote:

Good for her.
The big question however is WTF was a delicate flower such as Fran Millar doing in Oldham!?!?!?!
Nobody goes to Oldham out of choice.

Delph, Diggle & Dobcross. Not just silly names, but rather nice places in Oldham

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Metjas [362 posts] 3 years ago
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TheSpaniard wrote:

“We all pay for the upkeep of the roads through our council tax and income tax, councils therefore have an obligation to ensure all roads are suitable and safe for all users”

Does that mean we all pay for dodgy, and in this case not so dodgy, compensation claims through our council tax as well? Thanks a bunch.

maybe a good time to press your local council for keeping the roads in tip top condition?

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newtonuk [61 posts] 3 years ago
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TheSpaniard wrote:

“We all pay for the upkeep of the roads through our council tax and income tax, councils therefore have an obligation to ensure all roads are suitable and safe for all users”

Does that mean we all pay for dodgy, and in this case not so dodgy, compensation claims through our council tax as well? Thanks a bunch.

I would imagine that it is paid out by the council's public liability insurance.

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Mike_B [26 posts] 3 years ago
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Is pot hole.jpg the actual pot hole or is this just random stock pic selection?? That's quite a big pot hole and if that isn't it then you are misrepresenting the facts of this story

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b3nharris [44 posts] 3 years ago
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So if a council pays compensation for injuries arising from hitting a pothole, what about when someone dies? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-24160361

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a.jumper [846 posts] 3 years ago
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Councils are cutting corners but the increased costs that result are higher insurance premiums which idiot councilors can deflect by ranting about compensation culture. If they did their jobs blamelessly, there would be noclaims!

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Doctor Fegg [143 posts] 3 years ago
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@Mike_B: outrageous, I agree. You should demand a refund. Oh, wait.

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Paul J [901 posts] 3 years ago
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The important question: was she wearing a full-face, MX/MTB/motorcycle style helmet?

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andyp [1460 posts] 3 years ago
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Ghedebrav: 'Delph, Diggle & Dobcross. Not just silly names, but rather nice places in Oldham'

*NEAR* Oldham, thank you. Not *in* Oldham. Honestly. You just caused my house price to plummet.

I saw Fran in Uppermill Police Station a day or so after her crash, picking up her bike. Jeez she looked a mess.

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andyp [1460 posts] 3 years ago
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'Is pot hole.jpg the actual pot hole or is this just random stock pic selection?? That's quite a big pot hole and if that isn't it then you are misrepresenting the facts of this story'

Surely only if the caption of the photo states 'this is the actual pothole which caused the crash'? It's only your mind which is linking the two...

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Mendip James [38 posts] 3 years ago
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That's actually a picture of Wookey Hole Caves, you can see the witches hat poking out

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Mike_B [26 posts] 3 years ago
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Andyp you do link them in your mind regardless of what the caption says. It's lazy journalism.

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velobetty [71 posts] 3 years ago
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"Does that mean we all pay for dodgy, and in this case not so dodgy, compensation claims through our council tax as well? Thanks a bunch."

Yes, unfortunately our council tax is routinely used to compensate people due to the poor work of contractors.

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farrell [1950 posts] 3 years ago
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Paul J wrote:

The important question: was she wearing a full-face, MX/MTB/motorcycle style helmet?

You've clearly not seen the "After" photo then?

It's on her twitter - @FranMillar - if you want to grim yerself out a bit.

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andyp [1460 posts] 3 years ago
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'Andyp you do link them in your mind regardless of what the caption says'

no, I really don't. You might, I guess. I don't.

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Mike_B [26 posts] 3 years ago
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You might not andyp, but most people do. That's why newspapers, magazines and a minority of websites use (or when they are doing it right anyway) relevant pictures of the actual events they are writing about. They spend a lot of time of money buying and researching these pictures. I can understand websites that maybe don't have big budgets not being able to get hold of the right pictures, but just randomly putting any picture they have up to accompany the story isn't good practice.

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andyp [1460 posts] 3 years ago
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There's a huge difference between 'not good practice' and 'misrepresenting the facts'.

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Aapje [242 posts] 3 years ago
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Paul J wrote:

The important question: was she wearing a full-face, MX/MTB/motorcycle style helmet?

And was she wearing hi-vis? Perhaps the pothole didn't see her.

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Stumps [3354 posts] 3 years ago
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The compensation on offer is a slap in the face when you look at the payments received for criminal injuries.

I got 2k for a broken finger when i was kicked in the hand bya s**thead yet Fran Millar gets a few grand more for extensive broken bones, loss of teeth and damage to her bike which i reckon would be a dogs bollocks bike.

It stinks, it really does. Its about time there was an overhaul of the compen laws so in instances like this the person gets properly renumerated.

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Mike_B [26 posts] 3 years ago
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It is misrepresenting the facts to show an enormous pothole with the story when you don't have a picture of the real one. You are implying the one in question was that size, otherwise why have a photo in the first place.

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Matt eaton [742 posts] 3 years ago
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The state of our roads is really getting poor in many areas and this sort of story is symptomatic of this. I fully support Fran is taking legal action; it seems that hitting our local authorities in the pocket may be the only way to get through to them about the poor state of our highways.

I rode out for about 40 miles yesterday and I would estimate that at least a quarter of the tarmac that I covered was in a less-than-ideal state with a good deal of sections being downright dangerous.

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andyp [1460 posts] 3 years ago
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'You are implying the one in question was that size'

just the size? not the shape/location/fact that it is surrounded by cones and full of bin bags? Even though the caption doesn't specify that the one she fell into didn't have cones around it and lots of rubbish inside it?

I put it to you, sir, that you don't know what you're on about.

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notfastenough [3708 posts] 3 years ago
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stumps wrote:

The compensation on offer is a slap in the face when you look at the payments received for criminal injuries.

I got 2k for a broken finger when i was kicked in the hand bya s**thead yet Fran Millar gets a few grand more for extensive broken bones, loss of teeth and damage to her bike which i reckon would be a dogs bollocks bike.

It stinks, it really does. Its about time there was an overhaul of the compen laws so in instances like this the person gets properly renumerated.

The sum is undisclosed though isn't it? I wondered if it might be rather significant, maybe £10-20k.

Reckon you're right about the bike though. Her twitter profile pic is of her name on a black top tube, complete with the thin blue line along the top, so it might even be team spec.