11cm deep hole not reported, say council

The inquest into the death of a 72-year-old woman has heard that she died of brain injuries after falling off her bike when it hit a pothole.

Valerie Cadogan was riding with her husband David Raine when she was thrown from her bike. The couple were riding into Monmouth from their home in Osbaston on April 24, Mr Raine told the inquest.

According to the South Wales Argus, Ms Cadogan died of her injuries the following day, despite being treated at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol. She never regained consciousness and a post mortem showed brain haemorrhages to be the cause of death.

Mr Raine said Ms Cadogan was riding ahead of him as they descended St Mary's Road on the outskirts of Osbaston. They had reached the bottom of a dip “where the road surface seems to change and becomes uneven and rough.”

“As she was about to start the climb, she had started to pedal faster to help get up the rise,” he said.

‘Her front wheel turned sharp right and she went over the handlebars and landed on her head.”

Mr Raine said he only saw the 11cm deep pothole after his wife hit it.

The hole was “mended immediately” following the crash, said Monmouthshire council area maintenance engineer Mark Watkins.

Mr Watkins said that St Mary's Road was not a major route and so was inspected just once a year. In between inspections, the council relied on police and the public to report problems such potholes. There had been no reports of problems since the road was inspected and repaired in June 2012.

Gwent coroner David Bowen said that had she been wearing a helmet, it might have lessened the effects of the impact.

Returning a verdict of accidental death, Mr Bowen said that Ms Cadogan "inadvertently" hit the pothole and was satisfied that had she seen it, she was experienced enough to have steered past it.

After a similar incident and finding in 2011, the CTC expressed concern that potholes were not being repaired quickly enough, and the victim's husband took legal advice about suing the local council.

After the death of Christian Brown in Lincolnshire earlier this year, his clubmates said they had complained about potholes in the area 26 times in the previous six months, but nothing had been done. The local council said they had received no reports.

Spotted a dangerous pothole? The CTC's Fill That Hole site website and app enables potholes to be reported easily to the relevant authorities so that appropriate action can be taken.

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.