Accidental death verdict over woman who hit Monmouth pothole

11cm deep hole not reported, say council

by John Stevenson   September 20, 2013  

Broken bike (CC licensed image by garryknight, www.flickr.com)

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.

10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Quote:
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.

how do you square that one???

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1345 posts]
20th September 2013 - 11:58

3 Likes

mrmo wrote:
how do you square that one???

Perhaps they hadn't had a report of that particular pothole, and therefore feel they are off the hook.

posted by HKCambridge [168 posts]
20th September 2013 - 15:26

5 Likes

Once again a 'mature' cyclist who was, and i quote, 'experienced' had got to a grand old age not wearing a helmet without dying, but suddenly, after several decades it becomes a factor in their death.
And, once again, a trained professional uses the word 'might' when speculating about whether or not a helmet would have saved her.
Its just a cynical diversionary tactic, trotted out again and again, to shift focus away from the real reason this poor woman died which, in this case, is at best apathy and at worse negligence from a local authority.
We have a right to leave our houses on our bikes, with or without a helmet, and not have to worry whether or not we are going to die because of the woeful state of our highways.

posted by Some Fella [820 posts]
20th September 2013 - 15:45

5 Likes

Well, we all get more fragile as we get older and this is one of the rare occasions where a motor-vehicle wasn't involved and a helmet could of made a difference. That of course doesn't excuse the council from maintaining the roads and their apparent negligence in this matter.

My condolences.

posted by kie7077 [560 posts]
20th September 2013 - 16:04

5 Likes

Where does it say she had spent her whole life without a helmet ? I've gone onto the story on the South Wales Argus and it doesn't mention it there either.

As for the coroner's comments - it might have lessened the impact, it might not, at least he did not say it would have.

This is a very sad story about the death of an elderly lady doing what she enjoyed and it should not be used as an excuse for "one upmanship" imho.

My condolences go to her husband and family.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2839 posts]
20th September 2013 - 16:27

5 Likes

Perhaps if they got up off of their arse's and went and checked the roads themselves, as in do the job you are paid for!!, this might not have happened. Utter cop out 'we rely on the Police and Public to tell us' well here we go Mr Watkins 'DO YOUR JOB AND CHECK THE ROADS!' A member of the public has spoken get on with it.

My condolences to the family.

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [470 posts]
20th September 2013 - 16:43

4 Likes

I've used Fill that Hole several times over the past year about a nasty 2 foot long, 3" deep gash in the road on my commute home - nothing. It's a waste of time.

The councils don't enforce proper repair after holes are dug and filled in - the whole thing is a massive waste of money.

posted by DrJDog [179 posts]
20th September 2013 - 16:45

5 Likes

DrJDog wrote:
I've used Fill that Hole several times over the past year about a nasty 2 foot long, 3" deep gash in the road on my commute home - nothing. It's a waste of time.

All councils will have something similar, this is for Gloucestershire

http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=2156

read 4.4 and 4.5 then scream!!!!

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1345 posts]
20th September 2013 - 18:02

6 Likes

mrmo wrote:

All councils will have something similar, this is for Gloucestershire

http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=2156

read 4.4 and 4.5 then scream!!!!

By that rational have a crash on one that requires hospitalisation and you should get them filled Silly

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [470 posts]
21st September 2013 - 9:46

5 Likes

kie7077 wrote:
Well, we all get more fragile as we get older and this is one of the rare occasions where a motor-vehicle wasn't involved and a helmet could of made a difference.

It was a crash at speed, not a standing crash onto the floor of the type that helmets are designed for. I've no idea where the coroner got evidence for his mad idea. Its just not a well-tested situation.

posted by a.jumper [721 posts]
22nd September 2013 - 8:00

3 Likes