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Cyclist injured by pothole awarded £6,000

Unrepaired hole was four inches deep

A 76-YEAR-old cyclist who was injured in an accident caused by a pothole in the road has received an out-of-court settlement of more than £6,000.

Kenneth Atkinson, from Welling, Kent, suffered a badly dislocated shoulder after he hit a pothole and was thrown from his bike on Oakfield Lane, Dartford, on May 30, 2007.

His lawyers Russell Jones and Walker, said the pothole was meant to have been repaired five weeks prior to his accident but remained more than four inches deep.

According to the Bexley Times, Kent County Council, responsible for the stretch of road, initially denied liability, but it was revealed that an out of court settlement of £6,250 was reached with KCC and its contractors, Scotia Gas Networks.

Mr Atkinson, whose arm still hurts and limits his cycling, said: "Before the accident I was doing two 60 mile rides a week. I've had to cut that down by half.

"My arm aches constantly and it has meant that simple tasks or hobbies become painful, such as driving or playing musical instruments."

Paul Kitson, Partner at Slater & Gordon, said: "This case illustrates the difficulties of obtaining compensation from highway authorities.

"They rarely admit liability for accidents involving road defects."

KCC have now pledged £1 million to fix potholes and damage caused by the severe weather this Spring.

KCC leader Paul Carter said: "We are planning how we will tackle the problem of potholes now.

"We are increasing our budget by at least £1 million to get the roads repaired across Kent. The money for this has come from underspend elsewhere in the council budget.

New of the damages award comes just days after warnings reported here on, that Britain's roads face an epidemic of potholes brought on by the abnormally cold, snowy conditions which have hit Britain this winter. The short thaw between Christmas and the New Year revealed extensive damage brought on by the actions of freezing and thawing and the melting ice and snow is expected to reveal even more damage in the coming days. 

As ever the advice to anyone who sees a new pothole is to report it to their local council, once that has been done they are legally required to repair it within a reasonable amount of time or be liable should it cause injury or damage.

Because Cyclists are probably the most vulnerable group of road users when it comes to either damage to themselves or their bikes caused by potholes the CTC has long campaigned to have potholes and other road defects speedily repaired and its Fill that Hole! campaign takes all of the hassle out of the process of notifying a council about a problem pothole. Anyone spotting a new, or old, pothole should go to where you can log the problem in a simple online process.


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cat1commuter | 13 years ago

Reporting via fillthathole is a good idea because if anyone gets injured there is documentary evidence that the council knew about it. I've twice reported potholes via fillthathole and they have been repaired in about 1 week.

stever | 13 years ago

"His lawyers Russell Jones and Walker, said the pothole was meant to have been repaired five weeks prior..."

Still, at least it only took the lawyers 2.5 years to sort out. Were they hoping he'd die of old age first?

james-o | 13 years ago

so forget the CTC fillthathole site and report it direct to the local council - i had an accident in december due to a bad road repair that left a groove that was enough to de-rail my front wheel (a 35c 'cross tyre on a wet road). went straight to the council to report it and the injuries, i had a call from local highways contractor within a week and the road was fixed within 2 weeks - so i didn't follow up on a claim for ripped jeans / minor bike damage. fair enough i thought, as the response was better than expected.

DaSy | 13 years ago

That is true Dave, when I was assessed by a doctor for a claim I had against a driver that hit me, they kept on about nightmares. I ended up telling him the only thing that was causing me nightmares was him!

dave atkinson | 13 years ago

a broken thumb or something should do it. just talk a bit about how you're getting nightmares too  4

TRs Blurb n Blog | 13 years ago

What sort of injury do you need to sustain to get say £1000, I want to go on holiday?

jobysp | 13 years ago

I registered 14 or so potholes on CTCs website on one stretch of road, forcing me to pull out into dangerous traffic over a year ago (over 1/4 of a mile too). Some as deep as 8in.

Nothing repaired yet...

Wonder if I'll be able to see them there tonight with all this rain and snow?


purplecup | 13 years ago

on the plus side, if you fall down it and break your arm, you can categorically prove that the council knew about the whole and failed to act. so still probably worth it, even if they don't get their arses in gear and fix it.

jezzzer | 13 years ago

i registered on the ctc pot-hole thing, told them about a pot-hole in my road (in bath). a year or so later and it's still there. so definitely worth it, then....

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