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Four cyclists suing council - for injuries caused by crashing on same pothole

Incidents all happened in space of three weeks - Staffordshire County Council had inspected defect days before the first casualty

Staffordshire County Council is being sued by four cyclists who were all seriously injured after crashing on the same pothole in unrelated incidents.

The incidents all happened in the space of three weeks late last year and on each occasion the riders were taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment, reports the Staffordshire Newsletter.

Greg Dancer sustained serious wounds to his face and other injuries on 15 November last year when he crashed after hitting the pothole on the Gnosall to Norbury Junction road.

The council had inspected the defect a few days previously but concluded it only had “edge damage,” Mr Dancer said.

“What they failed to identify was a pothole measuring some three feet long, two feet wide and at least five inches deep", he continued.

"Despite having surveyed the road the county council seems to have come up short in assessing just how dangerous it was and none of these incidents should have happened.

"The surface of the road has been in a very poor state for some time and locals have long complained to the County Council about it following damage to vehicles from as long ago as 2015 and car tyres being punctured at least as recently as April 2016."

He reported the pothole to the county council who said it was “not priority,” said Paul Rowlands, who broke his collarbone and some ribs when he crashed at the same location just a week later.

“I was catapulted over the handlebars, landing some three metres away on my head and left shoulder, before coming to rest face down in the water,” he said.

"I sustained fractures to my collarbone, front and rear ribs, significant soft-tissue injuries to my ribs and hands, abrasions on my hands and shoulder and also a concussion, leaving me unable to move for some time until passing motorists were able to assist.

“The impact also broke my cycle helmet and wrote off my bike."

On 27 November, another cyclist, Glenn MacDonald-Jones, crashed after hitting the same pothole.

"He sustained an injury to his elbow and again soft-tissue injuries to his back, arms and ribs but has since developed a heart problem possibly connected to the severity of his impact with the road,” Mr Rowlands explained.

"Glenn reported the pothole and was told that the repair was now deemed urgent. Glenn's neighbour, Mark Seaton, had received a reply only a few days before that it wasn't urgent, having himself reported the pothole.

A few days later, on 1 December, Antony Grigg sustained injuries including a broken collarbone in another crash at the same location – the day after Staffordshire County Council claim they repaired the defect after inspecting it the previous day.

Mr Rowlands, who is asking any other cyclists who have had a similar crash at the location to contact him on 07702 226830, said: "He suffered a concussion leaving him bed-bound for some days and suffered dental damage.

"I hope that each cyclist is able to make a full and speedy recovery,” said James Bailey, Head of Highways at the council.

"We know that potholes are a concern to people. Our highways crews make every effort to fix them as soon as possible, which is starting to be helped again now as we move out of the wetter winter months and in to the better road repairing seasons.

"We do carry out regular inspections of our roads and pothole repairs are prioritised, depending on the risk they pose to the travelling public.

“All reported defects are inspected as soon as possible and assessed for their severity, which is decided by considering a number of factors like the location, size and the risk posed to public safety.

"Any defect which poses an immediate risk is dealt with as a priority, and we aim to repair dangerous potholes within seven days. Lesser priority potholes are dealt with when resources are available.

"We do have a huge road network here in Staffordshire, with around 6,000km of roads and our crews fix around 20,000 potholes every year,” he added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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