Accidental death verdict over woman who hit Monmouth pothole

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.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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