Cyclist rides into telegraph pole, blames council

Rider says people could sue if they were injured; luckily he wasn't...

A cyclist in Cambridge who came off his bike when he hit a telegraph pole embedded in the cycle path has blamed the council for a ‘cock up’ in leaving it there.

Andrew Fowler, 51, said that when he clipped the pole with his handlebars in the early hours of the morning, he fell off, landing on his backpack.

He said he wasn’t injured, but feared another similar incident could be a lot worse.

As can be seen in the photograph on Cambridge News’s website, the path is wide, with at least a metre and a half’s clearance on one side, but Mr Fowler claims it cannot be seen in the dark.

Cambridge Council has said it will be removed, and in the meantime has applied reflective tape to make it more visible.

Mr Fowler said: “Why has it got a telegraph pole in the middle. For the amount of money couldn’t they have moved it to the grass? I think they’re scrimping and saving too much. It’s dangerous, especially in the dark.

“They seem to have rushed into it. When you plan something like that, surely someone should say,’hang on, there’s a telegraph pole there, surely that could be a problem’, but no one seems to have thought of it.

“It’s a total council cock-up. It’s something they need to look at.”

It’s not clear whether Mr Fowler had lights on his bike at the time, but when he returned to the site with a photographer from the local paper, he was not sporting any.

He added: “It was a few days ago and it was raining.

“A car went past and its lights were on. I couldn’t really see properly and I was totally disorientated.

“I was going quite quick...Luckily I wasn’t hurt but it could have been a lot worse.

“It’s fair to say if someone is hurt there may be a claim there.”

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesmen said: “The pole was an existing one which will be moved to a location within the grass verge before the final surface of the cycle path is laid.

“We are working with the utility company responsible for it to organise its relocation as soon as possible.

“In the meantime our contractors have applied reflective and warning tape to the pole to alert riders to beware and we would always urge cyclist to be aware of hazards and obstructions as all times when using cycle paths.”

It’s not Mr Fowler’s first encounter with the authorities over road safety.  In 2010 he claimed that Gatso speed cameras were likely to issue false speeding tickets in freezing weather.

After being caught driving at 41mph in a 30mph zone in Cambridge he said the cameras were only calibrated for accuracy between 0*C and 70*C, and at lower temperatures vital timing circuitry is slowed inside the unit.

It’s unknown whether his Crown Court appeal was successful, but given that it would have opened the floodgates for other similar appeals had it been upheld, it seems unlikely that it was.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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