A cyclist who fell off his bike on an ungritted cyclepath and broke his finger has been given a £2,500 payout from a local council.
Rajesh Joshi had been travelling to work along a designated cycle route into the city centre when his bike lost traction on a slippery section where other riders and pedestrians had fallen earlier that day.
His lawyers said the 'backwards policy' of 'creating but not maintaining' cycle paths was forcing people back into their cars and discouraging cycling, the Manchester Evening News reports.
The 37-year-old broke his finger and suffered severe bruising and swelling to his legs after falling on the 'Horseshoe Bridge' over the Mancunian Way in Manchester.
Manchester council acknowledged the surface of the bridge had not been gritted on the day of the incident in November 2017 but still refused to accept liability.
The lengthy three-year long legal dispute culminated in Mr Joshi taking his case to court last October before proceedings were settled out of court in January this year.
Mr Joshi said: “All over the borough we have potholes left untreated and cycle pathways that are unsafe and things have to change.
“My fall could have been much worse, so I hope that the council will be forced to take its responsibilities for cycle pathways more seriously, including Horseshoe Bridge.”
Manchester council had initially claimed that Horseshoe Bridge was 'unadopted' and that it was solely a footbridge and not a cycle path.
However, the council admitted they were wrong after being presented with images of signs on either side of the bridge showing that it was a walking and cycling route.
The local authority also accepted that the bridge had not been gritted, despite executive member for transport Councillor Angeliki Stogia telling Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign otherwise.
Hi @ManCityCouncil. Please can you confirm the maintenance schedule for Hulme's horseshoe bridge over A57(M), including when it was last treated?
— GM Cycling Campaign 🐝🚲 (@GMcycling) November 24, 2017
Nadia Kerr of JMW Solicitors, representing Mr Joshi, said the case demonstrated the council’s ‘continued failure’ to make cycle routes safe.
Ms Kerr added: “Typically, a cycle lane is created but then isn’t maintained to keep it safe for use, it’s a backward policy that is discouraging cycling and forcing people back into their cars.
“I hope that, as a result of this case and the outcome, [the bridge] will be appropriately treated going forwards to prevent further injury.
“It’s vital that the council is challenged on accidents like this in order to force change and create a safer, integrated cycling infrastructure.”
A spokesperson for Manchester council confirmed that Mr Joshi’s case had been resolved without a court hearing but disputed claims by JMW Solicitors that the bridge remains ungritted.