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Pothole crash caused cyclist’s death, inquest hears

Kent County Council repaired the road defect in Ashford while Algert Lleshi was still being treated in hospital

A pothole was responsible for an e-bike rider’s death in Ashford, Kent, an inquest has heard.

Algert Lleshi, aged 22 and from northwest London, sustained fatal head injuries when he crashed on Beaver Road on 2 June this year.

An inquest into his death at Maidstone Coroner’s Court heard that he appeared to swerve from side to side before crashing and striking his head on the road surface, knocking him out reports Kent Online.

He regained consciousness seven minutes later and was being treated by two motorists and an off-duty nurse.

When the emergency services reached the scene, Mr Lleshi, who was originally from Albania, was conscious and sitting upright, and was able to get to his feet and walk to an ambulance.

However, he told paramedics he had a pain in his head, and appeared to drift into unconsciousness again for two minutes before coming round again.

He was taken to William Harvey Hospital in Willesborough, where he was found to have sustained a traumatic brain injury.

With his condition deteriorating, he was taken to King’s College Hospital in south London, but despite undergoing an operation never regained consciousness and died on 5 June.

Assistant coroner Katrina Hepburn said it “seems likely” that the pothole was a contributory factor in the fatal crash.

“It may well have been that the pothole wasn’t apparent to him given the time, despite the street lights,” she said. “On balance it seems likely that it was what caused him to lose balance.

Passing her “sincere condolences” to his family, she added: “It is deeply tragic to lose such a young man in such tragic circumstances.”

Following Mr Lleshi’s death, local resident Alfie Gent, who witnessed the crash, tied some flowers to a lamp post in tribute to the young cyclist.

“Unfortunately none of his family or friends could make it here to lay any tributes so I went down there on their behalf,” he explained at the time.

“I saw the crash happen and was so sad to hear that he died later, I still find it almost hard to believe.

“After speaking with Algert's best friend, it is the only way I could show my respect for him.”

However, less than five hours after he left the tribute, it was stolen.

“I was shocked," Mr Gent said. “It was really upsetting to find that they were gone.

“I had even used a zip tie to secure it to the lamp post, so it wasn't as if they were just picked up – it would have taken effort to remove them,” he added. “I just can't believe someone would do such a thing.”

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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