In a car, we can survive driving over a pothole or a defect in the road – don’t get me wrong, an accident could still occur, and the council may be liable; but on a motorbike or a bicycle, riding over a pothole or a defect in the road could be a whole different story.
The inspiration for this article comes from my own witness account of this happening just yesterday. A gentleman on a bicycle, who was fully kitted out with a safety helmet, elbow and wrist guards, and a high visibility jacket, rode over a manhole cover where a section of the concrete just before the covers’ edge had somehow either eroded away or had been taken away; causing a sudden dip in the road surface. The gentleman was clearly an experienced rider, given the impressive looking cycle and the extent of his safety gear; but when you’re concentrating on the road ahead and traffic around you, it’s not easy to spot a hole in the road!
As the gentleman went over the defect in the road, his bike was shaken violently. He swerved violently across the road as he struggled to regain control of the cycle, but unfortunately landed on the ground. He seemed OK – after speaking with a few bystanders, he advised he was unhurt. The lucky part was the bus nearby him – thankfully, the driver noted that the cyclist was in trouble, and halted his vehicle. The cyclist could have ended up inadvertently swerving in to the path of the bus, and there could have been a nasty collision. This was thankfully averted.
The moral of the story? Well, the cyclist couldn’t help but lose control of his bicycle thanks to the sizable defect in the road. The defect looks like it has been there for some time. It’s possible he may have had a claim for compensation had he been hurt as a result of the incident. The council has an important duty to regularly inspect and maintain all highways under their jurisdiction. Although it’s hard to tell without investigation, the defect looked like it had been there for quite some time. If we could prove that it had not been picked up on the councils’ inspection and maintenance records, or that the area had not been inspected regularly enough, a claim could be brought against them.
Although a pothole in the pavement or a defect in the road can often seem like a minor cause of an accident, the consequences can be devastating. This story clearly shows that; had the cyclist been unfortunate enough to swerve in to the path of the bus after the defect caused him to lose control, we could have been looking at a serious incident here.
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IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.