Every cyclist hits a pothole on the road sometime.
If cycling on the public highway in the UK, all local authorities have a statutory responsibility to maintain and repair the road such that it is reasonably safe for expected traffic.
If you are injured or your bike is damaged, the starting point is to determine if the pothole is a foreseeable danger to cyclists. There are no rules about what size pothole qualifies but a court will have to be convinced that it was dangerous enough to cause an accident in the particular circumstances and with regard to the road user: for example, gaps around a drain cover can be a real danger to cyclists but not to a motorist.
|Potholes are a menace for bikes|
Local authorities can defeat pothole claims by demonstrating that they have a robust inspection, repair and maintenance programme in place. So, although a pothole may have caused an accident if the council had acted reasonably to maintain the road, despite the accident, the claim will fail.
Compensation can be reduced for contributory fault if the court finds that a cyclists wasn’t paying enough attention to the road ahead ( and ironically, the larger the hole the more likely that a council can run a successful argument), or if the pothole was on a familiar route, or near the cyclist’s home. All road users are expected to take reasonable care of their own safety, and that includes keeping a look out on the road ahead.
Make sure you take photos of the pothole and note its precise location. If there were witnesses take their details. Don't delay in seeking medical attention and tell your doctor about the accident.
At Dowse & Co we have a track record of vigorously pursuing pothole claims and have won many cases contested hard by local authorities.
Call Patrick Spence with any queries on 0207 254 6205.