A West Yorkshire cyclist who was injured when his bicycle hit a pothole has been awarded compensation of £2,000.
Peter Lodge, 52, was cycling near his home when the front wheel of his bicycle became stuck in a gap that had formed around a water valve cover. He was thrown over the handlebars and suffered cuts and scratches.
Mr Lodge brought a claim against Yorkshire Water, which had installed the water valve and was responsible for maintaining the surrounding road area. The case was settled out of court and Yorkshire Water agreed to pay Mr Lodge £2,000 in compensation. The pothole was repaired shortly after the accident occurred.
The snow and icy conditions towards the end of last year caused a large number of potholes on Britain’s roads, many of which have not yet been repaired. Mr Lodge pointed out that cyclists are particularly at risk from uneven road surfaces as they can easily be hit by a car if they fall. He added, “I hate to think what might have happened if I’d been thrown off my bike just an hour earlier during the rush hour.”
Under the Highways Act 1980, the relevant authority (usually the local council) is responsible for maintaining public roads. If you are involved in an accident caused by a poorly maintained road surface, you may be entitled to compensation if the highway authority or other responsible party failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the road was not dangerous. Compensation can include a settlement for damage to property (e.g. a bicycle or clothing), as well as for any injuries suffered. It is important to collect evidence at the time: photographs of any injuries sustained or damage caused, and of the scene of the accident, will be helpful in pursuing a claim.