Debbie Milne | Partner and Solicitor Advocate

Driving (or Cycling) Everyone Potty

A string of Scottish Celebrities have recently backed a campaign by the National Trust for Scotland by telling us what they love and hate about our country. Sir Chris Hoy, like all cyclists, hates the potholes. And who can blame him! Anyone who has ventured out on Scottish roads on two wheels will know that potholes are more than just inconvenient,  they pose a significant risk to your bike and a serious risk to your personal safety. A recent  BBC 5 Live questionnaire found half of almost 5,000 cyclists who responded  had suffered a pothole-related accident, with 1,516 injured as a result, 207 of those seriously.

So what should you do if you have a pothole related accident?

The first thing to do is to make sure you are OK and get off the road. Then check the condition of your bike to make sure that riding off won’t cause further damage.  Damage to the front wheel, the forks and even the frame are not uncommon.  If your bike has been damaged and you are considering looking for compensation, make sure you take it to a reputable bike repairer to obtain an assessment of the damage and an estimate of repair costs.

Before you cycle off (if you and your bike are fit) make sure you take  photographs of the offending pothole. Compensation cases following pothole accidents stand and fall by the quality of the photographic evidence. Where possible and safe to do so, you should make sure the pictures show the position of the pothole on the road, particularly where the pothole may be one of many. If you can, add something into the photograph to give perspective such as a bike pump, tyre lever or coin. Make sure some of the photographs show the depth. For a pothole in the road to fall into the category of defects which require repair it must be at least 40mm in depth (about twice the size of a 20p coin). If you can, make a note of the street/road in towns or if you are in the country of some landmark that will help identify the position of the pothole.

If you have suffered a minor injury photographs will evidence this. However, if you have suffered more than just a flesh wound seek medical advice. This isn’t just to help you get better. It is also to evidence the injury for any claim.

If you want to pursuer a claim for compensation you will need a personal injury lawyer. Pothole claims can be a bit like cycling uphill against the wind. There is not an absolute obligation to mend all potholes.  The landowner or local authority responsible for maintaining the road only requires  to carry out regular inspections and repair the potholes that are large enough to require repair or to inspect (and if appropriate repair) potholes reported to them. To succeed in a pothole claim you need to prove that the pothole was there before the last inspection (using evidence from Google earth or from local residents) or that it had been reported after that.

Finally, as soon as you can get back on your bike and keep cycling.

Get in Touch

If you are a cyclist or a pedestrian who has suffered an injury as a result of potholes please contact us online by clicking here or speak to a member of our specialist team on 0333 222 1855.

Debbie Milne

Debbie Milne

Personal Injury Team

“The best part of my job is achieving a result that makes the client happy. That might be getting a good result for an insurer, it might be recovering a sum in damages that makes a difference to a person’s life, it might even be simply achieving an acknowledgement that the other party was at fault.” 

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