Dangerous pothole contributes to cyclist's death


The tragic death of Captain Jonathan Allen of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is reported to have occurred as a result of his avoidance of a large and dangerous pothole near his home in Wiltshire.

Capt Allen was cycling home from the barracks near Tidworth on 24th March when he swerved to avoid a pothole and rode into the path of a lorry. He suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Locals have stated that the pothole had been visible for some time and was as large as 5 metres long and 1 metre wide. The pothole has since been filled by the Council.

For any cyclist thinking of bringing action against local councils for pothole accidents, the burden of proof is great and sometimes insurmountable. Whilst it may be argued that the pothole contributed to an accident, it must also be proven that there was no other action of avoidance that could have prevented the accident occurring, and that you took reasonable steps to guard your own safety. In the event of such a claim a contributory negligence may be found on the part of the cyclist.

There is no doubt that potholes are rife on the UK roads since the very cold winter of 2009/2010, and many councils have struggled to cope with the level of damage to the roads. Last year Navestock Council in Essex took a controversial stance by declaring that they intended to deliberately leave potholes in the road untreated, stating they were seen as “a natural traffic calming device”.

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