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Holidaying cyclist spends 9 days in hospital after hitting pothole council says doesn't exist

Wiltshire councillor takes up case of Maria Hayes after checking scene himself and discovering defect

A woman from Essex spent nine days in hospital in Wiltshire after she crashed due to a pothole while on a cycling holiday in Dorset – although the county council denies there is any such defect on the road.

A local councillor has now taken up the case of Maria Hayes, who is retired and was visiting the area with her husband and friends when the crash took place on the descent of Shady Bower in Salisbury, reports the Salisbury Journal.

She sustained three fractures to her ankle and also dislocated when she hit what was described as a “sunken trench” on 6 June, and needed an operation to have a metal plate and screws inserted.

Her leg will be in plaster for between six and eight weeks and doctors have said her ankle will never regain full flexibility and that she risks having arthritis.

She told the newspaper: “My injuries are slowly healing, but I will be affected by the arthritis for the remainder of my life.

“I was lucky in some ways, as a bus came down the road two minutes later, thankfully it saw me.”

According to Wiltshire County Council, whose highways department visited the site, there were no defects on the stretch of road concerned, and no need to undertake repairs.

However, pictures on the newspaper’s website suggest otherwise, and county councillor John Walsh says that when he went there, he saw for himself the pothole that Mrs Hayes believes led to her crashing.

“I will speak to the relevant officers in the highways department, to see if they will reconsider their decision, and repair this section of the road,” said Cllr Hayes.

“I apologise to the cyclist for the injuries caused and wish her a full recovery,” he added.

Mrs Hayes said: “I want to make other cyclists aware of the danger of potholes.

"This pothole and other similar potholes need to be dealt with, as one day a cyclist’s injuries will be more severe than mine, possibly fatal.”

In 2010, a coroner’s inquest heard that Wiltshire County Council had inspected a pothole in March that year and decided it did not need repairing.

A week later, army captain Jonathan Allen hit it while cycling home from work, his fall sending him into the path of a lorry.

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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