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Surrey pothole death: Coroner calls on council to take steps to prevent similar tragedies occurring in the future

Family of cyclist killed in Surrey pothole crash express thanks to coroner who issues 'prevention of future deaths' report to Surrey County Council...

The family of a cyclist who died after he hit a pothole have expressed their gratitude to the coroner who presided over the inquest into his death and who has called on Surrey County Council to take steps to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

Ralph Brazier, 52, died on 1 March last year after he was thrown from his bike when he hit the pothole on the A317 in Weybridge, the inquest at Woking Coroner’s Court heard.

The father of three had been riding with clubmates from Twickenham Cycling Club after hitting the partially submerged defect, which was next to a drain cover.

> Weybridge pothole "posed a real risk of death" to cyclists, inquest told

Coroner Christopher Sutton-Mattocks QC, who said he would issue a ‘prevention of future deaths’ report to Surrey County Council, was critical of the local authority for taking a different approach to assessing risks posed by defects in cycle lanes to how it would treat faults on the main carriageway.

In a statement released through solicitors Leigh Day, Mr Brazier’s family said: “We are very grateful to the coroner for such a thorough investigation into Ralph’s death. While nothing can bring Ralph back at least we now feel we have some answers to the many questions we had about how he died.  

 “We hope that the Coroner’s conclusion will provoke effective action from local councils to ensure that their roads are safe for everyone, including passionate cyclists like Ralph.”  

 Leigh Day partner Grant Incles said: “Some of the evidence heard at this inquest would cause considerable concern to vulnerable road users. Through his investigation the Coroner has identified an issue which affects cyclists all too often.  

 "It is hoped his recommendations to Surrey County Council will mean that they and councils all over the UK take meaningful action to protect all vulnerable road users, and in particular the growing body of people using the roads to ride bikes for sport, leisure and just to get from A to B.  

 "For far too long the prevailing attitude has been that roads are for 4-wheeled motor vehicles and risk-assessed on that basis.

“This has got to change and we just hope this case will help to do that,” he added.  

The easiest way to report potholes or other dangerous road defects to the relevant authorities is by using the Fill that hole app - which comes in both IOS and Android versions.  

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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