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Cyclist given £2,500 payout after crashing on ungritted cycle path and breaking finger

His lawyers said the 'backwards policy' of 'creating but not maintaining' cycle paths was impacting efforts to get more people cycling...

A cyclist who fell off his bike on an ungritted cyclepath and broke his finger has been given a £2,500 payout from a local council.

Rajesh Joshi had been travelling to work along a designated cycle route into the city centre when his bike lost traction on a slippery section where other riders and pedestrians had fallen earlier that day. 

His lawyers said the 'backwards policy' of 'creating but not maintaining' cycle paths was forcing people back into their cars and discouraging cycling, the Manchester Evening News reports.

The 37-year-old broke his finger and suffered severe bruising and swelling to his legs after falling on the 'Horseshoe Bridge' over the Mancunian Way in Manchester.

Manchester council acknowledged the surface of the bridge had not been gritted on the day of the incident in November 2017 but still refused to accept liability.

The lengthy three-year long legal dispute culminated in Mr Joshi taking his case to court last October before proceedings were settled out of court in January this year.

Mr Joshi said: “All over the borough we have potholes left untreated and cycle pathways that are unsafe and things have to change.

“My fall could have been much worse, so I hope that the council will be forced to take its responsibilities for cycle pathways more seriously, including Horseshoe Bridge.”

Manchester council had initially claimed that Horseshoe Bridge was 'unadopted' and that it was solely a footbridge and not a cycle path.

However, the council admitted they were wrong after being presented with images of signs on either side of the bridge showing that it was a walking and cycling route.

The local authority also accepted that the bridge had not been gritted, despite executive member for transport Councillor Angeliki Stogia telling Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign otherwise. 

Nadia Kerr of JMW Solicitors, representing Mr Joshi, said the case demonstrated the council’s ‘continued failure’ to make cycle routes safe.

Ms Kerr added: “Typically, a cycle lane is created but then isn’t maintained to keep it safe for use, it’s a backward policy that is discouraging cycling and forcing people back into their cars.

“I hope that, as a result of this case and the outcome, [the bridge] will be appropriately treated going forwards to prevent further injury.

“It’s vital that the council is challenged on accidents like this in order to force change and create a safer, integrated cycling infrastructure.”

A spokesperson for Manchester council confirmed that Mr Joshi’s case had been resolved without a court hearing but disputed claims by JMW Solicitors that the bridge remains ungritted.

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brooksby | 3 years ago

Does this stem from councils, or councillors, lumping cyclists in with pedestrians rather than with other vehicles (and they don't see it as a priority to grit for pedestrians).

simontm | 3 years ago

After the Portsmouth Road bike lane opened, when the first freeze happened I went back onto the road. Had one set-to with a driver that was soon resolved after I pointed at the road and then the iced bike path. Quite a few of us emailed KBC and they did eventually grit it. 
Councils can't just build and walk away, bad enough with leaf fall. 

VIPcyclist | 3 years ago

Really pleased for Mr Joshi but really wish the council had been found responsible in court. Why? Case law.

Mb747 replied to VIPcyclist | 3 years ago

What do you want them to do, sweep and grit every road & path every day?

jh2727 replied to Mb747 | 3 years ago
Mb747 wrote:

What do you want them to do, sweep and grit every road & path every day?

There's one section of the N4 that I know is gritted frequently, the small section that goes through Thames Valley Park in Reading - it's private land - I guess the tenants (e.g. Microsoft, Oracle etc) decided it was cheaper to grit the paths than cover the cost of staff abscences.

The outcome of this will probably be that the bridge will get warning signs. Bridges are a lot colder than solid ground and it is a lot more difficult to keep it free of ice.

As for sweeping everyday, most cycle paths are lucky if they get swept every year. Part of the problem is lack of maintenance, however sufficient maintenance would be more likely if they were designed and built to be low maintenance.

Why do they put tarmac paths under trees? Why do they put fast growing plants next to cycle paths - maintenance needs to be part of the planning approval process.

EddyBerckx | 3 years ago

I broke my wrist and messed up the tendons in my shoulder a few years ago on a so called cycle "super" highway. Every winter loads of people fall due to it never being gritted...I doubt they'll take note unfortunately...

Sriracha | 3 years ago

Kudos to the guy, three years fighting the system of lies, deceit and ingrained antipathy towards cyclists. Such a shame it could not end in a legal precedent.

iandusud | 3 years ago

This is good news. My wife broke her wrist cycling to work two winters ago using a local shared cycle path. It is a great facility that is heavily used but is dangerous in winter as it is not gritted. I have always considered that the council have a duty of care to grit it when temperatures drop to freezing. We no longer use it when there is a risk of ice which means for me when commuting a two mile detour involving using the busy A59. 

Awavey replied to iandusud | 3 years ago

theres an obligation in law to clear snow off a highway as an obstruction, and an obligation as is reasonably practicable to maintain safe passage on a highway which covers pavements as well, from ice & snow

But its down to the councils/highway authorities discretion though where they use their resources,its accepted roads would be prioritised over pavements for instance, and only pavements that are used by many people frequently might be considered, and then again its all is it reasonably practicable

so your bike lane might be considered if its heavily used route, but it might not if there was considered to be an alternate route, or it wasnt practicable to grit, in fact the obligation to make it safe, much how councils treat parks in windy weather, is just to close the route whilst its deemed unsafe.

and the problem gritting a cycle path is bike tyres and bikes dont break the grit down in the same way as vehicles on the road do, so you dont get the full benefit or ice protection from it anyway.

theres a footbridge/cycle path on a route I use which the local authority gritted middle of February when we had all that ice/snow, and nearly a month later the path is still covered in the grit they put down back then, though its all congealed and spread into lumps and actually like riding through mud, plus the salt does impact the bridges longterm life, so whether this really solves a problem or just creates new ones is certainly up for debate.

Mb747 replied to iandusud | 3 years ago

"I have always considered that the council have a duty of care to grit it when temperatures drop to freezing"

Grit what? I'm sure they will aim to treat main routes, but all roads / cycle paths does't seem feasable.

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