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Widow of pothole death cyclist to sue council

Wife of Martyn Uzzell wants North Yorkshire County Council brought to account

The widow of a cyclist who died after he hit a pothole in North Yorkshire says she plans to sue the county council.

Martyn Uzzell was killed when he hit the pothole on the A65 at Giggleswick while riding from Land’s End to John O’Groats in June 2011. He died after being thrown into the path of an oncoming car.

The inquest into Mr Uzzell’s death heard that police had notified North Yorkshire County Council of the state of the road on May 11 and the council had inspected it on May 13, but taken no action.

North Yorkshire coroner Rob Turnbull said in a narrative verdict at Skipton Coroner’s Court that he had “no doubt whatsoever that the condition of the road on that occasion was the cause of the accident”.

Mr Uzzell’s wife of more than 20 years, Kate, said after the inquest: “It is simply disgraceful that a pothole on such a busy road was allowed to go unrepaired.

“The coroner clearly stated, in his opinion, that the pothole around the gulley is what caused Martyn to be thrown into the path of a car.”

But a Crown Prosecution Service review of the case decided that there were no grounds for criminal prosecution against the council in relation to its alleged failure to repair the pothole.

Now Kate Uzzell feels she has no option but to bring a civil case against the council. She told the BBC: “They had been warned, they had inspected and they still did nothing — it’s just appalling.

“[Suing the council] is not what I wanted to do.

“But I wanted there to be a prosecution and for them to stand up and be counted.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Our sympathies remain with the family of Martyn Uzzell following his tragic fatal accident.”

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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