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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 joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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14 comments

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jollygoodvelo | 7 years ago
2 likes

In my experience it's not the traditional 'potholes' that are so much of a problem.  A big circular hole is easy enough to see and avoid (most of the time).

 

In the London area I find that a greater problem is the amount of sunken or offset road ironwork, ripples in the tarmac from parked buses, lateral ridges/cracks from laying tarmac over old concrete and sunken trenches where pipework has been laid, poorly filled in and then tarmacked over so you can't see the dip.  It's bloody lethal.

 

But what can you do?  You can't lay pipes for all the services (water, gas, phone, cable, electric, sewerage, etc) under the pavement in London, there isn't space.  So they have to go in the road.

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georgee | 7 years ago
0 likes

Consider the London Borough of Kingston Upon Thames.  They've stopped accepting fillthathole/fixmystreet notifications as a way to ignore reports of road defects.  Originally when raised with them they said 'they were looking into it' now they refuse to comment.  Pity a council can avoid liability just by sticking their fingers in their ears and closing their eyes.

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Rapha Nadal replied to georgee | 7 years ago
1 like

georgee wrote:

Consider the London Borough of Kingston Upon Thames.  They've stopped accepting fillthathole/fixmystreet notifications as a way to ignore reports of road defects.  Originally when raised with them they said 'they were looking into it' now they refuse to comment.  Pity a council can avoid liability just by sticking their fingers in their ears and closing their eyes.

if they've been made aware of a pothole numerous times and ignored it, and it then causes an accident/death, then that would be classed as negligence for which they would be liable. Ignoring any reported issues such as a big old hole in the road is completely the wrong approach. 

Avatar
georgee replied to Rapha Nadal | 7 years ago
1 like
Rapha Nadal wrote:

georgee wrote:

Consider the London Borough of Kingston Upon Thames.  They've stopped accepting fillthathole/fixmystreet notifications as a way to ignore reports of road defects.  Originally when raised with them they said 'they were looking into it' now they refuse to comment.  Pity a council can avoid liability just by sticking their fingers in their ears and closing their eyes.

if they've been made aware of a pothole numerous times and ignored it, and it then causes an accident/death, then that would be classed as negligence for which they would be liable. Ignoring any reported issues such as a big old hole in the road is completely the wrong approach. 

 

Agreed, however, their course of action is to send you an e-mail after reporting saying we don't accept these any more, anything to do with them being the lowest performing Borough in London if you look at the stats?

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brooksby | 7 years ago
1 like

How did she crash on a hill in Salisbury whilst on a cycling holiday in Dorset...?

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Leeroy_Silk replied to brooksby | 7 years ago
5 likes
brooksby wrote:

How did she crash on a hill in Salisbury whilst on a cycling holiday in Dorset...?

Perhaps she rode there? Being on a cycling holiday and all...

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brooksby replied to Leeroy_Silk | 7 years ago
0 likes
Leeroy_Silk wrote:
brooksby wrote:

How did she crash on a hill in Salisbury whilst on a cycling holiday in Dorset...?

Perhaps she rode there? Being on a cycling holiday and all...

I meant that Salisbury isn't in Dorset, it's in Wiltshire.

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PaulBox replied to brooksby | 7 years ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:
Leeroy_Silk wrote:
brooksby wrote:

How did she crash on a hill in Salisbury whilst on a cycling holiday in Dorset...?

Perhaps she rode there? Being on a cycling holiday and all...

I meant that Salisbury isn't in Dorset, it's in Wiltshire.

Mind blowing....... cool

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vonhelmet | 7 years ago
0 likes

All our roads are abysmal, and there is no money to fix them. It'll be years, nay decades, before they get sorted.

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FatBoyW | 7 years ago
0 likes

There I was considering holidays and sportive sin Wiltshire - no more! Wonder if the loss of income from the likes of me is outweighed by the cost of a pothole repair?

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robertoegg replied to FatBoyW | 7 years ago
0 likes
FatBoyW wrote:

There I was considering holidays and sportive sin Wiltshire - no more! Wonder if the loss of income from the likes of me is outweighed by the cost of a pothole repair?

 

This is quite hilarious! That you would decide where to go based upon one story picked up in a cycling website  4 Either you need to do some serious research if that sort of thing skews your decisions so much or you need to get out a little more! I know, it might be a bit scary outside, but, you'll be better for it  4  4  4

 

p.s. I'd avoid Guildford - I've been going past a couple of potholes on the way to work for the last three years! Lethal business!! #closecall #boycottsurrey 

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Dr_Lex | 7 years ago
10 likes

^ Previous news stories here suggest that the addition of a graffiti penis to the pothole will result in Council action. Line-marking paint canisters fit nicely into bottle cages ...

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Jitensha Oni replied to Dr_Lex | 7 years ago
2 likes
Dr_Lex wrote:

^ Previous news stories here suggest that the addition of a graffiti penis to the pothole will result in Council action. Line-marking paint canisters fit nicely into bottle cages ...

Funnily enough I was riding along the once aptly named Cock Lane for the first time in ages a couple of days ago, and the road surface was beautiful.

http://road.cc/content/news/166423-more-phallic-pothole-graffiti-time-co...

The trouble is of course that council "criteria" for fixing potholes are based on what would damage cars, not bikes and their riders. Good on the Wiltshire councillor.

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DaveE128 | 7 years ago
5 likes

It's about time the "standards" for what needs repairing were changed to consider cycling. I see this as a big obstacle to cycling in the UK. A hole shouldn't have to be over 40mm deep before any council will consider fixing it.  2

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