Cyclists who were involved in a horrendous pothole crash have asked Hampshire County Council to reassess its attitude to road maintenance.
Martyn and Roxelle Kimberley were out cycling when Roxelle hit a pothole and flew through the air, landing on her face.
She lost a number of teeth, broke her upper jaw and split the skin from her nostril to her upper lip.
Mr Kimberley 37, of Wayside Road, Basingstoke, told The Basingstoke Gazette: “We were cycling in small compact groups, as you often see cyclists do, and because of the light we had no prior warning of the pothole.
“One of the group I was in went through the road defect and it punctured both his tyres, so we gave word to pull to the side, so he could repair the tyres.
“Next thing I hear is a shout of “man down” and I turn back and see it is my wife. Some of the group had put her in the recovery position and she was vomiting up blood. It was a really horrible situation to be part of.”
The county council has told lawyers for the couple that as they had no record of the road defect, they were not liable.
Mr Kimberley said: “Surely even if the county council is not going to take responsibility, this is a safety matter.
“One of our group did report the defect and I think it took nearly six weeks to fill in.”
A spokesperson from HCC said: “We are unable to comment on any claim that may be in progress.
“However, we would point out that there is no automatic right to compensation - each claim is investigated to determine liability.”
Recently we reported how Cycling UK has called for the Government to reallocate funding from its £15bn Road Investment Strategy into fixing local roads after figures from the Department for Transport revealed that nearly 100 cyclists a year are injured by potholes that councils deem too small to fix.
Cycling UK said that better guidance was needed to take into account the position of defects, together with greater understanding of the difficulties potholes can present for vulnerable road users.
Its view is that there is little to be gained from defining a minimum size of pothole, as a qualified highways inspector’s judgement is frequently needed.
Campaigns Coordinator Sam Jones points out that much will depend on a pothole’s position in the road. While a minor defect on a flat road might not present a major hazard to someone cycling, if encountered on a downward slope approaching a junction where speed might be greater and control impacted by signalling, then the same pothole could become highly dangerous.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.