A road.cc reader who sustained injuries including a fractured arm when he crashed at night due to a huge crack in the road has criticised his local council, saying that markings around the defect showed that they were aware of it and should have taken steps to warn road users of the hazard.
Nigel Carver was cycling downhill on Belton Way East, Leigh on Sea, Essex on 9 January this year when his rear wheel was caught in the crack in the road surface, causing his tyre to blow and threw him and his bike onto the other side of the road and into the path of oncoming traffic.
“Luckily there was no traffic behind me at the time and two taxi drivers by the side of the road came to my aid, pulling me up and my bike out of harm’s way, or it could have been much worse,” he told us.
“I ended up in hospital with two fractures to left arm where my left arm took the majority of the impact, bad bruising and tearing to my ribcage (nothing broken), severe grazing to the left hip and minor grazing to left knee, bruises on palm of right hand and right elbow.”
Nigel said that his bike was a write-off but that given what could have happened, he considered himself “very lucky.”
Talking of the location where the crash happened, he said: “There were no warnings, no cones, no warning lights of any description here, so very little chance of seeing this long crack in the dark, yet the council obviously knew about it, as it had been marked on the road, which is shown in footage that my wife captured next day.
He filmed the incident, complete with “a rather nasty bit of swearing here, as you can imagine,” and says his footage shows “shows how this cannot be seen at all at night - despite my two front lights running ... if a child or elderly person had hit this, without the proper protection or clothes on, they could have been killed.
“Luckily, I have made a fairly good recovery and finally went out again on my old second bike (still waiting on replacement for the one that I wrote off) last week - it’s taken nearly a full 3 months to recover,” he continued.
“As you can imagine, I talked to my solicitor about this and with my local council – being shocked to learn that in my council’s minds, as they had inspected the road on 3 January and noted a category 2 defect of the road which did not warrant a full repair, that basically for them there was nothing wrong with the road. They saw nothing wrong with not coning it off or closing that part of the road.”
Nigel added: “To say I am rather dismayed with the attitude here towards a very dangerous pothole is putting it lightly – and I find it interesting that now, all of a sudden, that part of this road has undergone repair work – as of this week.”
Last month the charity Cycling UK held its inaugural Pothole Watch week to highlight the danger road defects pose to vulnerable road users, and said that during the initiative reports to its Fill That Hole website which allow people to easily notify the relevant highways authority of defects that need remedying had doubled.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc 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.