Road racing legend injured in pothole incident

John “Jocky” Johnstone is a legend in Scottish Cycling – a well known face in road racing and time trialling, Jocky, now 80 years old, was still competing in masters and veteran events well into his seventies and still showing a clean pair of heels to men half his age.

Road surface covered in potholesWe were so sad to hear from his daughter that he had been involved in a serious accident whilst out on a training ride with two friends near Carnwath. They had been cycling on the Edinburgh Road in April 2021, heading into Carnwath to go to the famous Apple Pie Bakery. Just as they were nearing the village, they encountered a section of road with an extremely poor surface. Despite trying to find a path across the tarmac, Jocky hit a very deep pothole,, went over his handlebars and face first into the road, sustaining fractures to his face and to his spine.

He was in hospital for 10 days and had to wear a spinal brace for 3 months.Jocky in a spinal braceWhen Jocky’s daughter contacted us, we knew we needed to investigate the circumstances to establish if he would have a claim. We undertook a number of Freedom of Information requests to South Lanarkshire Council who were the roads authority responsible for the area. The records showed that there had been reports of road surface defects in the area being made at least as far back as 2018. The Council had repeatedly carried out temporary repairs and those temporary repairs had repeatedly failed.

We intimated a claim to the Council who initially denied responsibility for Jocky’s accident. They said that they had carried out an inspection a few weeks prior to the incident and no defects had been noted. We had to point out that their own records confirmed that there were potholes noted at this particular inspection, many times previously and also immediately prior to Jocky’s accident. Quite simply, the Council could not possibly argue that they had not been aware of the issues.

We put all the evidence to the Council’s insurers who eventually agreed to settle Jocky’s claim. However, when presented with all the evidence on his injuries and losses, they made no proposals. Accordingly, we quickly raised his case in Court and were able to agree a settlement with the other side which represented Jocky’s injuries and losses prior to a proof hearing.

Roz Boynton, Associate solicitor said,

“It’s always satisfying to hold a local authority to task for a road that was clearly known to be dangerous to road users. Whilst Jocky’s injuries were bad enough, it was by sheer luck that there had not been a fatality on the road as could so easily have been the case. It’s been a joy to work with Jocky and to hear his stories about his days racing and his general love of life. His attitude has been inspiring to me, as I have started road racing myself over the past few years. Hearing how he battled through his injuries and rehabilitation to get back on the bike has been humbling, and I think we could all do with being a bit more Jocky.”


We cover the whole of Scotland and have solicitors based in the Borders, Central Belt and Aberdeen

Central Scotland
4 Redheughs Rigg Westpoint,
South Gyle,
EH12 9DQ

South of Scotland
5 Cherry Court,
Cavalry Park,
EH45 9BU


Correspondance Address
16-20 Castle Street,


Cycle Law Scotland logo

© 2023 Cycle Law Scotland