Dominic Nash v Hertfordshire County Council [2020] EWHC 3247 (QB)

On 13th March 2016, Mr Nash was out for a Sunday cycle in the Hertfordshire countryside. He was riding his Condor road bike north on Mangrove Road, Hertford. As he entered a left hand bend at speed, his view around the corner was obstructed by hedges. Midway around the bend, he collided with a Transit van being driven Mr Gilca.

The cyclist alleged that he had been forced to swerve to avoid potholes on the inside of the bend. He raised an action against the Local Authority claiming the incident had been caused due to the condition of the road surface. There was no fault alleged on the part of the van driver.

Rural blind bend
Google Map Image of the left hand bend from the cyclists POV

The Judge heard evidence from the attending Police Officers, Roads' Inspectors and a cycling expert. The evidence of the Roads Inspectors was preferred given that the last inspection prior to the accident had not identified any defects requiring immediate attention. No measurements had been taken of the potholes on the day of the accident and they had since been filled in.

The Judge ruled that the cause of the accident had been the cyclist’s excessive speed resulting in him taking too wide an angle around the corner. There was no evidence to suggest that the potholes had played any part in the collision.

CYCLIST 100% TO BLAME                     LOCAL AUTHORITY 0% TO BLAME

The cyclist received no compensation despite suffering serious injury. It is important to remember that the presence of a road defect does not overrule your duty to take reasonable care whilst riding.

Remember that if you do collide with a pothole and if you are able to, always take measurements of the pothole immediately after your accident.

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