On 6 March 2013, Mr Liddle was cycling to work in Bristol city centre from his home in Backwell. He was training for a charity bike ride known as the Amsterdam Challenge which involved cycling to the Dutch city.
Mr Liddle was cycling past the Bristol Industrial Museum which sits on the waterfront at Prince’s Wharf. There are a series of rail and crane tracks running in front of the museum and along the wharf close to the edge.
Mr Liddle lost control of the rear of his wheel when it came into contact with a rail. He then fell into the water and tragically died.
Mr Liddle’s widow raised a personal injury claim against Bristol City Council for her late husband’s accident. She argued that the Council should have erected better warnings, a chicane for safer travel and a prohibition on cyclists travelling along the harbour.
The Court heard how warning signs to the effect that cycling along the harbour front was dangerous were in place.
The Judge found that Mr Liddle ought to have altered his travel accordingly for the surroundings. The installation of a barrier would most likely not have prevented his fall.
The case failed on causation. Council not to blame.
Mr Liddle’s widow was unable to claim any damages for her late husband’s accident. The dangers of rail tracks and the proximity of the edge of the harbour should have been readily apparent to Mr Liddle as he was cycling along.
This case is a tragic but timely reminder to always be aware of your surroundings and the dangers they might present.