We were contacted by Andrew MacInnes in relation to a cycling incident he experienced on 5th February 2018.
Andrew had been out on a training ride with two of his friends and had been cycling north on the A8. The ride was at night time and therefore it was dark outside but Andrew’s bike was fitted with a strong headlight and rear light.
As he was cycling along, he approached what he had thought to be a puddle but which was actually a significant pothole. As it was filled with water, it was not clear that this was a hazard until he hit it.
Andrew’s front wheel went into the pothole which was approximately 15cms deep and 150cms wide and he was catapulted directly over the handlebars, landing on his back and striking the back of his helmet. Andrew was wearing a helmet-mounted camera at the time and so had full footage of the incident.
He went back after the accident to have a look at the pothole and it was clear that this was a significant road defect that was causing a hazard, particularly to vulnerable road users such as himself.
Andrew initially contacted the Council but soon found like many others do that he was going nowhere fast. So, he contacted Cycle Law Scotland as he had heard we were cycling accident claims experts and might have greater success.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST ON INSPECTIONS
We were able to undertake a full Freedom of Information request to the responsible roads authority which was Renfrewshire Council. The records included the inspection records for the road in question. As the relevant roads authority, the Council is responsible for undertaking reasonable inspections of the road and to address hazards of which it becomes aware. The last inspection had been on the 2nd of February 2018 which was just three days prior to Andrew’s incident. The Council did not report any defect during this inspection. Whilst it can be the case that defects materialise in-between regular inspections, it was clear to us as specialists, that a defect of this magnitude would not be of the type that would appear suddenly over the course of three days.
EXPERT EVIDENCE CONFIRMS THAT POTHOLE SHOULD HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AND REPAIRED
We were able to instruct the expert evidence of Mr Ewen Clayton, Highways Expert, who examined all the photographs, video footage and records recovered from the Council. Using his experience and expertise, he was able to provide us with a report confirming that, in his opinion, the pothole ought to have been visible upon any reasonable inspection by the Roads Authority as at the 2nd of February 2018.
COUNCIL'S INSURERS DENY LIABILITY
Armed with this evidence, we were able to raise a case at the All Scotland Personal Injury Court as the Insurers for the Council continued to deny liability for his crash. Shortly after raising the case at Court, we received an offer in full to compensate Andrew for his injuries, damaged kit and damaged bicycle.