Whilst I was out and about over the weekend I noticed that the number of cyclists on the roads had suddenly increased (no doubt keen to get out again after the long winter months!). I also noticed as I drove over a big pothole that nearly took my front tyre off that the roads are in a pretty poor condition after all the bad weather!
It’s one thing damaging a car tyre on a pothole but a much more serious affair if you are a cyclist dismounted from your bike. Car tyres can be easily replaced but the injuries to a cyclist can be far more significant.
So what rights do you have as a cyclist? Well the law in this area is quite clear – those responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the roads (usually the Local Authority or Highways Authority) have a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that roads are maintained to a reasonable standard. This does not mean that any of us can expect the roads to be kept in perfect condition at all times but it does mean that the Local or Highway Authority have to take their duty to mantain the roads seriously or face the consequences. If they fail in that duty then they will be considered to be “negligent” or in breach of their “Statutory Duty”.
The fact that a road is defective is not therefore enough to establish fault on the Local/Highway Authority. You have to go further than this and the two most common ways of doing this are either to show that the road was not regularly inspected and maintained or that previous accidents had been reported and the Local/Highway Authority had not responded within a reasonable time to repair it and prevent other accidents occurring. These are exactly the enquiries that we as solicitors pursuing a claim on your behalf would make. Effectively the arguement runs that if the Local/Highway Authority knew or OUGHT to have known (if they had carried out their job properly) that the road was defective then they are liable for the injuries and consquential losses that follow.
It is often not possible to say until after the enquiries with the Local/Highway Authority are complete whether you have a good claim or if a valid defence is likely to apply. But if you are the injured party then it is certainly worthwhile at least making the enquiry. If liability on the Authority cannot be established then we will tell you. If it CAN then we will happily pursue a claim for you for compensation for your injuries, any loss of earnings if you have been unable to work and any other consequential losses flowing from the accident.
John and I have been pursuing claims like this for many years so you can be sure that in bringing you claim to us you will be in safe hands.
Until next time