Four-figure payout for cyclist who hit large pothole

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A cyclist was awarded a four-figure payout by Cheshire East Council after his bike hit a large pothole 9cm deep, sending him crashing to the floor and injuring his back, side and shoulder.

John Whittle was cycling along Mottram Road in Alderley Edge when the accident happened. He didn't see the pothole, which was filled with water.

JMW Solicitors who represented John Whittle said Cheshire East Council failed to inspect the pothole for three days after it had been reported and denied liability. However, the Council instructed its legal team to offer a settlement payment once court proceedings were issued.

John Whittle said: "I've been a cyclist for many years, so I'm used to looking out for potholes given the atrocious state of the roads - this one was filled with water, so I didn't see it and before I knew it I was on the ground, having injured my back, side and shoulder. The injuries caused me issues at work for several weeks and were obviously very painful, but it could have been much worse.

"It's disappointing that the council took so long to investigate the pothole, putting more people in danger."

Nadia Kerr, Partner at JMW Solicitors, said: "This accident has exposed serious failings in the way dangerous potholes are inspected - the clock should start ticking as soon as a pothole is reported, but in reality, it can take days for an inspector to assess it. A 9cm-deep pothole has the potential to cause serious injury - this accident was nasty but it could have been much worse - particularly if John was sharing the narrow road with vehicle."

Following their investigation, JMW revealed that John's accident wasn't the first; a cyclist had already been injured in the same spot and had reported the defect to the council. The report produced after the first accident referred to a "deep" and "dangerous" water-filled pothole and also referred to the cyclist having come off his bike. The law firm believes that, had the Council correctly identified the pothole as requiring urgent inspection and repair, John's accident wouldn't have happened.

Nadia continued: "The Highways Policy needs a careful re-think to make sure that dangerous potholes like this one are inspected much sooner - lack of resources is not a defence. Cyclists risk injury every day but councils must do more to prevent accidents like this - or worse. Until the Highways Policy is changed, the number of compensation claims will continue to rise, and cyclists will continue to be at risk and sustain injuries which are preventable."

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