Skipton bike shop owner wins case after pothole accident

A BICYCLE shop owner in Skipton has demanded action to repair dangerous road surfaces after an accident on his tandem cycle.

Dave Ferguson was riding his tandem near Soulby in Cumbria with his partner when the bike's wheel got stuck in a deep rut left by repair work to a utility trench.

He somersaulted through the air and dislocated his shoulder, which put him out of action for several weeks. His partner escaped with shock, cuts and bruising.

Dave said: "Although we were not travelling at a great speed the wheels got caught in a rut the width of the tyre, unbalancing the bike and throwing me through the air."

The accident happened on a road designated by transport group Sustrans as part of the National Cycle Network.

Cyclists have long complained that the state of many of Britain's roads, especially minor ones, are potentially dangerous for them - a three-inch deep pothole, for example, would be barely noticed driven over in a car, but could possibly kill a cyclist if he or she didn't see it in time.

Recently, the coroner's report into the death of a cyclist on Settle by-pass found that found it was caused by a defective road surface around a manhole cover.

Dave said he complained without success to Cumbria County Council about the state of the road because he was concerned that another cyclist could be injured or worse.

Then Skipton personal injury specialists law firm Armstrong Luty took up the cudgels on his behalf.

After a trial, the judge found against the local authority.

Dave said: "As the judge acknowledged, it is not about the financial recompense I received for my injury, the bike and my loss of earnings, but about making the authority take responsibility for potentially lethal road conditions.

"Often cyclists are perceived as inferior road users, with many car drivers under the illusion that because they pay car tax, this somehow makes cyclists less worthy of using the roads. With the increase of cyclists on the roads this year because of the Tour de France, there are more inexperienced riders out and about, creating a 'them and us' mentality on our already busy rural roads.

"We all have a right to use the roads and cyclists must continue to actively pursue the right to be safe while riding for the benefit of all."

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