Help: London Cyclists!!

Hi,

I was hoping if any fellow cyclists could help me with this?

I had a serious accident along New Cavendish Street towards Marylebone High Street (specifically junction of Wimpole Street and New Cavendish Steet) on 17 Dec 2013. There was a very large pothole and the cycle flipped over this and I fell several feet forward in full traffic. I was lucky to get away with a broken hand and bruises. As a consequence I missed work for several weeks and have had to use public transport since then.

I filed a claim complaint against Westminster council however they deny liability stating incorrectly that the road was adequately maintained according to their inspection carried out on 15 Oct 2013. According to my lawyer they have asked for independent witnesses. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any contact details at the time from the four people who helped me after the accident.

If any one of you cycle along this road, and remember assisting me, or noticing this pothole (photo attached) last October/November I would be very grateful if you would be willing to give a brief written witness statement (that is all that is required).

In short, just a confirmation that you did indeed notice this pothole/road defect between 15 Oct 2013 and 17 Dec 2013.

I would also be grateful if you would forward this message on to any friends/colleagues who cycle along this route.

Thanks in advance.

Replies

  • By phufbl at 2:40pm 16 May 2014

Sorry I can't help you, but it is remarkable that they can claim that a pothole you have a photograph of does not exist!

They aren't actually denying that it existed, they are saying that the road was in an adequate condition when they inspected it on 15th October and that they have  an "adequate" inspection regime.

What is adequate though? Would it be adequate or reasonable to inspect that road every month? every week? every day? once a year? Their defence is that they inspected it at a reasonable frequency and that the pothole appeared between inspections. I wonder if anyone reported this pothole between 15 October and the time you crashed? You could request whether they had any reports under 'Freedom of Information. If they knew about it but didn't fix it then that's another ball-game. I wonder if 'FixMyStreet.com' has a record of this being reported? I hope that this helps.

Reporting potholes to the authorities is important.

  • By phufbl at 2:40pm 19 May 2014

Surely it is their job to ensure the road is adequately maintained, not to tick a box that an inspection has been carried out at a certain frequency?

There is a cost-benefit analysis when they are deciding the frequency of inspections. Obviously the greater the time period between inspections, the greater the risk of potholes appearing or growing which increases the cost to the council in liability for damage or injury. On the other hand, reducing the time period between inspections increases the cost of carrying out inspections as more workers are required.

The council have to choose the optimum inspection frequency to balance the cost of inspections with the cost of settling damage or injury claims, but it is surely still their responsibility? If they are not liable then the question you ask of how often is it reasonable to expect them to inspect the road becomes entirely subjective and almost arbitrary or on a "when we get around to it" basis.  

"The council have to choose the optimum inspection frequency to balance the cost of inspections with the cost of settling damage or injury claims, but it is surely still their responsibility?"

"If they are not liable then the question you ask of how often is it reasonable to expect them to inspect the road becomes entirely subjective...."

I'd say that the council were liable if they were negligent i.e. if the fault was reported and they failed to fix it or if they didn't inspect the road ever or very infrquently. No doubt a court of law decides how frequent is reasonable which takes into account cost versus risk.

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