Bicycle Injury Specialists

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Pothole & Road Surface Debris Accident Compensation

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Claiming compensation for a cycling accident due to road surface hazards

While potholes can be a nuisance to car drivers, they can be dangerous, and sometimes deadly, to cyclists. Sadly, recent years have seen a deterioration of the nation’s road surfaces and potholes are becoming more and more prevalent.

In addition, debris or spillages left on the road can also cause serious accidents for cyclists. Any cyclist will be able to tell you that the state of any given road surface on any given day, is a lottery.

Common causes of accidents when it comes to road surfaces are:

  • Potholes (including where filled with rain water)
  • Raised grids
  • Broken road surfaces resulting in loose gravel
  • Poorly repaired road surfaces
  • Debris from roadworks or other building works
  • Oil spills
  • Mud
  • Spilt loads
  • Unnatural ice (such as frozen water from a burst water main)


Liability – who is for the accident due to road surface hazards?

Accidents involving potholes
The type of hazard will dictate how the claim proceeds. Claims involving potholes are usually made against the council responsible for inspecting and maintaining that highway. They have a duty by law to inspect roads on a reasonably regular basis. Usually the busier the road, the more frequently it should be inspected. For example, they would be expected to inspect a busy A road more often than a quiet country lane. They are duty bound to keep records of these inspections and any hazards that they noted. Potholes or defects that present a hazard to cyclists should be noted in their inspections, after which they have a ‘reasonable’ period of time to fix it. They also have a duty to inspect and then repair potholes and hazards that have been reported to them by the public. Not every pothole will be considered hazardous by the council and its ultimately up to a judge to decide (although court is rarely necessary with the right legal team).

Accidents involving other road surface debris
Where other debris is responsible for the accident, the claim is usually directed against the person or company who is responsible for that debris. For example, the haulage company that spilt their load, the electricity company who didn’t clear up their site after roadworks or a farmer who failed to clear mud from the road. In the case of an oil spill where the source is unknown, there may be a case to present to the Motor Insurers Bureau under their untraced driver agreement (on the condition you can reasonably prove that a motor vehicle spilt the oil).

Why choose cycle claim line?

Our legal team has a huge amount of experience when it comes to cycling and motorcycling accident claims. We have specialised in two wheel claims for nearly 30 years. Pothole and road surface hazard cases are very common, and we have a dedicated section of our legal team that deals exclusively with these types of claim. We are fully versed in the rules around road inspection and know exactly where and how to apply for inspection records. Where a council does not cooperate and refuses or fails to send us the documents, we will issue court proceedings in order to force the matter. Our expert lawyers are very familiar with inspection records and know exactly what to look for. We will work to gather evidence that supports the length of time that hazard has been present, in case inspections have been done by the council but they missed this hazard. We can also use our experience to confidently argue against the council if they claim that the pothole isn’t deep enough to be considered a negligent hazard. We can give you proper expert advice based on many years’ experience of these types of claim.

We have also pursued claims against many different organisations and government bodies who have left a road surface in a hazardous condition. This includes farms, builders, contractors, hauliers, petrol stations, water boards, utility companies. Our legal team won a case in the Court of Appeal involving a horse that was escaped from an improperly secured field.

While these cases are not straightforward, our legal team has the confidence and experience to get the very best result possible. We’re proud of our 96% win rate and our longstanding record of standing up for and representing the rights of cyclists and motorcyclists. We always work under a conditional fee agreement (commonly referred to as a “no win no fee agreement”). You do not need to have legal cover or legal protection. If your case is not successful, you do not have to pay a penny.

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I never realised I would be eligible to make a claim, but now that I have been successful, I can get my life and my finances back on track.

Sally Mackenzie, Manchester