1980 Highway Act

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
olivermleach
Posts: 107
Joined: 7 Feb 2013, 5:29pm

Re: 1980 Highway Act

Postby olivermleach » 6 Jun 2013, 9:31am

I have to reply to the suggestions that I could have been more careful and seen the pothole. I am an experienced cyclist covering many miles on some poor London roads on a daily basis. This means avoiding probably around 30 or more large potholes every day.

The fact that I was maneuvering meant that I was scanning the road ahead, particularly as I knew this corner to be a hotspot for pedestrians walking out into the road without looking. If anyone were now to suggest that a cyclist should be staring down at the road when starting to turn I would be very surprised. Ah, you might say, I should have spotted it earlier on the approach, but I was following a stream of traffic and therefore it would have been hidden under vehicles until late. But please don't now say that I was following too closely because I wasn't. This pothole would not have been a hazard to cars but certainly was to cyclists, and I fear that is part of the reason it had fallen below 'actionable levels' on previous inspections. Personally I think they should set a more stringent cut-off so that they are fixed before they reach this stage of dis-repair. Defects are dangerous to cyclists well before the 20mm depth cut-off.

This special defense seems a very easy get-out clause. I would be quite surprised if the pothole deepened by 20% since their previous inspection but I accept there is no way to prove this.

TonyR
Posts: 5390
Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: 1980 Highway Act

Postby TonyR » 6 Jun 2013, 2:26pm

olivermleach wrote:I have to reply to the suggestions that I could have been more careful and seen the pothole. I am an experienced cyclist covering many miles on some poor London roads on a daily basis. This means avoiding probably around 30 or more large potholes every day.

The fact that I was maneuvering meant that I was scanning the road ahead, particularly as I knew this corner to be a hotspot for pedestrians walking out into the road without looking. If anyone were now to suggest that a cyclist should be staring down at the road when starting to turn I would be very surprised. Ah, you might say, I should have spotted it earlier on the approach, but I was following a stream of traffic and therefore it would have been hidden under vehicles until late. But please don't now say that I was following too closely because I wasn't. This pothole would not have been a hazard to cars but certainly was to cyclists, and I fear that is part of the reason it had fallen below 'actionable levels' on previous inspections. Personally I think they should set a more stringent cut-off so that they are fixed before they reach this stage of dis-repair. Defects are dangerous to cyclists well before the 20mm depth cut-off.

This special defense seems a very easy get-out clause. I would be quite surprised if the pothole deepened by 20% since their previous inspection but I accept there is no way to prove this.


If you knew this corner well though, either you had forgotten there was pothole there or it was very recent in which case you have to accept that hourly or daily inspections of roads to spot and repair any new potholes that might emerge on the roads network is simply not realistic. The answer is either stay further back from the car in front so you have time to see it and react or learn to lift your front wheel to clear such hazards That it would not be a hazard to cars is no excuse for being too close. Cycle so you can stop (or take evasive action) in the distance you can see to be clear.

sirmy
Posts: 594
Joined: 11 Mar 2009, 10:53am

Re: 1980 Highway Act

Postby sirmy » 6 Jun 2013, 8:04pm

I see you asked the council for a copy of their inspection policy. Have yo u asked for copies of the inspection reports. If they are not forthcoming with these stick in a FOI request for the info. Several motoring websites advise filing an FOI before a claim but I know my local council supplies this info when you submit a claim.

You don't say what you were cycling on. If it was a road most highway authorities appear to work to a standard of 40 mm in a carriageway and 25 in a footway or footpath. I would expect that cycle paths, being mostly shared use would be inspected to 25mm.

You say that the pothole was adjacent to a utility over. Ask the council to confirm the type of cover, gas, electric, water etc., and if it's not the council's ask if a defective surface apparatus notice had been served on the owner. I would expect the council would have told you this already as it's a great way of passing the buck , but if its a utility cover you may have a claim against the company if they haven't maintained their apparatus.

If the defect had been repaired when, by their criteria it wasn't actionable, you should also ask why this course of action was followed as it casts doubt on the actual depth of the pothole and how closely they follow their own procedures, if they fill in non actionable holes, do they follow their inspection regime? Also ask if they can provide photographs of the defect take at the time of this inspection showing its depth. If they can't then they have to justify why they haven't followed their own policy which would strengthen your case.

If a pothole is reported through fillthathole or similar the council should inspect it as soon as possible. If there is an actionable defect, ie over 25 or 40 mm, it should be actioned the same day as an emergency repair and filled 1 to 2 days after that. If it's below actionable depth then it may be put out as a routine repair which could take up to 6 months to repair (this won't hold true for all councils but it seems to the way the one I work for operates, at least from what I've picked up from our inspectors).

The defence of having a regular inspection regime doesn't always work as our highways department has lost several cases as the judge appeared to not want to believe the witness was lying! Yer couldn't make it up!

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7_lives_left
Posts: 798
Joined: 9 May 2008, 8:29pm
Location: South Bucks

Re: 1980 Highway Act

Postby 7_lives_left » 6 Jun 2013, 10:13pm

I have ridden over a pothole while going through a junction. I was looking at the traffic lights and side road rather than the main road. I can easily see why you could miss a pothole, you have other things that require your attention. Fortunately no damage to me or the bike unless you count the snake bite punctures front and rear.