Councils across Britain are preparing themselves for injury compensation claims from victimised motorists and cyclists who rightly believe it is the Council’s responsibility to ensure that roads are fit for use. The recent cold snap in Britain has caused havoc on the state of the roads and pavements. The process of snow and ice thawing and then refreezing in small gaps in the surface transforms them into large potholes, some of these become crater like spreading up to one metre across. These potholes can cause serious problems for road users, causing severe damage to cars and danger to cyclists.
Recently Kent County Council was forced to pay out £6,250 to a cyclist who fell after inadvertently running into a pothole. Mr Kenneth Atkinson, 76 significantly injured his shoulder during the incident, causing the pensioner to give up the pastime he loved. Although Kent County Council at first denied liability for the incident, it was forced to change its position when the scale of the pothole became evident. At the time of Mr Atkinson’s cycle accident in May 2007, the road defect was five feet long and four inches deep.
The scale of the pothole problem has grown acutely during the recent winter conditions. Only last week eight motorists were forced to pull over on the M20 after suffering punctures caused by a large and deep deficiency in the road surface. Although the Highways Agency quickly fixed that particular problem the scale of the problem across Britain’s roads has and will lead to more misery for motorists, with compensation the only solution for the numerous cases of damage to vehicles.