Widow of Cyclist to Sue after Pothole Death

Widow of Cyclist to Sue Over Pothole Death 25853

The widow of a man who died after hitting a pothole while on a charity bike ride has revealed her intention to claim compensation from the local council responsible for the road's upkeep.

Martyn Uzzell, 51, from Clevedon, was on a charity bike ride from Land's End to John O'Groats when he began travelling along the A65 in Giggleswick, North Yorkshire. Although he had managed to make good time up until that point, Mr Uzzell, who was travelling with two friends, accidentally hit a pothole on a road.

This sent him off balance and he veered to the other side of the road where he hit another car, which killed him instantly. The driver of the other vehicle involved in the fatal accident has not been blamed and it is believed it would not have been possible for him to avoid the cyclist, reports the BBC.

Court Hearing

A Skipton Magistrates' Court hearing concluded that Mr Uzzell died from head injuries resulting from the road traffic accident. However, Coroner Rob Turnbull also recorded that there was "no doubt whatsoever that the condition of the road on that occasion was the cause".

Prior to the cycling accident, a police officer travelling along the A65 informed the local council there was a pothole in the road, but the message was not passed on to the proper authorities and was not acted upon.

Furthermore, the A65 had been inspected by the council and before Mr Uzzell was killed, it was noted that there was a "defect" along the road that needed to be fixed within 30 days.

However, despite claims that North Yorkshire County Council did not do enough to keep road users safe, a review by the Crown Prosecution Service has concluded that no charges of corporate manslaughter should be brought.

Preventable Accident

Speaking to reporters, Kate Uzzell, Martyn's widow, said, "I'm very angry because it was a totally preventable accident. The council had been warned abou the pothole, they had inspected it and they still did nothing; it's just appalling.

"[Taking civil Court action was] not what I wanted to do, [but] I wanted there to be a prosecution and for them to stand up and be counted for what they didn't do."

It's unclear when Mrs Uzzell's lawsuit will be heard by a civil Court, but any fatal accident compensation settlement arranged to finalise the case is likely to be above six figures, so serious are the allegations in question.

Pothole Compensation

Potholes remain a common source of grievance for many drivers and cyclists and while cases like Mr Uzzell's are rare, councils are increasingly being forced to pay compensation to people injured in road accidents caused by potholes and poor road maintenance.

A Freedom of Information request published last year showed that there was a 79% increase in the number of pothole compensation claims submitted compared to 2012.

Breakdown service Britannia Rescue found that almost one in ten drivers in the UK suffered car damage as a result of a pothole, although only a minority sustained injuries from their accidents.

By Chris Stevenson