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Claiming for a pothole – do I qualify as a claimant?

A 2021 survey for National Pothole day revealed that 21% of UK cyclists have been involved in a bicycle accident caused by a pothole and 80% have been forced to perform a dangerous manoeuvre because of a pothole. Here’s everything you need to know about cyclist pothole claims and how to claim compensation if you qualify as a claimant.

What is a pothole?

The local Highways Authority is responsible for repairing potholes. However, each council has different guidelines regarding the definition of a pothole, as well as what the depth and width of a pothole must be before any repair is necessary.

Report a pothole.

Why are potholes an issue for cyclists?

As revealed by the National Pothole Day Survey, around 22% of the cases of UK cyclists who’ve been involved in an incident due to a pothole have resulted in a personal injury ranging from mild to severe.

How to ride over potholes safely

It isn’t always possible to avoid potholes but here are a few tips for riding on a poor road surface with potholes:

  • Keep a relaxed position when riding by lifting yourself from the saddle and keeping your elbows bent to absorb the impact.
  • Look as far ahead as possible to spot any dangerous potholes and ensure you have enough time to react.
  • Steer as straight a course as possible and meet the defect straight on
  • Release the brakes

Can I make a pothole claim?

If you’ve experienced an injury caused by hitting a pothole on your bicycle, then you may qualify as a claimant and be able to make a cyclist pothole claim for personal injury. Use our cycling injury claims calculator for an indication of how much compensation you may be entitled to.

What should I do after an accident caused by a pothole?

  • It’s essential to identify the actual defect, even if there is a shoal of them.
  • The measurements must be obtained as a matter of urgency to evidence the dimensions as close in time to the event as possible.
  • DO NOT report the defect to the HA until legal advice has been obtained. (Because the HA response will be ‘thanks for telling us, no, we didn’t know, we’ll go mend it’). Instead wait and watch and see if/when it actually is repaired.
  • Additionally, take the bike back to the defect and take a picture of the wheel in the defect.

1.    Prioritise Health and Safety

If you experience a bicycle accident caused by a pothole or other highway defect, then the health and safety of all involved should be your first priority. If the impact causes you to dismount and land forcefully, then you must call for medical assistance immediately as you may have dislocated a shoulder or hit your head and are potentially concussed.

2.    Identify and photograph the pothole (or potholes)

To reduce the likelihood of the local authority denying your cyclist pothole claim, it’s important to get as much photographic evidence from the scene as possible. Take images of the pothole (in context to surrounding landmarks) and your bicycle if there is any visible damage, such as a buckled wheel. It is also worth placing the wheel into the pothole, and photographing it in context.

You may also be able to prove the pothole is long-standing by taking images of any vegetation forming or litter in the pothole.

3.    Take the Pothole’s measurements

To make a successful pothole claim, the measurements must be obtained as a matter of urgency, including the length, width and depth. This is known as pothole profiling and can be done by a professional or yourself using a ruler or tape. To claim compensation for a pothole bicycle accident, you must prove the pothole has a surface dimension of over 300mm, a sharp lip, and a depth of over 40mm.

4.    Speak to the locals

Another way to prove a pothole is long-standing and improve your changes against the local authority is to speak to the locals and find out how long the pothole has been there. If it has been there for ‘months’, ask to take the contact details of the witness, as their account may strengthen your pothole claim.

It is also important to report the incident to the police, and to start legal proceedings before reporting the road defect to the local council or housing association. As doing so may mean that the pothole is repaired before investigations into the incident can take place.

5.    Make a Pothole Claim

After experiencing a personal injury caused by a pothole or other road defect, you will qualify as a claimant and be able to make a pothole claim for compensation. The compensation amount you receive will depend on your unique circumstances and the severity of your injury.

Cyclist Pothole Claims with Cycle SOS

At Cycle SOS, we specialise in cycling accident claims and can help you receive the personal injury compensation you’re entitled to. Our no-win, no-fee basis also means that you’ll only pay the legal costs if your cyclist pothole claim is successful.

Our team of personal injury solicitors is aware of the dangers of potholes for cyclists and the harm they can cause. Therefore, we collaborate with organisations such as Cycling England to advocate against the prevalence of potholes throughout the United Kingdom.

For more information about our services, or to start your pothole claim, call 0808 100 9995 and speak to one of our specialist solicitors. We’re here to help. You can email us or schedule a callback. or start your pothole claim.

And if you are a keen cyclist, you might want to explore membership opportunities with our partners, Cycling UK. A membership gives you access to legal support, insurance support, tips, advice and much more.

Written By:

Cycle SOS
Cycle SOS only deal with cycle accident claims. We understand cyclists, and believe that cyclists have the right to be safe on the roads. Cycle SOS The Cyclists National Helpline is made up of a highly trained team of specialist personal injury cycling lawyers that have recovered millions of pounds for people making bicycle accident claims.