Pothole repairs to be stepped up following cyclist death - The Leamington Observer

Pothole repairs to be stepped up following cyclist death

Leamington Editorial 13th Aug, 2018   0

POTHOLE repairs will be stepped up in Warwickshire following the death of a cyclist who hit a hole which should have been filled in months before.

Triathlete Kate Vanloo from Napton died following a head on crash with a car on Holt Lane just outside the village on January 3 in 2016.

The mum-of-three – who was a member of British Triathlon Federation – had been cycling home from a morning training ride with Rugby Triathlon Club when she hit a pothole in the road and was thrown from her bike into the path of an oncoming car.

The 10cm pothole was completely covered by a puddle and she was unable to avoid it due to oncoming traffic.

At an inquest into the 52-year-old’s death, Warwickshire assistant coroner John Buckley delivered a narrative verdict detailing the delays to the repair of the pothole which caused the incident.

Warwickshire County Council was responsible for fixing the road and had a contract with Balfour Beatty Living Place for highways maintenance, which then subcontracted road repairs.

The pothole had been identified by an inspection in March 2015 and again six months later. Council policy stated it should have been repaired within 28 days.

But due to ‘financial reasons’ repairs were halted between July and September. It was due to be fixed before Christmas but the person tasked with the job could not find the pothole, despite having GPS co-ordinates, two maps and a photograph of the hole showing a nearby farm as a point of reference.

The person who was supposed to carry out the repair instead filled in a pothole on a different road three miles away.

Following the coroner’s Prevention of Future Deaths report, the county council said lessons had been learnt.

It said going forward the depths of potholes would be recorded and they would be repaired within 28 days.

A Warwickshire County Council spokesman said: “We hope to provide reassurance, most especially to the family of Mrs Vanloo, of how seriously the county council takes the safety of people on our roads and the process which we and Balfour Beatty operate have been significantly improved in practical and effective ways for the future.”

The Vanloo family is considering legal action against the council and says it hopes the government would now look at revising its guidance on potholes nationwide.

A family spokeswoman said: “Following the coroner’s conclusion and report, we will now be investigating further legal action against the council as the body responsible for repairing the road.

“The tragic death of Kate Vanloo shows the devastation that potholes can cause when they are left unrepaired. We welcome the Prevention of Future Deaths report produced by the coroner and hope that the council will take the action requested to speed up repairs and ensure that they take responsibility for tracking the progress of repairs.

“Potholes pose a danger to all those who use the roads, particularly cyclists, and we urge government to recognise this danger and revise their guidance to ensure that councils have effective and efficient systems in place to complete repairs swiftly.”


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