Scottish Borders Council has been found liable in a cyclist accident compensation claim and ordered to pay £100,000 for the injuries the cyclist sustained.
In December 1st 2013, David Robinson (52) was cycling with members of the Edinburgh Cycling Club northbound along the A701. As the team of cyclists approached the bridge crossing Biggar Water near the village of Broughton, the front wheel of David´s bike lodged in a metal groove in the road.
David was sent flying over the handlebars of his bike – fracturing his wrist and elbow. An investigation into the accident revealed that the groove was a joint between an old masonry arch that spanned the crossing and newer concrete deck widening that had been constructed in 1990.
The investigation also found that several parts of the joints used to connect the arch and concrete deck sat proud of the road surface, and that there was a small hole in the road immediately at the start of the groove in which David´s front wheel had lodged.
With this information, David made a cyclist injury compensation claim against Scottish Borders Council alleging that the council had failed to deal with a hazard that was, or ought to have been, “apparent to a competent roads engineer or inspector on a reasonable visual inspection”.
The council denied liability for David´s accident and injury – contesting the cyclist injury compensation claim on the grounds that the metal groove in the road did not constitute a defect and that there was no reliable evidence to support the allegations that the front wheel of the bike had actually got lodged in the groove.
The cyclist injury compensation claim went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh where it was heard by Lady Wolffe. The judge was told that the edges of the grooves would not have been exposed if tarmacking work carried out in May 2015 had been conducted properly and brought the rest of the road up to the level of the grooves.
The judge dismissed an argument by Scottish Borders Council that David should have been paying more attention to the road conditions, concluding that he was travelling with due skill and care, and there was no evidence to suggest David was riding his bike inappropriately.
Finding in David´s favour, Lady Wolffe said that Scottish Borders Council must pay him £100,000 in settlement of the cyclist injury compensation claim – an amount of damages that had been agreed prior to the hearing if the council were found at fault.