Oxfordshire CC Jan 20 Head of Legal 600

Slide background
Slide background
Slide background
Slide background
Slide background
Slide background
Slide background

Injured cyclists bring claim against county council after crashing on ford “more slippery than ice”

Three cyclists are bringing a claim against Leicestershire County Council after they crashed on a ford on a road that they say the council failed to keep safe for cyclists.

The claimants argue that the road beneath the water was “more slippery than ice”. They allege that the council was negligent for failing to maintain, for cyclists, safe passage of the highway, and failing to prevent algae build-up. The authority did not provide adequate signage warning them of the dangers from the ford, they also claim.

Janet Fox, 58 and Kirsty North, 50 immediately fell off their bicycles when they cycled across the ford on Burroughs Road, Ratby on 6 August 2019. Fox, who was taken to hospital by ambulance, suffered a fractured pelvis, bruising and open wounds to her elbow and hip. North attended hospital later after experiencing continuing pain. She was also diagnosed with a fractured pelvis.

A day later – in a separate incident – another cyclist fell while cycling across the ford. Like Fox and North, she was unfamiliar with the road and suffered a fractured shoulder in three places, which needed a metal plate to repair.

Leigh Day is bringing the case against Leicestershire on behalf of the cyclists. The firm’s specialist cycling solicitor, Ross Whalley, said: “This ford posed an apparently unavoidable danger to cyclists, motorcyclists and all road users at the time of these incidents.

“The current signage was also inadequate and I understand that it has not been changed – but signage itself will not prevent further injury to vulnerable road users if the surface here remains as slippery as ice throughout the year.”

Whalley added: “I would urge the council to reconsider the layout of the ford. My clients have heard from a local resident that there have been other incidents at this ford involving cyclists and even a horse rider, such is the danger. I hope that the council listens to their plea and takes action swiftly to prevent other road users coming to harm.”

A spokesman for Leicestershire County Council said: “We were sorry to hear of the injuries sustained by the cyclists. As civil claims have been made, we are unable to comment on any issues which are specific to these cases.

“We advise all road users to take extra care when negotiating fords which may be subject to variations in depths of water and possible changes to the road surface.”

Slide background