Council attacked after failing to act on pothole dubbed The Beast

A CYCLIST who nearly died and had to endure a seven-hour operation after hitting a pothole has spoken of his anger that a warning about the same “potentially lethal” hazard was not acted upon by council officials a year earlier.

David Armstrong

David Armstrong, 66, shattered his pelvis, suffered a collapsed lung, broke his back, three ribs and his collarbone after his front wheel was caught in a deep crack, christened “The Beast” by local riders because of its depth and danger.

The impact from the fall on Bradford Road, Shipley, was so severe that at one point doctors feared the married grandfather might not survive his injuries.

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Mr Armstrong, a retired civil servant, of South Edge, Shipley, who had been a top-ranked fell runner, underwent a seven-hour operation to fuse his pelvis and was hospitalised for a month.

He later learned the pothole where he crashed on September 7, 2013, was reported to Bradford council 12 months earlier by another rider, via cycling charity CTC’s “Fill that Hole” campaign to notify authorities about hazards. On that occasion, the rider reporting the crack wrote: “This is potentially lethal and needs very urgent attention.”

A year on from the crash, the council has admitted liability after Mr Armstrong launched legal action. He hopes the incident will serve as a wake-up call to local authorities to take more pre-emptive steps to improve roads.

He said: “It made me feel so angry when I found out the council was aware of this hazard. The fact that all the pain I was going through could have been avoided for a few pence of tarmac is infuriating. My incident is a good illustration of how we need joined-up thinking between authorities so they realise saving a few pounds here and there might mean huge financial consequences later.”

Mr Armstrong is an experienced cyclist and runner, who has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, once rode a bike from London to Paris and has run the Grand Canyon in the USA from rim to rim in his 60s. On the day of the crash, he was returning from a training ride when he hit the pothole.

A CTC spokesman said: “The terrible injuries suffered by the cyclist in this case could have been avoided had the council acted on the report made a year earlier. The terrible injuries suffered by the cyclist in this case could have been avoided had the council acted on the report made a year earlier.”

Bradford Council confirmed it had admitted liability and is looking to assist Mr Armstrong with his rehabilitation.

Mr Armstrong’s lawyer Jonathan Reid, of Slater & Gordon, said: “What is particularly disturbing about this case is that the council was well aware of the danger this pothole posed, more than a year before this crash.

“The fact that another rider had highlighted this danger has been crucial in this case.

“This campaign is an excellent means for riders to give local authorities adequate warning of dangers. It is important they act on those warnings.

“The council owes a duty of care, not just to motorists, but especially vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians.”