Cyclist wins payout over barrier injuries

Joanne Ginley

A CYCLIST has been awarded compensation after a vehicle barrier rose as he cycled over it leaving him with a fractured neck.

Christopher Westerman, 51, of Upton, Pontefract, has now agreed an out-of-court settlement with Yorkshire Water following the accident in March 2008.

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He was cycling over a vehicle barrier near Eccup reservoir, near Leeds, when it rose suddenly, throwing him from his bike, badly fracturing his vertebrae and breaking his shoulder. He was unable to work for 18 weeks.

Mr Westerman, who used free legal advice available through his membership of CTC, the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation, wants to see barriers clearly marked.

He says improvements have been made to a sign at the accident scene but believes if painted a different colour it would be easier to see.

Lawyer Sara Heppenstall who represented Mr Westerman, said she was “delighted” at the result.

A Yorkshire Water spokesman said: “We want our reservoirs to be safe environments for our customers to enjoy which is why we were sorry to hear about Mr Westerman’s accident when it occurred at the time.

“Since then the barrier that caused the problem has not been in operation and is permanently down and can therefore present no safety issues for cyclists.”

However, signs have now been erected in some places.