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Anger as pothole leaves Ipswich postie injured – as council throws out claim for damages

PUBLISHED: 18:23 19 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:19 20 April 2018

Gary Wright, who crashed his bike after hitting a pothole, pictured where the incident happened. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Gary Wright, who crashed his bike after hitting a pothole, pictured where the incident happened. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A postman left bruised and scarred after crashing his bike when he hit a pothole has criticised council chiefs who have thrown out his claim for damages.

The postman was riding his bike down Back Hamlet when the accident happened. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe postman was riding his bike down Back Hamlet when the accident happened. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Gary Wright, from Ipswich, was cycling to work along Back Hamlet when he hit a dent in the road and came off his bicycle – ending up under a parked car.

The 51-year-old was left with cuts and bruises, and reported the road defect to highways chiefs soon after the incident happened on January 15. His bike was written off and he ended up having to pay £150 a new one.

Now he has received a letter telling him his claim was being refused – and that to have grounds for one the pothole must be at least 50mm in depth and 400mm in diameter.

“I was cycling down hill on Back Hamlet and I hit the road defect which caused me to lose control – I came off my bike along the road and ended up underneath a parked car,” he said.

The 'road defect' as it looks now, filled in with tarmac. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe 'road defect' as it looks now, filled in with tarmac. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“I was really shaken up. My bike was written off as well and really smashed up.

“It does worry me because what would have happened if that car was moving or if there was a car coming the other way.”

In his refusal letter bosses told him the road was routinely inspected three days after his accident on January 18, and no “intervention level defects” were identified.

But on January 31, he received an email from the highways team telling him work had been carried out to “rectify the issue that you raised with us”.

The 51-year-old was left with bruises and cuts after the incident. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe 51-year-old was left with bruises and cuts after the incident. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Mr Wright added: “It’s frustrating because I keep getting different information – one minute they tell me it’s been inspected and nothing needs to be repaired and the next they’re saying they’ve repaired it.

“I went back at the end of January and took photos and they had filled it in with tarmac so there was obviously something there.”

Council chiefs said they assess claims on an individual basis and settlement will only be made if negligence is proven. A spokesman added: “On receipt of Mr Wright’s claim we carried out a thorough investigation, and a denial of liability was made.

“Just because a pothole exists this does not automatically make the council liable. While we sympathise with the claimant, the council is obliged to rely on a special legal defence under Section 58 of the Highways Act.

Mr Wright's bike was written off by the crash, and he paid out £150 from his home insurance excess for a new one. Picture: GREGG BROWNMr Wright's bike was written off by the crash, and he paid out £150 from his home insurance excess for a new one. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“If an outcome remains unfavourable to a claimant they are at liberty to seek professional legal advice.”


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