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 Published on: 20th October 2017   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

A cyclist who was catastrophically injured when he swerved to avoid a pothole has won nearly £70,000 compensation.   Alan Curtis, of Chiltern Avenue, Bushey, was with a group of friends training for a charity bikeathon when he came to grief, said the judge. Mr Curtis – a high-earning charity fund raiser – sustained skull fractures and a broken arm after hurtling over the handlebars of his bike in The Drive, Rickmansworth, in October 2009, London’s High Court heard.   The 57-year-old had to switch to a “less stressful” job in the charity sector two years after his accident, Judge David Pittaway QC told the court, leaving the £90,000 a year role where he had run a successful team. The judge found Hertfordshire County Council – the local authority which maintained the road – in breach of its duty to inspect and maintain highways and its area, awarding Mr Curtis compensation totalling £69,425, including interest.     He and his two companions regularly went out on weekend cycling jaunts, covering 50 miles at a go, but all those who knew him termed him a “careful and sensible cyclist”.   He was travelling at up to 20mph when he approached the offending stretch of road, the court heard, and probably lost control when he swerved to avoid a pothole ahead of him.   Dismissing claims that Mr Curtis should have noticed the defect in the road, the judge said he would have had no time to avoid the hazard and cleared him of all responsibility for the accident.   The council had not shown that it had done its utmost to inspect and repair the stretch of road, the judge added, finding that an inspection carried out in March 2009 was “defective”.   “The linear defect should have been seen and entered on the laptop, and a work order generated to repair it,” he held, finding that the local authority “breached its duty”.   Mr Curtis, who has a 13-year-old son and has no memory of the accident, was left with long-term hearing problems and mild brain damage, the court heard, and has problems “processing information”.   Although he is currently holding down a demanding new role in the charity sector, and is paid over £60,000-a-year, Mr Curtis told the court he had developed numerous “coping strategies”.   His cycling companions told how Mr Curtis disappeared from view ahead of them as he went downhill towards the accident scene, suddenly confronting the spectacle of his battered body on the road.   He was rushed to hospital by paramedics where he received emergency surgery for his injuries.   Read more in April’s My Bushey News  

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