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Rocky road

A recent ruling in favour of an injured cyclist should prompt highways authorities to review and amend their systems for inspecting and repairing road surfaces, says Nigel Poole

15 August 2011

Solicitors pursuing Highways Act claims can take encouragement from a recent decision extending the duty of highway authorities to maintain road surfaces and providing additional protection for those on two wheels.

Meanwhile, exposures from the perspective of highway authorities have increased. Mr Justice Wilkie’s decision in Thomas v Warwickshire County Council [2011] EWHC 772 (QB) should prompt careful perusal of the judgment which has broad implications both for systems of inspection and repair.

The claimant in Thomas suffered a severe head injury when falling from his bicycle after the wheel had struck a small spillage of concrete which had hardened and adhered to the surface of the road. Questions were raised as to whether the concrete was part of the fabric of the road and therefore within the ambit of section 41 of the Highways Act 1980, and whether it represented a reasonably foreseeable danger to traffic using the road.

Section 41 requires the ...

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