Triathlete suing council over pothole that resulted in severe injuries

A triathlete who was severely injured after his bike hit a pothole is suing Staffordshire County Council after the hole was not filled in more than a year after his accident.

Paul Hughes, from Kidderminster in Worcestershire, was left with a fractured spinal cord, a damaged lung, as well as a broken collarbone, pelvis and ribs when he hit a pothole while cycling.

He contacted the council with details of the accident and his injuries but apart from an automated reply, he has never received a response.

He said: "I've heard nothing back… Then recently we went back 15 months later to the same spot and nothing's been done. I'm actually very angry."

Mr Hughes, a landscape gardener, has said he is unable to work and that his injuries "affect everything".

"It's depressing and you just don't know what to do. You try and get motivation to go biking again [but] it's very hard.

"To actually go out and enjoy a bike ride, that would be nice. Instead of coming back thinking, 'I survived a bike ride,'" he said.

"There are a lot of potholes and they haven't got a bottomless pit of money [but] the roads just seem to be getting worse and worse.

"I just think it needs to be sorted out. People want to go out and enjoy cycling."

Staffordshire County Council told Sky News: "We're sorry to hear of this and the injuries sustained, but we can't comment on the specifics of an individual incident.

"We have one of the largest road networks in the country, 6,000 kilometres, and keeping our highways in a good state of repair means an ongoing and costly challenge.

"Last year we completed around 16,000 pothole jobs around the county, which often consist of two or three potholes," the council's statement added.

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"The recent wet weather has seen a rise in new pothole reports. Now crews will be carrying out numerous temporary and permanent repairs to the roads, all reported issues are inspected as soon as possible and assessed for their severity.

"We deal with any defect that poses an immediate risk as a priority."

The RAC estimates that the UK has at least one million potholes and said it attended nearly 30,000 pothole-related breakdowns in 2023.