Cyclist dies after hitting pothole that should have been repaired

Posted Aug 18, 2018.
An inquest has revealed how keen triathlete Kate Vanloo was killed in a cycling accident in January 2016 after hitting a pothole that should have been repaired two months earlier.

Ms Vanloo, 52, was cycling home from a training ride with Rugby Triathlon Club on the roads near her home in Napton, Warwickshire when she hit the pothole, which was so big it spanned the full width of the road and was unavoidable. She was subsequently thrown from her bike and was hit by a car coming in the opposite direction and sadly died at the scene from her injuries.

An employee of CR MacDonald Ltd, contractors responsible for such repairs, ended up repairing the wrong pothole on another road three miles away, despite having a map, photographs and GPS co-ordinates to identify the correct pothole. They also failed to find the correct street even though they had been given the correct name.

At the inquest in September 2017, assistant coroner John Buckley said that the delays and damage in the repairs are what caused her death. In the subsequent Prevention of Future Deaths Report (PFD), he has also demanded that Warwickshire County Council take quick action to ensure that delays in repairing potholes are minimised and that all repair work is properly tracked and recorded. In the report, Buckley added:

“In my opinion urgent action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you and your organisation have the power to take such action…the action should include an explanation of the steps you have taken to speed up the time it takes to repair potholes once they have been identified and what steps you have taken to track the progress of work orders that have been sent to Balfour Beatty Living Places for action.”

In a statement paying tribute to Ms Vanloo, her family added: 

"We hope that Warwickshire County Council, and all local councils across the UK, will take the issue of potholes more seriously and make repairs a priority to ensure that everyone can use the roads safely."

The family is now considering taking further legal action against Warwickshire County Council.