Media Hub

Triathlete to sue council over serious pothole injuries
07 Feb 2024

A triathlete who broke his collarbone, ribs and pelvis in a bike accident after hitting a pothole is horrified that the road hasn’t been mended more than a year later.

Paul Hughes, from Worcestershire, is still in pain 15 months after the accident - and has struggled to return to his former level of cycling. Despite the accident happening as long ago as October 2022, the pothole in Stourbridge that caused Paul’s injuries has still not been repaired by Staffordshire County Council.

Paul is now being supported by FBC Manby Bowdler to launch a personal injury claim against the council for compensation.

He said: “It’s really not right that the pothole is still there, it’s dreadful. I think it’s about time this was sorted. Lots of people like to get out on their bikes but it’s dangerous, and it seems to get more and more dangerous each year.

“You end up riding further out into the middle of the road to avoid potholes, and then you’re in the way of cars.”

Paul suffered a broken collar bone, multiple rib fractures – known as a flail chest - a pelvic fracture and fracture of T6 spinous process, which affects the spinal cord. He also damaged a lung and had multiple bruises and grazes, including a black eye and scratches to his face.

Adam Wilson, a senior associate with FBC Manby Bowdler, said: “Potholes and poorly maintained roads are a major problem in the UK, and it’s getting worse.

“We all know councils are short of money, but human lives are at risk when roads are left in this state. It’s bad enough when a car gets damaged by a pothole, but for a cyclist the consequences can be life-changing, and even life-threatening. I would urge anyone affected by pothole issues to make sure they log their complaint with their local council to ensure the issue is dealt with as soon as possible.

“That this pothole hasn’t been repaired in more than a year is a disgrace. Paul faces years of pain as he recovers from his injuries, and it is only right that he is compensated for his loss of earnings and his suffering.”

Paul said he was still suffering a lot of pain in his back and collarbone, and was psychologically struggling to get back into cycling. He said: “I went with a friend back to the road where it happened. He made me ride down it and it was horrendous - I had a panic attack halfway down.

“I used to make excuses to go out on my bike – now I make excuses not to.  I hope I can get back into it, but I need to get my confidence back.”

Paul, 57, spent 10 days in Russells Hall Hospital then returned to his job as a groundsman after two months, which he feels was probably too early. He has since been made redundant, which he believes is because he is now physically unable to work at the same speed.

Paul has been cycling since his early teens and was a keen competitive cyclist and triathlete before the accident, completing many competitive events and charity rides. He was riding his specialist Pinarello 8k road bike along Sugar Loaf Lane away from Stourbridge and was about half a mile past the tennis club when the accident happened at about 11am on October 22, 2022.

He said: “I was lucky that two cyclists going the other way heard the crash and doubled back, and they called the ambulance. I can’t remember much about it, but looking back now I was quite lucky.

“My son Ryan came to meet me at the crash scene – I didn’t dare tell my wife because she would have killed me! I’d been cleaned up a bit in hospital before Sarah saw me.”

Anyone else who has had problems on this stretch of road is asked to get in touch with Adam Wilson on 01902 392469 or by emailing adam.wilson@fbcmb.co.uk

Meet Adam Wilson