Can I claim against council for road debris?

By MCN -

Riding Skills

 16 April 2010 14:38

Q. I recently had a bike accident on the way back from college. I was about to overtake a bus which was slowing down as it was approaching a bus stop, so I assumed it would stop there.

As I pulled out to go round it there was a car coming towards me on the other side of the road.

I used the front brake to slow down and pull in behind the bus again, but the front wheel skidded out and the bike fell over which propelled me left and the bike right, into the oncoming car.

I’m 19 years old with 3 years no claims and have third party, fire and theft insurance.

Would I have a case against the council if my front wheel skidded out on debris in middle of the road?
M Parr, email
A. In theory a claim could be brought against the council for gravel etc on the road, but the majority of cases fail because they can prove they had no knowledge of the debris, and also have a reasonable system of inspection in place.

The court’s view is that it would be too difficult for a local authority to keep every single road in its area absolutely free of gravel and so on.

It may be useful to return to the scene and ask local residents whether they knew of the debris, whether they reported it to the council and when.

Take photos of the debris if you can. If you can prove the council did know about it and did nothing to remedy the problem, this could give rise to a claim.

The only other possible route is to make a claim via the Motor Insurers Bureau under their ‘untraced drivers’ scheme.

If they are satisfied that the debris was deposited from a vehicle, they may well deal with your claim.

If you haven’t done so already, I would report the matter to the police as the MIB won’t deal with the claim unless it is reported within a matter of days.

I would therefore report the incident within the next seven days and get a police incident number which can be relayed to the MIB as proof that it has been reported.