East Sussex County Council called for action to be taken after the woman’s death

A coroner has warned more lives could be lost if no action is taken after a woman was “catapulted” off her bike when it hit a pothole that a council “failed to repair”.

On March 29, 2021, Jennifer Dyer died after colliding with a van on the B2188 near Groombridge.

Assistant Medical Examiner James Healy-Pratt said the 36-year-old was “catapulted” from her bike when it hit a pothole camouflaged by “dappled sunlight and shadows from tree branches”.

He said the pothole was 0.45m by 0.8m at its widest and widest point and 5.8cm at its deepest point and the pothole “evidence of a history of failed repairs since late 2019, with numerous concerns about the ongoing Danger that it represented to road users, in particular motorcycles and bicycles”.

Sussex Police Forensic Reconstruction Report concluded it was “very likely” that the collision was due to the defect in the road and in particular the pothole.

Mr Healy-Pratt’s inquest found Ms Dyer’s death “was avoidable” and that East Sussex County Council should review how it categorizes potholes for patching.

“This young lady and mother was killed in a collision between her bicycle and a van,” wrote Mr. Healy-Pratt in his Prevention of Future Deaths report.

“This collision was caused solely and directly by a defective pothole 58mm deep in the road surface of the B2188, Cherry, Gardens Hill, Groombridge. Her death was avoidable.”

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According to the report, the pothole in question fell into the LOW category for risk and rehabilitation work in the East Sussex Highway maintenance manual.

The definition for this category is “more than 40 mm and less than 59 mm deep and at least 300 mm in all directions”.

“Clearly this pothole was the proximate cause of the death of a young woman and the categorization of potholes in East Sussex requires thorough review to prevent future preventable deaths in the county,” Mr Healy-Pratt wrote.

East Sussex County Council said the pothole was repaired the same day and the road re-examined for other potholes.

And it has since adopted an “enhanced” three risk-based approach to its safety inspection systems that “enables a more flexible approach to determining risk to all road users and response times to deficiencies.”

The council spokesman said this allows the inspector to change a pothole’s categorization to include potholes for repair that are not in the lowest category, if necessary, or change a pothole’s category to medium or high following an on-site risk assessment Risk to change, which now also takes into account location and road use in addition to size and depth.

“Although this procedure was not in place at the time the pothole in this incident was identified and categorized, the Council believes that by introducing this new procedure, a specific review of pothole categories is not required,” the spokesman said.

The council undertook to review the effectiveness of the new system and consider how it would have affected Ms Dyer’s case.

It also said it would carry out further investigations into cycle path hierarchy and cycle route maintenance in line with “best practice and neighboring authorities”.

“The Council is committed to improving communication with road users and increasing road safety,” said the spokesman.

“The death of Jennifer Dyer is a tragic loss and the Council extends its sincere condolences to Ms Dyer’s family.”

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/22569386.east-sussex-county-council-told-take-action-womans-death/?ref=rss East Sussex County Council called for action to be taken after the woman’s death

Fry Electronics Team

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