Builder Injured In Accident On Un-Gritted Road Appeals To Councils For Answers

Sheffield Builder Joins Lawyers To Call For Councils To Better Prepare For Wintry Weather Conditions


By Suzanne Rutter

A motorcyclist who was seriously injured when his bike skidded out of control on an icy road, is calling for two South Yorkshire councils who are both denying responsibility for gritting the busy road to resolve the issue, so he can finally get the answers he deserves about how the crash was allowed to happen.

Anthony Hart, of Nether Ley Croft, Chapeltown in Sheffield, was injured on 27 November 2012 as he was riding his scooter along the A61 Halifax Road towards the A628, near to the junction outside The Crown Pub in Sheffield. As he turned onto the busy road, he hit a 100-metre un-gritted patch at the junction with Westwood New Road which caused him to skid and fall from his bike.

The 55-year-old suffered injuries to his knee and hand, despite the fact he was wearing protective clothing. He continues to walk with a limp after the crash and his knee is still tender and painful.

Anthony has now instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who are investigating which council is responsible for gritting the road and whether more could have been done to protect Anthony from the treacherously icy conditions on the day of the crash.

He says staff at the nearby Crown Pub, who rushed out to help him after he fell from his bike, had told him they had warned Barnsley Metropolitan District Council about the road being un-gritted and when he also reported the incident to the council, they said they had an agreement with Sheffield Council to grit the road, which runs along the border of Sheffield and Barnsley. 

Sheffield City Council deny this and do not accept the arrangement exists, suggesting that the road was left un-treated as neither believed they had a responsibility for it.

Andrew Smith, a specialist lawyer from Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office representing him, said: “Anthony’s case shows the impact road traffic collisions can have on people’s lives and it reinforces the need for councils to properly grit roads in icy and snowy weather conditions.

“For a 100-metre patch of road to not be gritted is inconsistent and dangerous for motorists who rely on local councils to ensure the roads are as safe as possible. We would urge Sheffield and Barnsley councils to come to some agreement about who is responsible for gritting the A628 so that we can finally help Anthony get the answers he deserves and help prevent further accidents happening again in future.

“We may all be basking in sunshine at the moment, but councils need to prepare for when the autumnal and wintry weather comes and gritting roads becomes an essential part of their duties and what the general public expect them to do to keep them safe on the roads.

“Anthony’s case relates to winter weather, however the worry is that other serious risks and hazards on the roads could be ignored, if councils do not know who is responsible for an area.”

Anthony, who works as a self-employed builder in Sheffield, was unable to ride for several weeks after the accident, as he recovered from the injuries to his knee and hand. This prevented him from visiting customers and carrying out estimates for new work and he still has difficulties in working to his full capacity due to his injuries.

He said: “I remember the crash vividly as it was a cold, frosty morning and although there was a lot of ice on the roads out of Sheffield, the Burncross Road, A61 and A628, had been gritted. It was only when I got to the junction of Westwood New Road that I realised the area had not been gritted at that point and the wheels of my scooter skidded, I fell off and felt excruciating pains in my knee and hand.

“I tried to get up and out of the way of any oncoming traffic but I kept slipping on the ice and it was incredibly hard to move my bike. Thankfully, staff at The Crown Pub saw what had happened and came to help me. I was really shaken up and particularly shocked when the pub manager said they had reported the lack of gritting to Barnsley Metropolitan District Council in the past.

“I have missed out on a number of jobs that I couldn’t visit or quote for and even now my knee feels weak, which is a concern when I am climbing ladders at work. As a self-employed builder, these injuries and the problems they have caused have obviously knocked me for six financially.

“It has been really frustrating not being able to get a clear answer from either Sheffield or Barnsley councils about who is responsible for gritting this road and I really hope they get their heads together to resolve the issue before the weather turns icy and cold again.

“I wouldn’t want any other motorists to go through what I have and I hope that my case shows that even relatively minor injuries like I suffered can have a big impact on people’s lives.”