Bicycle Road Traffic Accident
An Army officer who had recently returned from fighting in Afghanistan died in a lorry collision as he apparently tried to avoid a large pothole in the road on his bicycle, an inquest heard today.
Captain Jonathan Allen, 29, was riding along the A338 near Tidworth, Wiltshire, in the rain when the accident happened on March 24 this year.
The pothole, at the Leckford crossroads, possibly a result of the cold winter, was reported to Wiltshire County Council by a member of the public three weeks earlier and inspected.
Patricia Couling said the hole was so big she thought her wheels would fall off when she hit it in her car.
But under the criteria used by the council it was 0.2in (5mm) too shallow and not wide enough to be repaired within seven days, the hearing in Salisbury was told.
Mr Allen suffered severe head injuries when he collided with the lorry about eight miles from his home in Burbage, Wiltshire, the inquest was told.
The driver of the lorry, Stephen Wall, said in a statement read to the hearing that he had delivered goods to Amesbury and he was heading back to his company depot, Robert Wiseman Dairies Ltd, in Droitwich, Worcestershire.
Copyright © Press Association 2010
Jo Darlington at Law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “This tragic accident could have been avoided if the large pothole had been filled in when it was inspected. Whilst it is a difficult balancing exercise for the Local Authority to try with a limited budget to deal with all repairs such a large pothole on an A road clearly was an accident waiting to happen. Lessons should be learned as a result of this sad case.