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Family Calls For Lessons To Be Learned After Inquest Into Cyclist’s Road Death

Jury Finds Death Of 83-Year-Old Roger Hamer Probably Caused By Pothole


James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

The daughter of a cyclist who died at Salford Royal Hospital a month after a cycling accident has called for lessons to be learned after the inquest into his death highlighted inconsistencies and areas for improvement by Bury Council.

Roger Hamer, from Bury, died aged 83 on April 2, 2016 after sustaining a serious brain injury in a cycle accident on March 5.

The jury at a three-day inquest into the father-of-two’s death, held at TOPS Business Centre, 22 Hind Hill Street, Heywood, concluded that it is probable that Mr Hamer’s bicycle struck a defect on Bury New Road causing him to fall and strike his head on the carriageway causing a traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures.

A defect which was found to have a depth of around 50mm at the date of Roger’s accident and was identified at the inquest as ‘dangerous’ probably contributed to his fall from his bicycle.

This defect fell within an area of another pothole which had been marked for a 28 day repair.

Following Roger’s death, his daughter Ruth Topping, 53, instructed specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death and help her, and the rest of the family, determine what caused it and whether it could have been prevented.

Catherine James, a serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Ruth, said: “The family have been awaiting the outcome of the inquest for a long time and are relieved to have some answers at last. It has been their wish that lessons can be learned from Roger’s death.

“This inquest has highlighted just how important it is that procedures are in place for local authorities to ensure roads are maintained to a good, and, more importantly, a safe standard.

“Cyclists need to be taken into consideration when assessing the risks posed by defects in the road, as we have sadly seen; the impact of those defects can be fatal.”

On the day of the accident, Roger, who was a keen walker and cyclist, was cycling into Ramsbottom at about midday, to buy wine and chocolates for Mother’s Day. While travelling he was thrown from his bike on the Bury New Road.

While the jury concluded that guidelines were followed, a number of areas for improvement were highlighted, including the lack of photographic evidence of the road prior to the accident and inconsistencies with the application of some procedures. A lack of thorough training regimes and processes were also identified by the jury.

Ruth, the eldest of Roger’s two children, said: “While nothing can bring my Dad back, my family hope that those issues which have been highlighted can ensure that other lives can be spared.

“It will forever be a source of great distress that, if things had been done differently, Dad’s death could have potentially been prevented, but our only hope as a family now is that lessons can be learned by the local authority so others can be better protected.

“I do not want any other family to suffer like we have suffered or like my father suffered - he had a horrific death."