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Family grateful of Coroner's conclusion into death of cyclist who hit pothole

Coroner concludes that cyclist died after hitting pothole, promises a 'prevention of future deaths' report with recommendations to Surrey County Council

Ralph Brazier

3 March 2017

The family of a man who died after hitting a pothole while cycling in Surrey have said they are grateful to Coroner Mr Sutton-Mattocks QC, following his conclusion into the death of Ralph Brazier.

Mr Brazier, a 52-year-old father of three from Thames Ditton, died on 1st March 2016. An inquest into his death was held at Woking Coroner’s Court over 4 days between 20th February and 2nd March 2017.

Ralph was a keen cyclist and had been out cycling on a group ride with members of Twickenham Cycling Club when he rode into a hole which was partially filled with water to the side of a collapsing drain cover.

He died at the scene of the incident as a result of injuries sustained to his spine. Ralph has been described as an “inspiration” by his family and fellow cyclists. He raised thousands of pounds for children’s and cancer charities through sponsored cycling events.

The inquest concluded on 2 March 2017 that Mr Brazier’s death was due to injuries he sustained in the incident on the A317 at Weybridge when his front wheel went into the 11cm deep pothole, causing him to be thrown violently forwards from his bicycle.

In addition, Mr Sutton-Mattocks QC noted Surrey County Council’s policy of assessing risk of defects in a cycle lane differently to how they assess defects on the main carriageway is illogical and will be making a ‘prevention of future deaths’ report with recommendations to Surrey County Council and all relevant highway authorities to remedy that situation.

Ralph’s family said: “We are very grateful to the coroner for such a thorough investigation into Ralph’s death. While nothing can bring Ralph back at least we now feel we have some answers to the many questions we had about how he died.

“We hope that the Coroner’s conclusion will provoke effective action from local councils to ensure that their roads are safe for everyone, including passionate cyclists like Ralph.”

Mr Brazier’s family were represented by Grant Incles, a partner in law firm Leigh Day’s cycling injuries team, at the inquest.

Mr Incles said: “Some of the evidence heard at this inquest would cause considerable concern to vulnerable road users. Through his investigation the Coroner has identified an issue which affects cyclists all too often.

"It is hoped his recommendations to Surrey County Council will mean that they and councils all over the UK take meaningful action to protect all vulnerable road users, and in particular the growing body of people using the roads to ride bikes for sport, leisure and just to get from A to B.

"For far too long the prevailing attitude has been that roads are for 4-wheeled motor vehicles and risk-assessed on that basis. This has got to change and we just hope this case will help to do that.”

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