Mud on the Road
18th Feb 2021
As the weather starts to improve and the daylight hours lengthen, we will all be getting back on our bikes and heading out to the countryside for some fresh air and open roads.
One hazard peculiar to cyclists is debris on the road. On country lanes, this is usually in the form of mud (or manure!) that has been deposited on to the road by the flotsam of farm machinery, or the jetsam of animals moving from one field to another.
Coming across these unexpected lumps can cause cyclists to skid, be dismounted and suffer from nasty injuries and cycle damage. This is even more so when riding at speed on open lanes.
In these circumstances, it is possible to bring a claim for personal injury. They can be difficult claims to bring, but the basics of all road traffic accidents remains the same as you would need to establish:
- that, as road user, you were owed a duty of care;
- that by failing to clean up the mess, that duty had been breached;
- that the breach caused you loss (e.g. injury, and/or damage to your vehicle); and
- that the loss caused was not too remote.
There is no legal requirement for animal owners to clean up their animals’ mess, other than dog owners. However section 161 of the Highways Act 1980, makes it an offence to deposit anything whatsoever on a highway which may injure or endanger other road users.
If you know who has put material on the highway which is likely to cause a danger to other road users, then they are liable and you potentially have a claim against them.
These are not easy claims to win, but they certainly aren’t impossible with an experienced legal team!