Ralph Brazier inquest: Coroner urges Surrey council action

Image source, Surrey Police
Image caption, Ralph Brazier died after he was thrown from his bike when it hit the pothole

The death of a cyclist after he hit a pothole has led a coroner to urge Surrey County Council to look at how it rates the severity of road defects.

Ralph Brazier, 52, was thrown from his bike in Weybridge on 1 March last year.

At his inquest, coroner Christopher Sutton-Mattocks said he would also be writing a Regulation 28 Report, which sets out aims to prevent future deaths.

He recorded a narrative verdict, saying Mr Brazier died as a result of injuries sustained in a road accident.

Jason Russell, who is in charge of Surrey County Council's highways, said: "This was a tragic incident and our thoughts remain with Mr Brazier's family at this distressing time."

Image caption, The pothole was to the side of a drain cover on the A317 Weybridge Road

The married father-of-three, from Thames Ditton, had been on a group ride with members of Twickenham Cycling Club when he rode into an 11cm (4 inches) deep pothole which was partially filled with water to the side of a collapsing drain cover.

He died on the A317 Weybridge Road as a result of injuries sustained to his spine.

During the four-day inquest in Woking, the coroner heard how the pothole had been temporarily repaired at the end of January, with a more permanent repair carried out on 12 February by the construction group, Kier, on behalf of Surrey County Council.

However, this repair was ineffective and a further repair was deemed necessary on 25 February, with a date scheduled for 2 March, the day after Mr Brazier died.

Kier has not commented to the BBC.

Image caption, Flowers and tributes to Ralph Brazier mark the first anniversary of his death

In a statement, Mr Brazier's family said: "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."

Dr Darren James Austin, who was cycling with Mr Brazier, added: "Councils have a duty to all road users, and that includes cyclists, and it's just a tragic loss of life."

Twickenham Cycling Club said: "It was a tragic accident and we were tremendously saddened that Ralph lost his life that evening and our hearts go out to his family."

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