Deep pothole causes fractures to face and spine

John “Jocky” Johnstone is a legend in Scottish Cycling – a well known face in road racing and time trialling, Jocky, now 80 years old, was still competing in masters and veteran events well into his seventies and still showing a clean pair of heels to men half his age.

We were so sad to hear from his daughter that he had been involved in a serious accident whilst out on a training ride with two friends near Carnwath. They had been cycling on the Edinburgh Road in April, heading into Carnwath to go to the famous Apple Pie Bakery. Just as they were nearing the village, they encountered a section of road with an extremely poor surface. Despite trying to find a path across the tarmac, Jocky hit a very deep pothole, went over his handlebars and face first into the road, sustaining fractures to his face and to his spine.

He was in hospital for 10 days and had to wear a spinal brace for 3 months.

Temporary road repairs had repeatedly failed

When Jocky’s daughter contacted us, we knew we needed to investigate the circumstances to establish if he would have a claim. We undertook a number of Freedom of Information requests to South Lanarkshire Council who were the roads authority responsible for the area. The records showed that there had been reports of road surface defects in the area being made at least as far back as 2018. The Council had repeatedly carried out temporary repairs and those temporary repairs had repeatedly failed.

We intimated a claim to the Council who initially denied responsibility for Jocky’s accident. They said that they had carried out an inspection a few weeks prior to the incident and no defects had been noted. We had to point out that their own records confirmed that there were potholes noted at this particular inspection, many times previously and also immediately prior to Jocky’s accident. Quite simply, the Council could not possibly argue that they had not been aware of the issues.

Cycle Law Scotland raise Jocky's case in court

We put all the evidence to the Council’s insurers who eventually agreed to settle Jocky’s claim. However, when presented with all the evidence on his injuries and losses, they made no proposals. Accordingly, we quickly raised his case in Court and were able to agree a settlement with the other side which represented Jocky’s injuries and losses prior to a proof hearing.

Our Award Winning Team

Brenda Mitchell - Senior Partner

Brenda Mitchell

Senior Partner

Brenda has been a Personal Injury Lawyer for over 35 years and for the last 20 years has specialised representing injured motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Jodi Gordon - Partner

Jodi Gordon


Jodi has predominantly represented cyclists involved in road traffic collisions and specialises in assisting those who have suffered very serious and complex injury.

Thomas Mitchell - Associate

Thomas Mitchell


Thomas represents clients who have been involved in road traffic incidents and he specialises in representing vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

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