Pensioner died after falling off his bike on a road ‘notorious’ for potholes
An inquest heard Roger Hamer suffered skull fractures and a severe brain injury after ‘flying over the handlebars’ of his bike
A fit and active pensioner died after falling from his bicycle and landing on his head on a road ‘notorious’ for potholes, an inquest heard.
Roger Hamer, 83, from Walmersley in Bury , was left unconscious after ‘flying over the handlebars as though he had hit something’.
Following the accident on Bury New Road, in Ramsbottom , he was taken to Salford Royal Hospital, where he died a month later.
Mr Hamer, who had not been wearing a helmet, suffered several skull fractures. The cause of his death was given as a severe brain injury.
An inquest into his death heard how residents frequently complained about the state of the road and the number of potholes.
Although no witnesses saw what caused the crash it happened at the site of a road defect previously reported to the council by Helen Wesolowski, who lived nearby.
She estimated it to be the size of a dinner plate and 8cm deep.
Mrs Wesolowski said: “The majority of residents on Bury New Road have either emailed or rang the council about the state of the road. There are potholes all over it.”
She’d reported it two weeks before the accident, which happened on March 5 last year.
A council worker came the next day and said it would be repaired, but it hadn’t been fixed by the time of the accident, the inquest heard.
A local councillor was also said to have reported the pothole January that year.
Mrs Wesolowski said on the same day as the accident a council worker came and ‘half filled the pothole’ afterwards.
Assistant Coroner Peter Sigee told a jury at North Manchester Coroners Court that they would have to consider how well Bury Council had repaired and maintained the road.
He said: “The main issues are likely to be the circumstances of Mr Hamer’s fall from the bike, the condition of that part of the road at the time and whether the condition of the road was causative of his fall.”
Susan Simpson saw Mr Hamer, of Manchester Road, come ‘flying over the handlebars’ and hit the road. Ms Simpson, a nurse, rushed to help him, but she said he was unresponsive.
She said: “There was nothing else [he could have hit] apart from the pothole. It was about a yard from where he landed.”
Mr Hamer had been cycling to the shops ahead of a family meal the following day, which was Mother’s Day.
His daughter Ruth Topping said: “He was an active man and very, very caring.
“He loved socialising and caring for the family and OAPs in the area. He would cook and bake for them.
“Everyone knew dad and he was very popular. He was very active and an adrenaline junkie.”
She said they had regularly discussed the amount of potholes on the roads and that the hospital had told her that her dad would still have died even if he had been wearing a helmet.
Mrs Topping added: “The roads, particularly Bury new Road, are notorious. In Ramsbottom we don’t talk about the weather, we talk about potholes.”
Representing Bury Council, solicitor Mark Bradley said the pothole in question was actually around 2cm deep.
Highways inspector Graham O’Connor told the inquest that only potholes 4cm or more deep were considered ‘actionable’ by the council.
The court heard that Bury New Road was inspected on a monthly basis and a recent visit had found no actionable defects on the road.
Mr O’Connor, who was responsible for Ramsbottom roads at the time, said that he also responded to between 20 to 30 pot hole complaints a day.
The inquest continues.