A Fresh Perspective on Road Safety: Lessons from an Inexcusable Oversight

A tragic incident has shed light on the need for improved road safety measures and the responsibilities of local authorities. Last January, Harry Colledge, an 84-year-old cyclist, lost his life after colliding with a pothole that had been visible on Google Street View for an astounding 14 years. The recent Lancashire area coroner’s inquest into Colledge’s death has delivered a scathing verdict, putting Lancashire County Council under the spotlight for its blatant disregard for warnings and its failure to address the dangerous crack on Island Lane near Winmarleigh.

The coroner, Kate Bisset, criticized the council for its negligence, asserting that had they heeded the warnings and repaired the 87-meter-long crack, Colledge would likely still be alive today. In response to the council’s claim that the crack had miraculously closed up before inspection, Bisset dismissed their explanation as “logic defying.” She expressed her deep skepticism towards the council’s position, emphasizing that it has eroded public confidence in their ability to effect meaningful change.

The inquest was presented with shocking photographs of the crack, revealing its size—large enough to conceal a man’s hands. Bisset astutely deduced that the defect depicted in the photographs was indeed the same one involved in the tragic accident. Had the council repaired the crack, the collision would likely have been prevented, and Colledge would have been spared from losing his life.

Colledge, described as a fit and active individual by his friend Nigel Mycock, was cycling alongside him when the accident occurred. Mycock vividly recalls hearing a “sickening crunch” behind him, forever etching the tragic event in his memory.

As a result of this avoidable tragedy, Bisset intends to issue a prevention of future deaths report to address the council’s failures and ensure that similar incidents do not occur in the future.


Q: How long had the pothole been visible on Google Street View?
A: The pothole had been visible for an astonishing 14 years on Google Street View.

Q: What was the size of the crack?
A: The crack was wide enough to conceal a man’s hands, as revealed in photographs presented during the inquest.

Q: Did the council claim the crack had closed up before inspection?
A: Yes, the council claimed that the crack must have closed up before inspection, which the coroner deemed “logic defying.”

Q: What type of report will the coroner issue?
A: The coroner intends to issue a prevention of future deaths report to address the council’s failures and prevent similar incidents in the future.