A man who was badly injured after hitting a pothole on his bicycle says the Council have been “obstructive” and refused him support.
William Bullock, 27, was left with facial deformities and suspected post traumatic stress disorder after the accident in 2021. But he said that when he approached Bath and North East Somerset Council’s social care team for support, they were “obstructive” and just denied liability.
Two years on, Mr Bullock still deals with flashbacks, daily pain, and has trouble eating. He is now considering taking the local authority to court.
He had been cycling down Moorfields Road in Bath on 20th April 2021 when he hit a deep pothole as he moved to avoid the door zone of a parked car. He said: “My wheel struck the pothole and I got knocked out and, the next thing I know, I was in an ambulance.”
The impact saw him fracture both cheeks and eye sockets, and his nose in places. He lost six teeth and had to have plates in his jaw for three months. He is still in daily pain from his injuries and has been referred for a PTSD and eating disorder diagnosis. He said: “I live with these flashbacks all the time.”
Mr Bullock used to cycle regularly, travelling by bicycle from his home in Bath to Radstock for boxing. He said: “I was as fit as anyone. Now I can’t eat.”
Mr Bullock wants the council to provide him with a bus pass and with social care, but he said: “The people in charge of social care have been nothing but obstructive.”
He first reached out to the council’s social care team days after the incident. He said: “Because I had massive trauma, I was ringing them asking for help. And straight away it was legal, legal, legal. […] There was no help offered whatsoever.”
He said: “People should not be treated this way.”
He said he wanted to feel supported by his local council, but said: “Instead, it just feels like me against them and its not right. Those are people that are providing a service to me.”
Mr Bullock told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he wanted to put a message out, stating: “I’d like people to know how they’d get treated if they did have an accident in a pothole.”
He said: “In a pothole incident, the amount of evidence they would need is unbelievable. […] It’s not right when someone nearly dies.”
He said the council had claimed that the pothole in question was 3cm deep, meaning it was under the 4cm threshold to require council action. But Mr Bullock said that measuring the pothole showed it was clearly closer to 5cm.
He added that the council must have known the state of the roads was dire, as there were potholes all across the area. He said: “It was preventable.”
The road was later resurfaced in 2022.
Mr Bullock said he was now considering legal action in order to get the support he needs from the council, but feared taking the stand would be traumatic.
He said: “It’s going to destroy me even more.”
The council’s cabinet member for highways, Manda Rigby, said: “I am very sorry to hear Mr Bullock has suffered an injury and hope he makes a full recovery soon. All incidents of this type are taken seriously and logged. However this is an ongoing legal matter and so we are unable to comment.
“Maintaining the highway network in a good condition is a priority for Bath & North East Somerset Council and in 2023/24, we invested £2m funding in addition to the grant received from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) for maintenance.
“Our highways team routinely inspect Moorfields Road twice a year to identify any safety defects. We carry out repairs on any defects where our intervention levels are met.
LDRS, John Wimperis