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I hit an unlit skip…

Last month I was riding my bike home at night time on a fairly badly lit urban road. I was well within the speed limit when all of a sudden I spotted an unlit temporary road works set-up around 10 metres away from me on my side of the road. I had no time to brake and I tried to swerve but I ended up crashing into the roadworks skip and was catapulted from my bike. I broke my hand, arm and shoulder and I am going to be off work for a few months. Do I have a claim against the council?

Ian, Gosport


You should have a claim.  Section 139 of the Highways Act 1980 deals specifically with skips that are deposited on carriageways. It states that the relevant highway authority may impose conditions that relate to the siting of the skip, its dimensions, its colour, and lighting to make sure the skip is immediately visible to oncoming traffic. I would need to know a bit more about the other roadworks with the skip to better understand the layout and to provide advice in relation to the situation as a whole.

However, as the skip was unlit then this is indicative that it may be found to have constituted both an obstruction and a source of danger to road users.  This would be enough to succeed in negligence. I suggest you instruct a specialist lawyer who can help you with your claim.

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