‘Dangerous’ Shoreham pothole leaves cyclist with a broken arm

An experienced cyclist has broken his arm after swerving to avoid a ‘huge’ and ‘very dangerous’ pothole in the path at the Shoreham Toll Bridge.

Geoff Pike, 55, is ‘annoyed’ that no signs had been put in place to warn of the hole – despite the fact that it had previously been reported to West Sussex County Council.

The pothole, photo taken on April 16 by Malcolm Bull

The pothole, photo taken on April 16 by Malcolm Bull

He believes signs could have prevented his injury, which has left him unlikely to take part in the triatholon he was training towards as part of the Multisport World Championships Festival in Denmark this July.

“That’s the most disappointing thing,” he said.

Mr Pike had been cycling from his home in Hove to Steyning with three others when he came to the bridge at around 8.30am on Sunday (April 8).

As he approached the west end of the bridge in the wet conditions, he realised too late that the pothole was there.

This photo of the pothole was taken by Geoff Pike the day after it caused him to come off his bike and break his arm (Tuesday, April 10).

This photo of the pothole was taken by Geoff Pike the day after it caused him to come off his bike and break his arm (Tuesday, April 10).

Swerving to avoid it, he slipped and landed on his elbow.

Mr Pike, who has cycled 5,000 miles a year for the last two years and set up a group on social media – Brighton Bike Ride Buddying – to arrange group cycling trips for local people, said the accident was ‘a shock’.

He was taken to hospital to be operated on but returned to Shoreham on Tuesday to take some photographs of the hole.

“I was quite shocked at how big it was,” he said. “I feel a bit aggrieved by the situation.

Resident Malcolm Bull took this photo of the pothole on Thursday, April 12

Resident Malcolm Bull took this photo of the pothole on Thursday, April 12

“The hole should definitely have had bollards or a sign in front of it, probably on both sides.”

A passerby told Mr Pike that, while the hole had been filled with tarmac several weeks ago, he had contacted the county council after it began to sink again.

Mr Pike said: “That made me feel doubly annoyed, they had been aware of it and yet it was still there.

“I don’t expect them to have filled it straight away, but I expect some warning signs, something that tells you of an impending danger.

The pothole had rapidly grown in size by Monday, April 16, as shown in this photo by Malcolm Bull

The pothole had rapidly grown in size by Monday, April 16, as shown in this photo by Malcolm Bull

“It was a nasty hole and was obviously changing quite fast.”

Mr Pike, who works in consultancy, said his arm was improving, but it would be three months until he regained full functionality – causing much ‘inconvenience and interruption’ to his life.

In the days following Mr Pike's accident, the pothole grew rapidly in size - as shown by photos taken by resident Malcolm Bull.

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “We are concerned to hear of any accident, particularly when someone is injured, and we wish the gentleman a speedy recovery.

“Whilst we are unable to comment on individual incidents, the issue with this area of road appeared at first to be a pothole and quickly developed into a larger area of subsidence, which we are tackling as a matter of urgency.”

The Shoreham Toll Bridge was closed on Wednesday afternoon for emergency works to fix the hole.

The pothole, photo taken by April 18 by Malcolm Bull

The pothole, photo taken by April 18 by Malcolm Bull

The council spokesman said ‘some subsidence was found on the adjoining approach road to the west’, adding: “Emergency works have been arranged to rectify the problem as soon as possible.

“We apologise for the inconvenience and realise, due to other works in the area, there is no convenient local alternative route.

“We will try to get the work done as soon as possible and will update people with a timescale as soon as we can.

“The timber structure, including the memorial to those who died in the Shoreham air disaster, will not be affected.”

UPDATE: Shoreham bridge to be temporarily reopened