Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 16:55 UK

Cyclist sues ministers over crash

Bike wheel (generic)
The judge ruled that a sunken drain brought Mr Anderson off his bike

An Edinburgh cyclist has been awarded almost £6,000 in damages after suing Scottish ministers over a poorly maintained cycle path in Edinburgh.

Iain Anderson, 42, hit a sunken drain while riding through the city's Holyrood Park in August 2005.

Despite wearing a helmet, he smashed his cheekbone, which left him with facial numbness and difficulty chewing.

The judge ruled the government agency Historic Scotland was to blame for failing to construct the path properly.

Because the cycle path is maintained by Historic Scotland, which is a Scottish Executive Agency, he sued Scottish ministers.

There was nothing in the evidence as to the way Mr Anderson had been riding his bicycle in the lead up to the accident which was likely to have caused to accident
Lord Bannatyne
Court of Session in Edinburgh

At the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Friday, a judge awarded him £5,750 for the injuries.

Lord Bannatyne rejected arguments by lawyers for the Scottish ministers that there could have been other causes for the accident or that Mr Anderson might have been partly to blame.

The court heard that Mr Anderson, an actuarial analyst with Scottish Widows, remembered nothing between slowing down in case there were joggers on the cycle path, and talking to a paramedic after the accident.

But eye witnesses who were driving through the park told the court that Mr Anderson was not cycling fast or erratically and there was no-one in his way.

Car driver Anthony Dick said the cyclist took "quite a tumble."

Tough concrete

He said he saw him go head over heels over the handlebars as the bike hit something solid and stopped dead.

Lord Bannatyne heard that the cycleway, beside Queens Drive as it skirts round the Palace of Holyroodhouse, made a sudden change in direction.

The surface also changed there from smooth asphalt to tough concrete and the path was only 1.8 metres wide - less than the recommended 2.5 metres.

Mr Anderson had two good lights on his cycle but the lighting in the area was bad and there were no hazard signs to warn of the change in direction or lines to help follow the track, particularly at night.

Just after the bend in the cycle path was a sunken drain at the end of a gully.

That was what brought Mr Anderson off his bike, the judge ruled.

'Good reputation'

In his written, Lord Bannatyne said: "There was no evidence of any other possible reason for Mr Anderson's accident.

"There was nothing in the evidence as to the way Mr Anderson had been riding his bicycle in the lead up to the accident which was likely to have caused to accident."

The damages figure had been agreed before the judge heard evidence and he only had to rule on who was to blame.

An Historic Scotland spokeswoman said: "This was an unfortunate incident and we hope Mr Anderson is recovering well.

"Holyrood Park has a good reputation for health and safety.

"This is the first incident recorded in this area of the park and we are addressing the issue associated with this one."



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