A Campaign member’s bollard incident report

This article was published in 2015, in Newsletter 123.

Me with the offending bollard (and my precious bike which, unlike me, was easily fixed having suffered the total damage of two slightly bent spokes!)
Image as described adjacent

I was cycling to work about 8am on Tuesday 28 April. There were two cyclists in front of me as we approached the end of the Guided Busway as it goes under Hills Road near the station.

The two bikes ahead were side by side as they steered right to join the road section; the pathway was restricted by scaffolding and so my view of the bollard was obscured. I looked back to check there was no bus coming and hit the pillar dead on.

I sustained a badly broken collarbone and was detained in Addenbrooke’s overnight as they were concerned that it was about to become an open fracture, which would require immediate surgery.

Luckily it settled down and I was allowed home for two days and readmitted so the specialist orthopaedic specialists could fit a plate and screws on Friday, with another overnight stay.

I was in a sling for 8 weeks, and could not drive, cycle or wash and dress myself.

I live in Whittlesford and work at the Science Park, which proved a problem as there is no longer a local, commuter-friendly bus service. I was very fortunate that my employers, Cambridge Consultants, were so supportive. They allowed me to work around lifts to get into work, or work from home, and made sure I had anything that could make my working environment more comfortable.

I was told at Ben Hayward that they had heard of a number of incidents involving what they described as ‘the low bollards’ on the Busway. My experience in industry is that all near-misses, incidents and accidents should be reviewed and I felt that the council had a duty of care to accept and monitor reports of injuries.

I contacted Mr Shaun Harrison Buller, Busway team leader at the county council, and was offended by his indifference. He simply told me that the bollards had been reviewed and were deemed fit for purpose. They could not be painted but now had paint and reflective tape around base (clearly not that easy to see when there are pedestrians and bikes around). He also told me that there was no need for the cyclists in front to have steered right onto the roadway.

I was told that ‘there were not many’ reports of incidents. My response was that I was not surprised

After that I was contacted by Mr Campbell Ross-Bain and I was told that ‘there were not many’ reports of incidents. My response was that I was not surprised as Mr Harrison Buller had not asked for any of my details (address, age etc.) which would have been necessary to log a RIDDOR standard of report. (RIDDOR: Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013). If the severity of my injuries did not justify a report then it seems that someone would have to have life-threatening injuries for the incident to be registered.

My hobbies are cycling, mountaineering and rock-climbing and the accident has had significant impact on all three. I was able to return to cycling after 8 weeks but six months on the vibration still causes me pain. I do not have the OK to carry a rucksack over the broken bone and, whilst I have regained almost the full range of arm movement, I still have significant pain so my climbing is still very limited and at 49 I may not regain that ability.

I have not yet been discharged from Addenbrooke’s care. Once I am I will consider whether or not I shall take this further with the Council.

Clare Downie