Triathlete died when bicycle hit flooded pothole weeks after workman repaired wrong road

A triathlete died when she crashed her bicycle into a pothole which wasn’t repaired because a bungling workman couldn’t find the correct road on his sat-nav.

Kate Vanloo, 52, was riding with a friend when she cycled into the flooded 10cm deep hole and was thrown into the road on January 3, 2016.

The mother-of-three, who completed a 950-mile charity cycle ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End, was killed after being struck by a car near her home in Napton, Warks.

A report has revealed the road where Mrs Vanloo died was supposed to have been resurfaced on November 2, 2015 – two months before the tragedy.

But the person tasked with carrying out the repair works from CR MacDonald Limited could not locate the pothole – despite having GPS co-ordinates, two maps and a photograph of the hole showing a nearby farm as a point of reference.

They had been given the official street name but could not locate it using a sat-nav.

The person who was supposed to carry out the repair instead filled in a pothole on a different road some three miles away.

The worker amended the paperwork to state the different road had been repaired but did not tell anyone at the company.

At her inquest, the coroner said a deficiency in CR MacDonald Limited’s system led to the wrong information being sent to Balfour Beatty and Warwickshire County Council.

This led both organisations to believe that the pothole on Holt Road had been repaired months before the crash.

The inquest heard the error was not picked up by any of those responsible for the road repair until after Mrs Vanloo’s death.

The coroner returned a narrative verdict following the inquest on September 28 last year.

Following the inquest, A Prevention of Future Deaths (PFD) report was ordered by John Buckley, Assistant Coroner for Warwickshire, which has just been made public.

In it, Mr Buckley urged Warwickshire Country Council to “take urgent action” to track the progress of pothole repairs to prevent future tragedies.

In responding to the report, Mrs Vanloo’s family said in a statement: “Kate died doing something that became her passion in life, she was aware of the risks, but she believed that life should be lived to the full and she lived and died doing just that.

“We at least now have more answers to our questions relating to the circumstances of Kate’s death that we can, in time, share with her children, to help them understand what led to their mother’s death.

“It is crucial that those responsible for maintaining the roads make sure that they are fit for purpose, for all road users, but specifically cyclists as its popularity continues to increase each year.

“We hope that Warwickshire County Council, and all local councils across the UK, will take the issue of potholes more seriously and make repairs a priority to ensure that everyone can use the roads safely.”

Bethany Sanders, associate solicitor from law firm Leigh Day’s cycling team, represented Mrs Vanloo’s family, said: “We will now be investigating further legal action against the council as the body responsible for repairing the road.

“Potholes pose a danger to all those who use the roads, particularly cyclists, and we urge the Government to recognise this danger and revise their guidance to ensure that councils have effective and efficient systems in place to complete repairs swiftly.”

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