Inquest into death of Surrey cyclist finds drain grate fitted wrong way

Ralph Brazier died after hitting a pothole surrounding a drain cover fitted the wrong way, an inquest into his death hears

Police tape (Getty)

The inquest into the death of a cyclist in Surrey has heard that the pothole he struck included a drain cover fitted the wrong way around, with the openings parallel with his path of travel.

Surrey County Council had inspected the road defect on February 25, just days before Brazer's incident on March 1. The 52-year-old Twickenham and Dittons Velo cycling clubs member was out cycling in the evening on Weybridge Road, Weybridge, when he hit the pothole, falling off his bike and sustaining fatal injuries.

Get Surrey reports that Martin Porter, representing Brazier's family, said that the pothole posed a 'serious risk of death' for cyclists.

“It was obviously dangerous at the time of the inspection on February 25, and in no way should it have been a matter that the council should leave in situ for five days," Porter told the inquest.

>>> Father-of-three dies after hitting unrepaired pothole in Surrey

Porter said that such a road hazard that poses a risk to road users should have been cordoned off, and has called for an review of the council's policy.

SCC's representative Julian Waters disagreed, saying that the evidence did not suggest there was an immediate danger posed by the pothole.

However, Waters did confirm that there was an issue with the grate cover, saying: "We know there was a permanent repair into fitting a grate at the wrong angle and that one side of the flange was not attached.

"It’s clearly not policy to put grates in the wrong way round, I readily accept that this is something that has to be considered."

A full inquest into the incident will be held in February.

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Nigel Wynn
Former Associate Editor

Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, an exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.