Cyclist injured in pothole fall

2011-09-24 00:00

AN early morning cycle ended abruptly yesterday for one of Pietermaritzburg’s top cyclists. After hitting a pothole on Hoosen Haffajee Street he suffered a fractured shoulder and injured back, his ear needed eight stitches and he had bloodied grazes all over his face.

Paul Lancaster has been cycling for 15 years and won the master’s category in the Hill2Hill cycling race last weekend.

He caught his front wheel on what he calls the pothole’s “sharp lip” and flipped over his handlebars, falling on his face into the tar. “The momentum just throws you straight over.”

He described the incident as minor, but cycling companion Con Malherbe said, “He went down like a ton of bricks,” and described the fall as a “huge impact”.

It was so loud that Kay Ngcobo, a resident in the street, came out to investigate. “I was sleeping when I heard the noise and saw [Lancaster] lying there.” Ngcobo took him water to wash his face, which had “blood running out”, said Ngcobo.

It is not the first time the pothole has ruined Ngcobo’s slumber. Over the past five months it has gotten bigger and he hears “the noise every day and every night” as motorists drive over the hole. He has started filling the hole to avoid the nuisance.

Trevor Rowe, another cyclist riding with Lancaster, said the pothole plague is “ridiculous”. Watching Lancaster fall “was scary”, he said, as his “face just planted in the tar”.

A battered Lancaster said “my back is buggered”, but did not want to make a fuss about the accident.

However, he said it’s not a very good sign for the city ahead of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Masters World Champs next year. He thought sharing his story would be valuable if it helped other cyclists and put some pressure on the municipality to fix the roads.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Brian Zuma said: “We have a programme that we are busy with to sort out the roads. It has already been implemented to cope with the impending rainy season.”

The offending pothole was difficult to find because there is one every few metres along Hoosen Haffajee Street. Weekend Witness counted half-a-dozen on a short stretch between traffic lights.

He may be bruised and limping and with a crushed cellphone, but Lancaster is not overly bothered with his bad luck. He already has a steel plate and two pins in his hip, which he broke two years ago, but not in a pothole mishap.

He plans to get back in the saddle tomorrow, but his wife Bev thinks he should rest.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.