Widow of Cyclist to Sue Over Pothole Death

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 3 » Widow of Cyclist to Sue Over Pothole DeathWidow of Cyclist to Sue Over Pothole DeathThe widow of a man who died after hitting a pothole while on a charity bike ride has revealed her intention to sue a local council responsible for the road’s upkeep.Martyn Uzzell, 51, from Clevedon, was on a charity bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats when he began travelling along the A65 in Giggleswick, North Yorkshire. Although he had managed to make good time up until that point, Mr Uzzell, who was travelling with two friends, accidentally hit a pothole on a road.This sent him off balance and he veered to the other side of the road where he hit another car, which killed him instantly. The driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident has not been blamed and it is believed it would not have been possible for him to avoid the cyclist, reports the BBC.Magistrates Court hearingEarlier this month, a Skipton Magistrates’ Court hearing concluded that Mr Uzzell died from head injuries resulting from a road traffic collision. However, coroner Rob Turnbull also recorded that there was “no doubt whatsoever that the condition of the road on that occasion was the cause”.Prior to the bicycle accident, a police officer travelling along the A65 told the local council there was a pothole in the road, but the message was not passed on to the proper authorities and was not acted upon.Furthermore, the A65 had been inspected by the council and before Mr Uzzell was killed, it was noted that there was a “defect” along the road that needed to be fixed within 30 days.However, despite claims that North Yorkshire County Council did not do enough to keep road users safe, a review by the Crown Prosecution Service has concluded that no charges of corporate manslaughter should be brought.”Totally preventable”Speaking to reporters, Kate Uzzell, Martyn’s widow, said, “I’m very angry because it was totally preventable. They had been warned, they had inspected and they still did nothing, it’s just appalling.”[Taking civil Court action was] not what I wanted to do, [but] I wanted there to be a prosecution and for them to stand up and be counted for what they didn’t do.”It is unclear when Mrs Uzzell’s lawsuit will be heard by a civil Court, but any compensation settlement arranged to finalise the case is likely to be above six figures, so serious are the allegations in question.Pothole compensationPotholes remain a common source of grievance for many drivers and cyclists and while cases like Mr Uzzell’s are rare, councils are increasingly being forced to pay compensation to those injured in accidents caused by poor road maintenance.A Freedom of Information request published last year showed that there was a 79 per cent increase in the number of compensation claims submitted compared to 2012.Breakdown service Britannia Rescue found that almost one in ten drivers in the UK suffered car damage as a result of a pothole, although only a minority sustained injuries from their accident.By Chris StevensonOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Eat spinach or eggs for faster reflexes: Tyrosine helps you stop faster

A child suddenly runs out into the road. Brake!! A driver who has recently eaten spinach or eggs will stop faster, thanks to the amino acid tyrosine found in these and other food products. Leiden cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato publishes her findings in the journal Neuropsychologia.The German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach has already said it: Der Mensch ist was er iβt. You are what you eat. Substances that we ingest through our food can determine our behaviour and the way we experience our environment. Researchers at Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam have carried out the first-ever study to test whether the intake of tyrosine enhances our ability to stop an activity at lightning speed. The findings seem to indicate that this is the case.Stopping taskColzato and her colleagues created a situation in which test candidates had to interrupt a repetitive activity at a given instant. The researchers tested this using a stopping task: the participants were told to look carefully at a computer screen. Whenever a green arrow appeared, they had to press a button as quickly as possible. …

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Knowing What Causes Motorcycle Accidents Could Save Your Life

Whether you are an experienced rider or are considering your first motorcycle, educating yourself about motorcycle safety is a must. Generally speaking, motorcycles are significantly more dangerous than passenger cars and light trucks. Consider the following statistics:According to the Department of Transportation, motorcycle operators are involved in deadly accidents 35 times more than those driving cars or trucks. More than half of motorcycle crashes resulting in a fatality involved at least one other vehicle. The remaining crashes did not involve other vehicles, but instead involved encounters with obstructed roadways, collisions with fixed objects, or other dangers. Of those motorcycle operators who died in a crash, about half were speeding while just over 40% had blood-alcohol concentrations above the legal limit. Common Crash CausesWhile motorcycle accidents statistics are sobering, the story doesn’t end there. Motorcycles lack many of the safety features that cars and light trucks have. In addition to having open cabins and no seat belts or driver restraints, motorcycles are also significantly smaller than other vehicles. Their size is a significant safety factor because other drivers often fail to see them on the road. …

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Valentine’s Day advice: Don’t let rocky past relations with parents spoil your romance

University of Alberta relationship researcher Matt Johnson has some Valentine’s Day advice for anybody who’s had rocky relations with their parents while growing up: don’t let it spill over into your current romantic partnership.The love between parents and teens — however stormy or peaceful — may influence whether those children are successful in romance, even up to 15 years later, according to a new U of A study co-authored by Johnson, whose work explores the complexities of the romantic ties that bind.Being aware of that connection may save a lot of heartache down the road, according to Johnson, who reviewed existing data that was gathered in the United States over a span of 15 years.The findings, which appear in the February issue of Journal of Marriage and Family, uncovered a “small but important link between parent-adolescent relationship quality and intimate relationships 15 years later,” Johnson said. “The effects can be long-lasting.”While their analysis showed, perhaps not surprisingly, that good parent-teen relationships resulted in slightly higher quality of romantic relationships for those grown children years later, it poses a lesson in self-awareness when nurturing an intimate bond with a partner, Johnson said.”People tend to compartmentalize their relationships; they tend not to see the connection between one kind, such as family relations, and another, like couple unions. But understanding your contribution to the relationship with your parents would be important to recognizing any tendency to replicate behaviour — positive or negative — in an intimate relationship.”That doesn’t mean parents should be blamed for what might be wrong in a grown child’s relationship, Johnson added. “It is important to recognize everyone has a role to play in creating a healthy relationship, and each person needs to take responsibility for their contribution to that dynamic.”The results were gleaned from survey-based information from 2,970 people who were interviewed at three stages of life from adolescence to young adulthood, spanning ages 12 to 32.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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As the temperature drops, risk of fracture rises

Record-setting winter weather in the U.S. has led to lots of road condition advisories, but could there also be a slip and fall alert?By analyzing various conditions — like snow, wind speed, temperature — into a ‘Slipperiness Score,’ a University of Michigan Health System study helps identify what days are the most risky for slip and fall injuries.The study, published in February’s Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal, focuses on Medicare patients, all over age 65, but authors note, the risk of falling exists for anyone during harsh winter weather.”Although the concept that slippery footing increases your risk of falling isn’t new, what we’ve been able to show is that these dangerous conditions result in more fractures in this already vulnerable population of adults,” says lead study author Aviram Giladi, M.D., a resident in the U-M Department of Surgery’s Division of Plastic Surgery.The study findings include:Based on a scale, ranging from 0 to 7, on a day with a score above 4 the risk of sustaining a wrist fracture increased by 21 percent. On the most slippery days, that additional risk went up to nearly 40 percent. In the winter, over 1,000 additional wrist fractures occurred among adults age 65 and older compared to other seasons. Nearly 90,000 Medicare enrollees sustain wrist fractures each year, frequently from falls while standing and usually outdoors. The fractures can be quite limiting, and lead to a loss of independence for older patients. Medicare spends more than $240 million a year treating the injuries.”Understanding the risk of these injuries can help inform prevention and preparation efforts, especially on days where the weather is bound to result in more slippery conditions,” says senior study author Kevin C. Chung, M.D., professor of plastic surgery and orthopedic surgery and the Charles B. G. de Nancrede Professor of Surgery. …

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As the temperature drops, your risk of fracture rises

Record-setting winter weather in the U.S. has led to lots of road condition advisories, but could there also be a slip and fall alert?By analyzing various conditions — like snow, wind speed, temperature — into a ‘Slipperiness Score,’ a University of Michigan Health System study helps identify what days are the most risky for slip and fall injuries.The study, published in February’s Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal, focuses on Medicare patients, all over age 65, but authors note, the risk of falling exists for anyone during harsh winter weather.”Although the concept that slippery footing increases your risk of falling isn’t new, what we’ve been able to show is that these dangerous conditions result in more fractures in this already vulnerable population of adults,” says lead study author Aviram Giladi, M.D., a resident in the U-M Department of Surgery’s Division of Plastic Surgery.The study findings include:Based on a scale, ranging from 0 to 7, on a day with a score above 4 the risk of sustaining a wrist fracture increased by 21 percent. On the most slippery days, that additional risk went up to nearly 40 percent. In the winter, over 1,000 additional wrist fractures occurred among adults age 65 and older compared to other seasons. Nearly 90,000 Medicare enrollees sustain wrist fractures each year, frequently from falls while standing and usually outdoors. The fractures can be quite limiting, and lead to a loss of independence for older patients. Medicare spends more than $240 million a year treating the injuries.”Understanding the risk of these injuries can help inform prevention and preparation efforts, especially on days where the weather is bound to result in more slippery conditions,” says senior study author Kevin C. Chung, M.D., professor of plastic surgery and orthopedic surgery and the Charles B. G. de Nancrede Professor of Surgery. …

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Pedestrians trip over ‘optical illusion’ pavement

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2013 » 10 » Pedestrians trip over ‘optical illusion’ pavementPedestrians trip over ‘optical illusion’ pavementAs many as 20 pedestrians have sought medical treatment in Pontypridd, south Wales, after a re-tiled high street tricked walkers’ eyesight.While at certain angles it is obvious there is a kerb in the road, some people in the town have complained the drop from pavement to road is essentially invisible from some perspectives.This has caused a number of falls and Morfydd Jenkins, a local resident, aged 75, was among victims of the poorly planned regeneration project and has suffered extensive facial injuries resulting from her town centre tumble.A spokesperson for Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, which maintains the street and manages construction in the town, told Metro newspaper: “Throughout the town, improvements have been made removing clutter from the street, introducing more accessible floor surfaces and introducing flat surfaces where possible which greatly assists those with mobility issues.”It is unclear if the tiling, which is part of a £10.5 million improvement project, will be removed or reworked.By Francesca WitneyOr call us on 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Trust thy neighbor: During times of community change, familiar sources of information feel more trustworthy

Aug. 7, 2013 — Increases in population size may lead to a breakdown in social trust, according to Jordan Smith from North Carolina State University in the US. As local populations grow, local elected officials and national news media become less trusted, compared with friends and family, local churches and civic institutions. This ‘trust deficit’ has implications for long-term environmental and community planning.Smith’s study is published online in Springer’s journal Human Ecology.Smith studied three southern Appalachian mining communities during a period of change, amid growing controversy over the expansion of amenity-based industries (such as tourism and recreation areas), as well as its impact on both the environment and local communities. The expansion of these industries inevitably leads to rapid increases in population.Smith was particularly interested in the levels of social trust within these communities where conflict is likely to exist between long-term residents who tend to be more concerned about ‘their’ community, and incoming residents who are more transitory and less vested in community affairs.All three communities have transitioned from a natural resource-based economy to a service economy, demonstrated by a steady decline in natural resource-related jobs and a dramatic increase in the types of employment associated with amenity-based communities. This steep rise in population has inevitably changed how residents interact and communicate with one another.By and large, residents in each of the three communities tended to trust the information they received from immediate family members, churches, close friends, and local newspapers more than information coming from other sources. The least trusted information comes from elected officials, national television news, online news sources and co-workers.The analyses also suggest that population density itself is not related to the structure of information networks or the level of trust or distrust within them.Smith concludes: “As resource-dependent communities continue to grow, residents will increasingly look for familiar faces when trying to get information. This in effect reaffirms already held attitudes and beliefs. Conflicts associated with amenity transition are more likely to arise because of conflicting values and ideologies, rather than social structural changes in the community. The road ahead for environmental and community planners is likely to be difficult as they attempt to accommodate greater and greater numbers of amenity migrants.”

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Listening to music while driving has very little effect on driving performance, study suggests

June 6, 2013 — Most drivers enjoy listening to the radio or their favourite CD while driving. Many of them switch on the radio without thinking. But is this safe? Experiments carried out by environment and traffic psychologist Ayça Berfu Ünal suggest that it makes very little difference. In fact the effects that were measured turned out to be positive. Music helps drivers to focus, particularly on long, monotonous roads. Ünal will be awarded a PhD by the University of Groningen on 10 June 2013.Experienced motorists between 25 and 35 years of age are perfectly capable of focusing on the road while listening to music or the radio, even when driving in busy urban traffic. Ünal makes short shrift of the commonly held idea that motorists who listen to music drive too fast or ignore the traffic regulations. Ünal: ‘I found nothing to support this view in my research. On the contrary, our test subjects enjoyed listening to the music and did their utmost to be responsible drivers. …

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Lightest exoplanet to be directly observed so far? Faint object moves near bright star

June 3, 2013 — A team of astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope has imaged a faint object moving near a bright star. With an estimated mass of four to five times that of Jupiter, it would be the least massive planet to be directly observed outside the Solar System. The discovery is an important contribution to our understanding of the formation and evolution of planetary systems.Although nearly a thousand exoplanets have been detected indirectly — most using the radial velocity or transit methods [1] — and many more candidates await confirmation, only a dozen exoplanets have been directly imaged. Nine years after ESO’s Very Large Telescope captured the first image of an exoplanet, the planetary companion to the brown dwarf 2M1207, the same team has caught on camera what is probably the lightest of these objects so far [2][3].”Direct imaging of planets is an extremely challenging technique that requires the most advanced instruments, whether ground-based or in space,” says Julien Rameau (Institut de Planetologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble, France), first author of the paper announcing the discovery. “Only a few planets have been directly observed so far, making every single discovery an important milestone on the road to understanding giant planets and how they form.”In the new observations, the likely planet appears as a faint but clear dot close to the star HD 95086. A later observation also showed that it was slowly moving along with the star across the sky. This suggests that the object, which has been designated HD 95086 b, is in orbit around the star. Its brightness also indicates that it has a predicted mass of only four to five times that of Jupiter.The team used NACO, the adaptive optics instrument mounted on one of the 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). This instrument allows astronomers to remove most of the blurring effects of the atmosphere and obtain very sharp images. The observations were made using infrared light and a technique called differential imaging, which improves the contrast between the planet and dazzling host star.The newly discovered planet orbits the young star HD 95086 at a distance of around 56 times the distance from Earth to the Sun, twice the Sun-Neptune distance. …

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Marathon runners may be at risk for incontinence

Oct. 4, 2012 — While many marathon runners may be preoccupied with shin splints, chafing and blisters come race day, one thing they may not consider is their bladder health.

“The added stress on the body that comes with running a marathon can cause urinary stress incontinence problems during the race or down the road,” said Melinda Abernethy, MD, fellow, Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “People who already suffer from incontinence also are at risk for bladder-control issues while running.”

Urinary stress incontinence is the loss of urine from physical activity such as coughing, sneezing and running. It is the most common form of incontinence, which impacts women more often than men.

Researchers from Loyola University Health System will partner with the Chicago Area Runners Association to study the relationship between long-distance running and pelvic floor disorders.

“This study will help us to better understand the link between endurance running and pelvic floor disorders including incontinence,” Dr. Abernethy said.

Until we know more, Dr. Abernethy recommends that runners should monitor their fluid intake and go to the bathroom at least every few hours during a marathon.

“Putting off going to the bathroom during the race is not healthy for your bladder,” Dr. Abernethy said. “Runners also should avoid diuretics, such as coffee or tea, before the race, because this can stimulate the bladder and cause you to visit the bathroom more frequently.”

Dr. Abernethy adds that pelvic floor exercises such as kegels, may help runners prevent urine leakage during the race. However, runners should speak with their doctor, if they experience bladder-control problems during or after the marathon.

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Driving and hands-free talking lead to spike in errors

May 24, 2013 — Talking on a hands-free device while behind the wheel can lead to a sharp increase in errors that could imperil other drivers on the road, according to new research from the University of Alberta.

A pilot study by Yagesh Bhambhani, a professor in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, and his graduate student Mayank Rehani, showed that drivers who talk using a hands-free cellular device made significantly more driving errors — such as crossing the centre line, speeding and changing lanes without signalling — compared with just driving alone. The jump in errors also corresponded with a spike in heart rate and brain activity.

“It is commonplace knowledge, but for some reason it is not getting into the public conscience that the safest thing to do while driving is to focus on the road,” said Rehani, who completed the research for his master’s thesis in rehabilitation science at the U of A.

The researchers became interested in the topic in 2009 shortly after Alberta introduced legislation that banned the use of handheld cellphones while driving but not hands-free devices. In this study, they used near infrared spectroscopy to study the brain activity of 26 participants who completed a driving course using the Virage VS500M driving simulator at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.

Near infrared spectroscopy is a non-invasive optical technique that allows researchers to examine real-time changes in brain activity in the left prefrontal lobe. Participants were first tested in a control condition, using the simulator to drive in city street conditions using no telecommunications device. They were tested again while talking on a hands-free device during two-minute conversations that avoided emotionally charged topics.

The research team found there was a significant increase in brain activity while talking on a hands-free device compared with the control condition. A majority of participants showed a significant increase in oxyhemoglobin in the brain, with a simultaneous drop in deoxyhemoglobin — a sign of enhanced neuronal activation during hands-free telecommunication.

“The findings also indicated that blood flow to the brain is significantly increased during hands-free telecommunication in order to meet the oxygen demands of the neurons under the ‘distracted’ condition,” said Bhambhani.

He added the results did not reveal a significant relationship between enhanced neuronal activation and the increase in the number of driving errors, most likely because the near infrared spectroscopy measurements were recorded from a single site, the prefrontal lobe.

The findings are considered novel on a topic that is receiving considerable attention by policy-makers globally. Rehani’s contribution to the project earned him the 2013 Alberta Rehabilitation Award for Innovation in Rehabilitation (Student).

The researchers note this is a preliminary study and hope that it can be part of a larger body of literature that can help inform policy-makers about the safety implications of using hands-free devices while driving.

For Rehani, the work was part of rewarding academic journey at the U of A, which gave him opportunities to do research in a number of areas in neuroscience. He said he received outstanding support from both the faculty and colleagues at the Glenrose — including Quentin Ranson, the occupational therapist and rehabilitation technology lead who helped facilitate the simulator research.

“To have a Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, which is the only free-standing faculty of its kind in Western Canada, and to have a hospital like the Glenrose dedicated to rehabilitation, is amazing,” he said. “Both workplaces have such a collegial environment, with quality faculty and staff who are both working toward patient betterment. These institutions connect so well, it’s fantastic.”

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