A CYCLIST has been told he may not be able to work for a year after his bike hit a “tennis ball-sized” rock on a cycle path.

Robert Lee was cycling home from work on the Ridgeway route when the accident happened, close to the end of the old Dorchester Road between Upwey and Bincombe.

Mr Lee, a senior prison officer at Dorchester Prison, said: “This is a legitimate cycle route, in fact, it’s the only way to get to Dorchester on a bike.

“The fact that the surface of the path is in such bad condition is ridiculous.”

The stretch of the cycle route, near where the Weymouth Relief Road crosses the old Dorchester Road, is used by people cycling between Weymouth and Dorchester.

Mr Lee believes the rock was one of hundreds lying at the side of the cycle path, and was swept into the centre of the route by rainwater or a passing farm vehicle.

He said: “You can’t blame the drivers. It should be the council’s responsibility to keep this safe for cyclists.”

Mr Lee, of Chickerell, dislocated his shoulder in the accident and has been left with a burn mark where his arm came into contact with the wire fence.

He added: “It was dark when I was riding home and although I have a light on my bike, I didn’t see it.

“I came flying off and landed on the fence. It really dazed me.”

A passer-by helped Mr Lee to his feet and drove him home.

The keen sportsman said he was angry with Dorset County Council’s response when he reported the incident.

He said: “They said they would send me a claims form, but it’s not about the money.

“I’ve been told it will take up to a year to heal, so I will miss out on a cycling holiday I had planned.

“What are they going to do to make sure no one else is injured?”

Mr Lee added he was aware of several other people who had had accidents in the same spot.

Dave Taton, of Weymouth, also a prison officer at Dorchester Prison, fell off his bike after hitting a stretch of gravel there in September.

He said: “I gashed my elbow quite badly, which resulted in a trip to hospital.

“They weren’t able to stitch it, so it took a couple of months to heal and it’s left a nasty scar. My bike was destroyed as well.

“I don’t think that part of the path is suitable for its purpose.”

Paul Goodwin, also a prison officer, said his accident happened in August, in almost exactly the same spot as Mr Lee’s.

He said: “I had a dislocated shoulder, the same injury as Robert, and it’s only just healed properly.

“My bike hit something in the road and I went flying over the handlebars. I reported it to the council but I felt they were quite dismissive. It could have been so much worse.”

Council aware of incident on cycle path

A SPOKESWOMAN for Dorset County Council, who are responsible for the upkeep of the roads and cycle paths, said that a team had been out to assess the safety of the route.

Emma Baker, Dorset County Council highways engineer, said: “We are aware of the incident on the cycle path and are sending some of our team out to inspect the area in question and ensure it is clear and safe for cyclists to use.

“We are sorry to hear about the incident and hope that Mr Lee recovers quickly.”