Fifth Cyclist Dies On London’s Roads In Nine Days


This is unbelievable. Another cyclist has died on London’s roads, the fifth in nine days.

A man died in hospital earlier this morning following a collision with a double decker bus near Aldgate East station – in the vicinity of where Philippine De Gerin-Ricard died – on Cycle Superhighway 2 around 11.30pm on Wednesday night.

This follows a death at Bow Roundabout on Wednesday morning, one in East Croydon on Tuesday, and the deaths of Brian Holt on CS2 in Mile End last Tuesday and the death in hospital of Francis Golding after a collision in Holborn also last Tuesday. There have also been serious injuries caused to cyclists in several other collisions.

Following a no-show by Transport for London and anyone from City Hall on BBC London News on Tuesday, Boris Johnson gave an interview to Tim Donovan last night. He said:

Clearly, one death is too many on our roads, on our Cycle Superhighways. Our thoughts are very much with the families of those who have been bereaved in the last few days. If you look at the number of deaths that we are sustaining of cyclists, they are down on where they were five years ago quite considerably as a percentage, and yet we’ve seen a massive increase in the number of cyclists.

When challenged by Tim Donovan on whether it’s time to scrap CS2 at Bow Roundabout, the Mayor replied:

No I don’t think so at all. It’s very important to continue with the Cycle Superhighway programme, to continue to make cycling ever safer and invest in cycling. We’ll see what happened at Bow Roundabout, we’ll analyse it. There’s no traffic engineer in the world who can accommodate every eventuality.

Donovan put it to the Mayor that the Cycle Superhighway programme went ahead too quickly and had corners cut:

I think you could argue, if you look at what’s happened, that our interventions to make cycling safer are steadily working. Every death is one too many. I am proud of our record on our cycling and am determined to make the investments in London’s roads that will make it ever safer.

The number of cycling journeys has gone up in the last few years while the numbers of deaths have been 2012: 14, 2011: 16, 2010: 10, 2009: 13, 2008: 15. So far this year, 13 cyclists have died. However, it’s not enough for TfL to congratulate itself on keeping death rates more or less steady as the number of miles travelled increases. Part of that increase is because of initiatives to get more people cycling, initiatives like the Cycle Superhighways that encourage cyclists to use them and yet, as found by a coroner, have no legal status in parts and sometimes take cyclists through more dangerous positions. There is no numbers trade-off to play here: if Londoners are being encouraged to get on their bikes, the infrastructure should all be fit for purpose.

The Independent quotes Andew Gilligan, the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner, as warning against rushed decisions about making changes to the roads. As we reported yesterday, the Mayor’s office is clearly taking that advice while deciding where to put the cycling budget as no detailed breakdown of how the 2013-14 budget is being spent is available.

Photo by Zefrog from the Londonist Flickr pool

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  • Delores William

    There are more people cycling but how many have any road sense? I drove for 20 years before cycling so I cycle like a car user I don’t expect anyone to see me and I don’t take any chances

  • SearchBuzz

    As a cyclist myself it does anger me to see other cyclists constantly being stupid on the roads. I constantly see people jumping lights, they never stop at Zebra crossings and they KEEP going on the inside of a bus to overtake when there is a bus stop every 100 metres or so and the bus is obviously going to pull in towards the pavement. Of course there are many out there who do follow the rules and have common sense, but the minority are bringing the death rates up, and it is not always the driver to blame.

    • Eyebee

      As a bus driver, my observations are that whilst the fact majority of cyclists are sensible, there are a significant minority that act like they don’t care for their own safety.

      Riding at night with no lights. A front light is just as important, as once I pass a cyclist with no front light, the shadow cast by the bus can make it very difficult to see where they are, so I can pull back in safely.

      I see many riding with headsets on. Can they hear what’s going on around them?

      Some cyclists pull out of side roads without even looking to see what is coming. If I have to brake really hard, I could end up with injured passengers.

      Also, I simply don’t understand why some cyclists ( and usually they’re in Lycra) feel its beneath them to use a well marked, segregated, cycle lane when one is available. Its far safer, and of course, doesn’t hold up motorised road users, some of whom very quickly get impatient.

      • jamie

        Id count myself as one of these particular cyclists in lycra. I use the road like a vehicle. no other road user has any more right to the space on a carriageway than any other. if a driver gets impatient than is it really worth the aggravation simply to get somewhere 5 seconds quicker? the problem lies in the fact that on my road bike i can quite happily coast along at 20mph. not a speed for a shared use cycle path or a cycle lane that has multiple obstacles in it. I’m on a bike to make my journey faster, not stop start. imagine doing your job where you constantly have to avoid large lumps of metal, roadsigns, lamposts and pedestrians in the middle of your lane. ( also, im not sure why wearing lycra is itself a form of problem for some motorists. )

        • Eyebee

          Jamie, with regard to impatience on the road I see it all the time. One thing buses and bicycles have in common is the impatient types will put everyone else in danger to get around them.

          As for your complaint about cycle lanes being full of obstacles, I do know a few lanes that are perfectly clear, but still not used by a sizeable of cyclists. Also, those cycle lanes that are obstructed need to have this issue addressed. There’s no point trying to segregate traffic to make things safer, if it’s not used!

          Personally, I don’t have an issue with Lycra, I’m just making an observation at a location I pass very regularly.

          • jamie

            Yup, fair points. you are right, there are clear cycle lanes, but many that are also cluttered and complicated where they have been layered onto existing infrastructure with little thought. some of them seem more of a tick box exercise. There is a wonderful website somewhere with pictures of the silliest layouts.
            However, i use roads for two reasons –
            1, i think segregation will lead to more cyclists not obeying laws they should be, because they are out of traffic – why should lights apply to them if they are not regarded as traffic in the same way cars motorbikes and buses are? segregation is never a good idea. (admittedly separating the heaviest traffic from cyclist is a good idea, but i dont think inner city roads are compatible with HGVs in any circumstances)
            2, i have the same right to use the road as any other member of the travelling public. i follow the laws, i don’t jump reds, i stop at pedestrian crossings (if anything its a good excuse to show off track standing) and so as a brightly lit well behaved part of the traffic flow, i don’t see why i should be made to use infrastructure which isn’t as good as the normal road network.

        • FactStater

          “I use the road like a vehicle”.

          Good luck when you are hit then. Whereas another vehicle will merely be dented and go in for repairs, you will be far worse off. You shouldn’t use the road like any other vehicle as you are not as protected as those sitting in one with an engine.

          • jamie

            interesting that you say ‘when’ and not ‘if’. am i more likely to have a shunt on a bike than in a car?
            i also drive alot, and funnily enough, i havnt ever had an accident or a dent. so why should it be any different on my bike, unless im being treated differently by road users depending on the type of transport im using? that’s an issue with your perception of the cyclist and their rights rather than my usage of the road.

    • NoUserName

      You are wrong. Recent stats say 69% of drivers are at fault with collisions with cyclists while 10% of cyclists take the blame (the rest are both at fault or dont know).

      People are quick to blame everything on a minority of bad cyclists but totally ignore the ingrained bad driver mentiality on our roads – the majority of drivers today will speed, wont look properly, will use mobiles phones and so on….yet this is accepted as ok.

      • BethPH

        This isn’t about drivers versus cyclists and reducing it to trading critiques of road usage is pointless and divisive. The biggest issue is trying to adapt an established infrastructure to cope with changes in usage, and how to address the inherent problem of HGVs’ involvement in these collisions.

        • Johnny Brolly

          I completely agree that the blame game is not helping anyone here. So, when stories like this come up and the comments are open everyone needs to take a deep breath before posting anything along the lines of “all cyclists need to be more responsible” or “motorists are the problem”. In fact, don’t post anything like that at all, because this is a story about a particular accident, of which we know none of the details.
          Having said that, we do have major problems with cycling accidents in this city and we need to find solutions, urgently. How do we find those solutions?
          (1) Telling people (drivers or cyclists) to be more careful or take more responsibility for themselves or simply moaning about bad behaviour is not going to change a thing. Bad behaviour is rife, but jabbing a finger won’t change that.
          (2) Follow the stats. It was Westminster council’s report showed 69% of the time it was the motorist at fault and a cursory glance at the kinds of vehicles involved in cycling fatalities quickly establishes that well over half of all these accidents involve HGVs (and particularly construction lorries). If you know where the problems lay you can start to address them.
          (3) Anecdotes are not stats. They aren’t any kind of evidence. They are just chat.

      • SearchBuzz

        I did say the minority and said it’s not always the driver to blame. I don’t disagree with your stats.

      • FactStater

        A sweeping statement, especially as car drivers take a test and cyclists don’t.

  • Me

    May be cyclist should stop at traffic lights and give way sign,s and stop blaming the motorist for accident ,

  • JulioLaker

    I sat in a London taxi last Friday, while we were stationary a cyclist knocked the taxi driver’s mirror off and shot off down some steps. As you can imagine the cabby had a few choice words…so much so that we almost got out before he exploded. The cyclist did turn round and raise his hand, I think this was an apology but the red mist had already taken over and the cabby didn’t see it. The cabby had a video system installed so fortunately for him he has everything recorded, the reason I understand is that he is being sued by a cyclist for an injury claim for what the cabby described as the cyclist cycling into him. The point is that cyclists don’t have a protective membrane around them, ultimately if they don’t follow the rules they are the ones that will get hurt. When I took my motorbike test my instructor spend half a day showing me motorbike injuries, he reinforced the notion that you are not in a protective shell. If you get angry with someone else….pull over and calm down. The guy in the car will live to tell the tale whether he is in the right or the wrong, cyclists need to bear this in mind and until there are proper cycling lanes everywhere there is only going to be one loser in an accident.

  • Mr Vee

    Its not about cyclists versus drivers. Thats just a dividing tactic by those in power – divide the people, get them fighting amongst themsevles to distract from the real issue.
    In fact, the people who use the roads are united in that all of us, drivers and cyclists, all of us want to have better road design that enable each of us to get to where we all need to get to in the mornings and evenings in a safe and civilised way.
    The real question is why the mayor, after six years, has comprehensively FAILED to provide this, why he continues to talk about his ‘vision’ i.e. dont build anything now, its all ‘just around the corner’.
    His failure to act and conherently carry out, not just talk about, but to ACTION road improvements NOW, road improvements that function, road improvements that physically divide drivers from cyclists, his utter failure to do this, which is an active policy decision CHOICE on his part, his failure amounts to a shameful responsibility for these deaths. The mayor has BLOOD on his hands.
    It is utterly shaming to London that his Conservative politician actively presides over a London that his choices have allowed to reach a state where cycling deaths and serious injuries are simply out of control.
    People should never forget this incpompetence when it comes to voting day. Forget the protests, they wont change a thing, the only way anything will change if if the man is voted out of a job, thats the only way to action REAL and COMPREHENSIVE change.

    • Dave H

      I’m not sure I’d personally choose to make this out to be a party-political issue. If the “real question” is why our current mayor, after six years, has failed to deliver a safer road infrastructure for cyclists, surely there would be an equally valid question of why the previous mayor failed to do the same after eight years?

      In practice it seems that all politicians say more-or-less the same thing here, and given the opportunity, deliver similar results. It’s foolish to believe that the colour of their ties would make any difference to this.

  • Tony Porter

    Maybe check the hours he has done , perhaps he /her is over worked, not
    enough sleep, too many hours behind the wheel. earlies , middles and lates. Perhaps now the union will get TFL and the bus companies and go through the 32 reports from 13 different countries that explicitly say that this is what happens when you over work a bus driver. But TFL and the bus companies decided to ignore the reports because it gets in the way of profit and bonuses.Plus they haven’t done a single risk assessment since 1993 on the welfare of bus drivers.

  • MArc0

    I worked in hollad for a year britain needs to educate them selves and provide actual cylist only lanes not put police on the beat to advise cyclist and truck drivers its just a cheap scape approach to cyclist safety.shortly after comming back from holland I witnesses a death on morgate in the city it was terrible i felt sick. cyclist lanes are the ONLY SOLUTION……………………………………….