First Cyclist Killed On Superhighway

By Londonist Last edited 79 months ago
First Cyclist Killed On Superhighway

A cyclist became the first fatality on London’s Cycle Superhighways yesterday. It is the 14th fatality among London's cyclists this year.

The accident happened at Bow flyover during the Monday morning rush hour when the 50-year-old cyclist collided with an HGV. The driver of the vehicle has since been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving.

The controversial junction marks the end of CS2, as Newham Council would not cooperate with TfL's plans to extend the blue paint into the Olympic borough, preferring their own scheme of highways improvements. Newham is home, of course, to the now infamously impassable Stratford City cycle lane. The high-speed Bow roundabout is also part of the cycling routes suggested by TfL's Leon Daniels, Head of Surface Transport, for Olympic visitors.

The tragic accident has parallels with the recent fatality at Kings Cross, as the location had previously been identified as a risk for cyclists. The danger at the junction had even been recognised by British Waterways who are designing a riverside walkway meaning “walkers and cyclists will no longer have to use the dangerous road-crossing at Bow flyover.”

It seems that both TfL and Boris Johnson were aware of the safety issue at the flyover. The Mayor was asked at a meeting on 18 May this year what progress had been made to provide a safe pedestrian crossing at the junction on the A12. Boris answered “TfL have been unable so far to find an immediate solution...that does not push the junction over capacity and introduce significant delays to traffic.”

The fact that TfL chose reducing delays over cyclist safety will be of little consolation to the deceased man’s family.

Diamond Geezer has written an excellent account of the dangers posed by the junction.

By Andy Thornley

Last Updated 25 October 2011


I've just moved away from living by the Bow flyover. It is a horrible junction.  I used to have to cross it everyday on my walk to the tube, and I lobbied my London Assembly member over 2 years ago about pedestrian crossings and got the same fob off about traffic flow and capacity.  Sad that their reticence has cost someone their life.


"cyclist collided with an HGV" - uhm - shouldn't it be "HGV ran into a cyclist"?


The waterway route is completed - no need to leave the canal and risk you life on this bit of road. Oddly, my wife and I took this route back from the Olymnpic site & Straford City yesterday pm about 16:00.

Dave H

 Iamnotacyclist - a collision occurred between a (yy) cyclist and a truck (driven by a xx driver) is perhaps the most neutral way to put this.

Lousy place - I gave my best RSM shout in volume, and content to the driver of a tractor unit that tried to take me out there.  Tend to ride via Plaistow cutting from Excel to Stratford now.

Since the Barclays Bikes are Public Transport surely that warrants an inquiry to match the need for delivery of safer Public Transport


The new canal route beneath the entire gyratory is fantastic - but only if you are traveling north / south.  Going east / west is utterly terrifying whether on foot or by bike.  I can't imagine it is much fun in a car either to be honest.  Diamond Geezer's write up really demonstrates how sad and unnecessary this death is.

Chris Farrar

From the information I have been given today, this tragic accident involving a lorry and a cyclist was caused by the cyclist not stopping at a RED light and running under the wheels of a legally operated lorry being driven by a skilled & professional driver, Yet another tragedy for all involved I have huge sympathies with the deceased's family and also with the lorry driver and his family.

Alan G

I don't know how many of those commenting here have ever actually driven a lorry but I am a professional HGV driver with over 20 years experience. During my career I have had numerous near misses with cyclists who clearly have no idea the danger they put themselves in everyday by failing to use basic common sense and good judgement. I was driving down towards blackfriars just two weeks ago and had a cyclist holding on to the door of my lorry because he couldn't be bothered to peddle and I have had cyclists leaning on my lorry door at traffic lights because they are too tired to support themselves. On both occasions I would not have known they were there if it was not for another lorry driver telling me. They have no idea that I cant see them and could suck them under my wheels. I can tell you that it is physically impossible to see a cyclist who is less than 4-6 feet away from the side of your cab but yet they will still sneak down the side of you ignoring the signs on the back of the lorry saying do not come down the side of the lorry. During my career I have had cyclist cutting in front of me not knowing that due to my load it takes me longer to stop and could kill me and others if sharp breaking causes the load to come over the trailer and I have heard about dozens of accidents caused by cyclists weaving in and out of traffic, jumping lights, going the wrong way on one way streets and cutting people up but yet they just peddle off without a care in the world. They should have registration plates and insurance like everything else on the roads, prosecuted for dangerous driving and held accountable for scraping people's cars and causing accidents. I'm sorry for the family who lost someone but also spare a thought for the lorry driver who was just doing his job to support his wife and children and has now been arrested and probably facing the loss of his licence, livelihood and freedom as well as being traumatised for the rest of his life at the thought of what has happened.


This accident occured right in front of me as I headed around the roundabout.

Typically as a lorry driver exit's a roundabout like this one they will glance ahead to see the slip road is clear, and then look in their left hand mirror. This bicycle, and Bicycles in general seem to approach this junction from the right in the mornings and it is more than possible the driver would not have seen him.

In recent Months I have seen 5 or more close misses on this roundabout involving bicycles, 1 was the fault of a car driver, 1 or 2 the fault of the bicycle, but the remainder were in my opinion factors relative to the layout of the roundabout. I have seen a large number of vehicle's drive through red light's on this roundabout without realising what they've done. I have also almost done it myself as the traffic light sequence's seem to change regularly.

My sympathies go out to all involved and their families. It was a sight that will live with me for a long time.


A man has died and some people want to post callous and totally inappropriate anti-cycling rants (as if the deceased is somehow guilty by association). Deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victim. I also hope the driver can come to terms with what has happened.  

Dick Vincent

It's tragic to hear about this accident. I used to use this junction daily when I lived at 3 Mills and it's scary and confusing on foot, bike or by car. Please tell everyone that the north-south, motor
vehicle-free route under the Bow Flyover and along the river is now open and should now be the preferred route.


I will be attending his wake next week and he will leave a very large whole in our community. He was a lovely man who has given a great deal to our small rowing club - always smiling, cheery and always had a nice word for whoever he came into contact with. We will miss him greatly and need to ensure that this type of tragedy is never allowed to happen again, where political agendas/poor signage/confusing road layouts for all parties overtakes common sense and lives are put at risk. My prayers are with his family at this very very sad time. 


This cyclist is my Husband.  He was an experienced cyclist and motorcyclist and would never put himself in a dangerous position on the road,  Road positioning was really important to him.  We are devastated and I have to live the rest of my life without my husband and best friend.  He leaves a very sad wife and 3 beautiful children behind.  We cannot replace what is lost.  He was so badly injured he has had to be identified by his dental records and I cannot see him to get closure, I cannot believe I will never see his happy smiling face again.  I love you.

Leon Penderis

I am really sorry to hear about your loss, he was a colleague and it has shocked all that knows him,
Concerned cyclist

Sylvias Pennington

There are people who are good and bad in all walks of life
and in all hobbies and professions. Yes you sometimes see lorry drivers using
their mobile phones whilst they are driving which take their attentions from
the road but you also see bike riders listening to iPods as they ride which
takes there attention away there surroundings.

In 1999 when I was 19 I was a cyclist of the anti-motorised vehicle
variety who believed that all non-cyclists where against us riders until I was
involved in a collision in central London between my bicycle and a van where I
was unconscious in hospital for over 72 and lost my left leg below the knee.
Due to the fact that I was carrying no ID and I was a student living miles away
from my parents the police and hospital staff had to wait until I was brought
out of sedation to find out who I was and inform my next of kin. As a result of
this I completely changed my views.

I believe that anyone driving or riding on a public highway at
speed should be taxed, insured, licensed and registered on a sliding cost scale
depending on the effect we have on the environment such as road wear and

As all modes of transportation on a public highway run the
risk of being involved in an accident or altercation with other users where
money may need to change hands to pay for repairs we should all be insured and
as all modes of transportation on a public highway rely on the traffic lights
and road markings to get around and these things are paid for by road tax then
all modes of transportation should be taxed. (After all the elderly and
disabled have to pay tax on their 6 mph mobility scooter
don’t they?)  I also believe that we have
a duty to keep our roads as safe as possible and so everyone who uses them
should have to pass some sort of test by law before they are allowed to use the
road so that all those using them should theoretically have a basic knowledge
of highway laws and also an acceptable level of road usage skill.  And I also believe that everyone using the
road should have to display a licence plate because not only is it useful to identify
those who have broken the law, it is also easier to identify stolen vehicles
and quicker to identify people who have sadly been involved in accidents.

Had my bicycle been taxed, insured and registered I would
have been identified at the scene and I would not have woken up alone and my
insurance would have given me the money I needed to repair my bike and offer me
compensation for my injuries (the van driver was a chap on holiday who did not
have the correct insurance for driving abroad) and had I passed a test to ride
my bike I may have had the skills to avoid my accident.

My thoughts go out to all those who were involved in the
accident and their families.


Go and sit next to any set of traffic lights at Bow Flyover roundabout and watch the motorised traffic shoot through red lights as if they aren't there.

Will K

That is a real tragedy. It would be so nice if cities would build better infrastructure - that actually works for cyclists. Until that happens...well, I have a folding bike. I ride as much as I can, but when I have to go through areas like this, I usually drive, with the bike in my trunk. Once I get somewhere a little safer, I park, unfold the bike, and ride to wherever I'm going.


Aother cyclist killed at the bow roundabout yesterday.Something has got to be done now.

ζυcy ωαđε ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

I cycle and I drive in London..... When I cycle I stick to my lane and I don't jump red lights and I definitely under no circumstances sit down the side of a lorry or bus or any other large vehicle. Why? Because I value my life. As a driver I see cyclists constantly taking chances and jumping red lights, even on huge crossroads they take chances and go across them not even knowing which lane or which direction the flow of traffic is coming from next.

I am by no means saying that this is the cyclists fault, I am just pointing out why people are taking sides. I'd say MOST cyclists are extremely careless, they're always in and out of lanes and weaving around cars in traffic, it's terrifiying for drivers because nobody wants to run anyone over and nobody wants to be responsible for a death.

Where Motor vehicles and bikes can be side by side it's never going to be safe, and unfortunately the cyclist will always lose.

Ride safely, stop taking chances and then people won't be so quick to point out how lawless cyclists are.

Thoughts are with all involved.