Driver 'had no idea' cyclist was under lorry's wheels

Holborn horror crash 'could have been prevented'

by Tom Henry   December 29, 2009  

Cykelbox_London.jpg

A cyclist killed at a central London junction would still be alive if the lorry that hit her hadn't broken the law, her boyfriend told an inquest.

Maria Fernandez, 24, died from head injuries sustained following the crash at Holborn Circus. A bin lorry had crept into the green 'bike box' zone at the lights then turned left, dragging the student under its wheels.

 

Riccardo Rispoli, who was cycling with her at the time of the crash in June, said the law should be toughened-up to protect cyclists at busy junctions.

An inquest at St Pancras coroner's court recorded a verdict of accidental death on the Argentinian-born cyclist, who lived in Stepney Green.

The lorry driver, Joseph Grant, was questioned by police but released without charge.

According to the Evening Standard, Mr Grant told the court that he saw only Mr Rispoli as he turned into Charterhouse Street, and had no idea that Miss Fernandez was being dragged under his front wheels until he was alerted by other drivers 130 metres further on.

Deputy coroner Gail Elliman said: “The lorry wasn't stopped in the right place. If Miss Fernandez was five metres ahead in the cycling box Mr Grant would have seen her. But the [lorry's] indicator could have been seen by Miss Fernandez. Caution might have been exercised if she believed it was going to turn left.”

Speaking after the verdict, Mr Rispoli, a yacht designer, said: “I think the law needs to get tougher so this doesn't happen again. I think Maria's death could have been prevented.

“The driver was in the cycle box so we couldn't get in front. Also with better mirrors and if lorries were not so loud these kind of deaths could be stopped.

“I do not blame the driver but there are many kinds of people on the road and everything needs to be made stupid-proof so even a kid can understand how to use it.”

 

7 user comments

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Of course the driver is to blame!! He stopped inside the box, when he shouldn't have. He was the one breaking the law, not the cyclist! I hope her family sues him! Angry

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
9th February 2010 - 13:02

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sueing is a bit mild he needs to be castrated I have a couple of bricks that should do the job just fine

tired old fart

posted by tired old fart [79 posts]
29th March 2011 - 16:15

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Released without charge. I despair....

whizz kid

posted by whizzkid [62 posts]
21st September 2011 - 21:33

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“The driver was in the cycle box so we couldn't get in front."

I appreciate that the above comment might have been taken out of context but this how I read it,

the lorry is in the ASL (shouldn't be there I agree) so Mr Rispoli and Miss Fernandez go up the left hand side of the wagon and sit in its blind spot in line with the front corner of the cab as they can't get in front, the lorry turns left (as he is indicating) and unfortunately hits Miss Fernandez. If thats the position no mirror check would have seen her and if she was hidden by the frame between windscreen and side window a visual check could well of missed her.

Yes the lorry shouldn't have been in the ASL but we all have the ability to do a basic risk assesment to keep ourselves safe. As cyclists we don't have to get to the front at all costs.

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stuke's picture

posted by stuke [288 posts]
21st September 2011 - 23:18

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Thinking Nobody ever seems to consider this point when talking about the ASL areas. If you're coming up to the lights in an HGV or a bus and they turn to amber you can't stop anywhere near as quickly as a car or motorbike. Even if you're going at an appropriate speed you're occasionally going to end up in the ASL area.

I'm not saying that literally flouting the law doesn't happen regarding them, but it happens.

However, in this instance, the killed cyclist MUST have encroached on the HGV from behind and inside of it. For if the lorry driver had approached the cyclist from behind, he'd have known she was there.

As far as I'm concerned, that's natural selection. Regardless of whether the lorry is indicating or not there's no way someone should go up the inside of it at a junction, you're in a MASSIVE blind spot!

What does seem to perplex me though is, how come it's only every women you see these stories about? Or am I just missing them?

Municipal Waste's picture

posted by Municipal Waste [190 posts]
13th April 2013 - 20:54

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Municipal Waste wrote:

As far as I'm concerned, that's natural selection.

What a revolting thing to say, someone has lost their life.

Oh and if you can't stop behind the line you are either going too fast, or not paying attention, regardless of vehicle.

posted by DrVonNostrand [1 posts]
16th July 2013 - 14:55

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As far as I'm concerned, that's natural selection.

What a revolting thing to say, someone has lost their life.

Oh and if you can't stop behind the line you are either going too fast, or not paying attention, regardless of vehicle.

Indeed and don't forget that a red light does not suddenly appear out of nothing. The amber light which precedes it means STOP as well. When you consider that, there is no excuse at all for entering an ASL.

Simon Mason, Kingston upon Hull

posted by swldxer [34 posts]
17th July 2013 - 12:51

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