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Woman in 20s fighting for life after being crushed by tipper lorry

Londoners are demanding Mayor Boris Johnson act urgently to improve safety after a cyclist was involved in a collision with a truck at the capital's notorious Ludgate Circus junction this morning.

The female cyclist is fighting for her life after in a London hospital after being attended by London Ambulance Service at the scene at about 11:30 this morning.

London Ambulance Service spokesman said: "A woman believed to be in her 20s was in cardiac arrest at the scene, and extensive efforts were made to resuscitate her. She was taken by ambulance to the Royal London Hospital as a priority."

Cyclist Michelle Forster passed the scene shortly after the crash:

The London Cycling Campaign posted on Facebook: "We're saddened to hear of a woman involved in a serious collision with an HGV at Ludgate Circus. We hope for the best for the victim and our thoughts are with her and her family."

In April Victor Manuel Ben Rodriguez was killed when he was crushed under a tipper lorry at Ludgate Circus. Today's casualty brings the total of cyclists killed or seriously injured at Ludgate circus since 2008 to eight.

Many Londoners tweeted calls for action in the hours after the collision.

Richard Aylwin, MD of Aylwin Communications - a PR consultancy for the architecture and proprty industries, said: "Yet another serious accident involving a cyclist at Ludgate Circus today; Do something about it #borisjohnson rather than making promises"

Matthew Davis called on the Mayor to act: "@MayorofLondon sort ludgate circus out now! That junction is a death trap for both pedestrians and cyclists."

Billo posted: "@mayoroflondon @tflofficial another cyclist run over at Ludgate Circus. Twice in matter of months. Do something for cyclists & pedestrians."

Jocelyn Bailey said: "Just walked past an awful bike v lorry incident at ludgate circus. How many times does this have to happen before we sort it out?"

Cycling campaigners pointed out that the Ludgate Circus junction will be part of the planned North-South cycle superhighway. That project has been secretively opposed by "old men in limos" who appear to value the ability to be chauffeured swiftly around London above the lives of cyclists.

Danny Williams said: "If cycle super highway built, there's no way that cycle/lorry collision (again) at Ludgate Circus cd have happened"

Treasure added: "To repeat the point - with N-S Superhighway, movements of HGVs and people cycling at Ludgate Circus would be completely separated"

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

30 comments

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don simon [1264 posts] 2 years ago
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That looks like one confusing mother f*cking junction. Is it any wonder there are accidents?
Thoughts with the victims and families.

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IHphoto [117 posts] 2 years ago
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Rode up Ludgate Hill and straight onto Fleet St in the pouring rain and gridlocked traffic only on Monday. OK in that direction.

I just hope and pray she pulls through.

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Shades [340 posts] 2 years ago
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On a rare trip to London I was walking down towards that junction about an hour after it happened and saw all the police activity. Just flashed into my mind, cyclist. The ambulance had left the scene but the bike was right under the truck. I was trying to figure out how it could have happened. There wasn't enough space between the traffic island and the pavement for a bike and a truck, so the truck must have just mown her down. Hope she gets better. Not really what I wanted to see on a jaunt to the 'big smoke'.

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OldRidgeback [2786 posts] 2 years ago
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horrible event - hope she recovers - another tipper truck in an area notorious for its bad road layout

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embattle [70 posts] 2 years ago
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I've been cycling a long time and while I hope she pulls through I'll restate what I've said before, never be down the side or just in front of a lorry at a junction just give them a wide berth since besides not always paying attention they do have blind spots in various areas. I don't want people to think that I'm trying to apportion blame but simply because as a cyclist you have most to lose and it just isn't worth the time you might save.

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belgravedave [273 posts] 2 years ago
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What action could be taken immediately at Ludgate Circus? Why not place Traffic Police at the junction for at least the next six months and see what happens.
If a success then repeat at all major junctions which have high accident rates.
In that time Boris should bring in a ban on drivers of tipper trucks being paid per drop, which I'm sure is the main reason for their appalling accident record.

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fluffy_mike [103 posts] 2 years ago
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I've been cycling a long time and while I hope she pulls through I'll restate what I've said before, never be down the side or just in front of a lorry at a junction just give them a wide berth.

You claim you're not trying to apportion blame but you do anyway. I think your comment could just as legitimately have been written like this:

I've been driving a long time and while I hope she pulls through I'll restate what I've said before, never overtake a cyclist on your left at a junction, just give them a wide berth.

In collisions between lorries and people on bikes, the driver is twice as likely to have blame apportioned to them as the cyclist. Stats here http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/that-war-on-britains...

So take my advice, don't go writing comments like yours underneath stories about crushed cyclists. You don't come across as the purveyor of worldly wisdom you think you do...

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IanW1968 [327 posts] 2 years ago
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I really find these incidents heartbreaking, thoughts with this young lady and her family.

That some one would take the time to post comments blaming the victim is offensive and highlights the ignorance and twisted priorities that are really at the root cause of this problem.

Regulate the transport industry, educate road users, enforce the law, punish offenders, then spend money on infrastructure.

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TheSpaniard [108 posts] 2 years ago
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It seems strange that people are happy with driver blaming whenever one of these awful incidents occurs, but then reach for the pitchforks and flaming torches if someone questions the cyclist's actions.

No-one on here knows what chain of events led to the crash, so apportioning blame to either party is pure guesswork at this stage. It's a tragic event for all involved, which took place at a junction not designed with either bikes or tippers in mind. Lets just focus on that shall we?

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truffy [650 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

That project has been secretively opposed by "old men in limos" who appear to value the ability to be chauffeured swiftly around London above the lives of cyclists.

Is this 'journalism' or just vacuous speculation? If it can be attributed to a source other than the author, please do so. Otherwise, sort it out road.cc!

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Cyclist27 [13 posts] 2 years ago
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This was tried in Devon & Cornwall in about 1965 (I am old). Summer season, lots of visitors, high casualty rate. 200 police traffic crews borrowed from other forces who spent time at junctions etc. Casualty rate greatly reduced. I have IAM certificate & know that most drivers do not habitually check left door mirror when turning or moving left. Some never use their door mirrors.

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rootes [51 posts] 2 years ago
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Said it before but in all these cases if there is data (cctv, eyewitness) we need recreate these incidents to see what happened so as to help all road users in the future.

Anyhow hope the girl is ok.

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IanW1968 [327 posts] 2 years ago
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Nobody has blamed the driver.

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severs1966 [406 posts] 2 years ago
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fluffy_mike wrote:

...I'll restate what I've said before, never be down the side or just in front of a lorry at a junction just give them a wide berth.

You claim you're not trying to apportion blame but you do anyway.

How am I supposed to "never be just in front of a lorry" ? No road user can control what vehicle comes up behind them and then attempts to overtake.

A good friend of mine was killed in this way, and it wasn't even at a junction. Just a lorry catching up and then squishing him. How would he have avoided this by "never being just in front" ? By teleportation? By being able to ride at 35mph?

What a stupid and incredibly offensive thing to say, quite apart from what fluffy mike says about blame apportionment.

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embattle [70 posts] 2 years ago
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The advice you gave at the end is one you should of heeded since the simple reality is I've not even taken a driving lesson and been cycling through built up areas of London on my way to work for 14 years, although I guess If I followed your lead I would suspect you as one of those invincible lycra and hi-viz warriors who I see ignoring lights, passing vehicles on the outside/inside, headphones in unable to hear anything behind, etc. but then like your comment that would be a silly assumption since I have no idea about you.

I already knew about the statistics regarding blame and make it quite clear that while the driver may well take the blame in such circumstance I know for sure who will pay the ultimate cost and it isn't going to be the one in a metal shell.

My own personal experience was as I cycled back through Twickenham once I was coming up behind a scaffolding lorry which although not signalling was clearly in the lane for turning left and I stopped behind it. As I waited for the green left signal to activate another young cyclist came up beside and then passed me and tried to squeeze down the left side of the lorry, the green right of way activated and thus the lorry moved forward and started to turned the corner. The cyclist was now trapped and thus as he and the lorry turned the corner he was pushed by the side of the lorry towards the kerb and fairly rapidly the cyclists wheels were rubbing against the kerb, he got lucky in the fact the lorry started to straighten out its direction and thus a gap opened up. The lorry was completely oblivious to the situation and I can tell you that the cyclist looked mighty shaken having just realised how close he was to going under that lorry.

To the person talking about if I know about some kind of magic regarding lorries coming up behind you, my reference was to about going down the side of a lorry and stopping just in front of the lorry which without the correct equipment they can't be see you very easily.

Please let me make it quite clear it is a very sad event which will hopefully turn out well for the cyclist. I just wish that all cyclists would go that extra mile to realise that a mistake by another road user could easily kill us and that being in the right in such situations isn't enough.

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Das [243 posts] 2 years ago
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Fingers crossed.

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Colin Peyresourde [1818 posts] 2 years ago
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Just to make a point, the vehicle in the main picture does not look like a tipper lorry. Just a 7.5 tonne goods vehicle. The visibility is almost the same but the dimensions differ.

I've been on that junction loads of times. It's a tricky one for turning vehicles, especially if turning on South bound Farringdon road onto slow moving Ludgate Hill. There are so many traffic obstructions that the traffic moves at a crawl up there. And there is no room for cyclists. Always best to take the lane and sit with the traffic than allow yourself to get in a tight spot, or overtake on the outside like a motorbike. The undertake is such a dangerous move.

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belgravedave [273 posts] 2 years ago
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A similar exercise was tried in Kensington about 25 years ago. A very old school Superintendent took all uniformed officers that were in specialist departments and put them back onto the beat.
What happened? Well crime plummeted and road traffic accidents where halved. The experiment was cancelled after 10 weeks due to internal pressure from above. Would be nice to restart the experiment using some of the cash that's going to be wasted on the super highway.

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bikebot [2119 posts] 2 years ago
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belgravedave wrote:

Would be nice to restart the experiment using some of the cash that's going to be wasted on the super highway.

And of the billions that TfL spend per year, why do you want to raid the cycling budget for policing? More to the point, why should anything be taken from the public transport budget to deal with private motor vehicles.

The number of transport Police in London has almost halved in the last 25 years. No one but the Police are responsible for that, they make their own decisions on spending priorities.

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belgravedave [273 posts] 2 years ago
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Bikebot, I'm not talking about the BTP, I'm talking about the Met.

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bikebot [2119 posts] 2 years ago
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belgravedave wrote:

Bikebot, I'm not talking about the BTP, I'm talking about the Met.

So am I, traffic police are part of the Met. They have about 700 of them now, the time you were referring to 25 years, there were about 1200-1300. It's something that Jenny Jones on the London Assembly has raised a number of times regarding Police priorities.

Of course London actually fares much better than many areas of the UK, which have cut traffic police numbers even deeper than that.

Edit: just noticed I typed transport Police rather than traffic Police in the post. That was by mistake, it should have been traffic Police.

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jacknorell [969 posts] 2 years ago
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embattle wrote:

I've been cycling a long time and while I hope she pulls through I'll restate what I've said before, never be down the side or just in front of a lorry at a junction just give them a wide berth since besides not always paying attention they do have blind spots in various areas. I don't want people to think that I'm trying to apportion blame but simply because as a cyclist you have most to lose and it just isn't worth the time you might save.

Yet you are blaming the victim.

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belgravedave [273 posts] 2 years ago
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Bikebot, Surely we want the same thing, massive decrease in cycling accidents, increase in journeys made by bike and as little environmental damage as possible.
I think a integrated system involving spending the budget on inclusive projects mainly working on junctions and then heavily policing the areas while at the same time making changes in the law and increasing punishments would be the more successful option.
Why doesn't Boris trial a borough and see what happens? Because there's no real lobby for this as there's no massive pie to carve up.

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bikebot [2119 posts] 2 years ago
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belgravedave wrote:

Bikebot, Surely we want the same thing, massive decrease in cycling accidents, increase in journeys made by bike and as little environmental damage as possible.
I think a integrated system involving spending the budget on inclusive projects mainly working on junctions and then heavily policing the areas while at the same time making changes in the law and increasing punishments would be the more successful option.
Why doesn't Boris trial a borough and see what happens? Because there's no real lobby for this as there's no massive pie to carve up.

I'm quite sure we certainly do agree about many things. However, I am supporter of segregated infrastructure in certain situations, and that includes provides routes through central London, as well improving the superhighway routes into the centre.

Saturation policing as you describe is actually incredibly expensive. If you want those routes to be safe for everyone, you'd need officers there nearly 24x7 and there are hundreds of junctions in London. The closest comparison I can think of is the coverage of underground stations after 7/7, which diverted so many Police there was actually a significant increase recorded in burglaries and thefts across the capital. You might be surprised at how few Police officers are actually active at any one hour per borough.

Infrastructure on the other hand has very low recurring costs. You spend it once, and what you build is there for the next 50 to a 100 years. My main interest is in making sure the infrastructure is only of a type that is worth building rather than the substandard nonsense we're too familiar with.

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embattle [70 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm not convinced there will ever be the required work to the whole infrastructure required to make London safer, I've seen the odd bit here and there on my route to work over the last 14 years. It has generally been done when they need to do other work around a junction or city centre such as redoing the pavement or road.

I did complain once about one of the bits of work they had been doing around a series of junctions where they pushed out some kerbs, relayed the pavements, removed a set of traffic lights and replaced it with a mini roundabout. In the approach to that roundabout used to be 2 lanes of traffic and a cycle lane not that it could fit the small space allocated to it, during the changes they seemed to remove the long cycle lane between junctions and also had burned off the old lane divider so badly drivers were still trying to go 2 abreast while at the same time the tarmac where the cycle lane used to be was in bad condition. They eventually replaced the tarmac which finally removed all the old road markings and then put the cycle lane back although the footpath still comes out too far at the end of the cycle lane where the roundabout is located.

Also does any one know why planers seem to be creating all new junctions raised above the joining roads, the mini roundabout I was talking about above is raised so high it is the same height as the payment?

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belgravedave [273 posts] 2 years ago
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bikebot, seeing as your an expert on policing and your reply to my suggestion was that it would be to expensive, please tell me how much it would cost then?

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bikebot [2119 posts] 2 years ago
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belgravedave wrote:

bikebot, seeing as your an expert on policing and your reply to my suggestion was that it would be to expensive, please tell me how much it would cost then?

I'm not an expert on policing, although years ago my flatmate was a Policeman. That gives a few insights.

It's your idea, and you're the one that proposing it as a viable alternative. Build you own case, I wasn't offering you my help. And when you have something to present, I'll use my research to challenge yours.

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bikebot [2119 posts] 2 years ago
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embattle wrote:

Also does any one know why planers seem to be creating all new junctions raised above the joining roads, the mini roundabout I was talking about above is raised so high it is the same height as the payment?

I don't know about "all", but in many cases that is done to provide better disability access. We might complain about how bad cycling infrastructure is, but ask a wheelchair user about the infrastructure problems they have and it puts it in perspective.

Perhaps of interest, I've heard a few times that the equality act may be helpful in getting rid of some of the more stupid street furniture. Lots of bollards etc that make cycling difficult also block wheelchair users.

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bikebot [2119 posts] 2 years ago
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embattle wrote:

Also does any one know why planers seem to be creating all new junctions raised above the joining roads, the mini roundabout I was talking about above is raised so high it is the same height as the payment?

I don't know about "all", but in many cases that is done to provide better disability access. We might complain about how bad cycling infrastructure is, but ask a wheelchair user about the infrastructure problems they have and it puts it in perspective.

Perhaps of interest, I've heard a few times that the equality act may be helpful in getting rid of some of the more stupid street furniture. Lots of bollards etc that make cycling difficult also block wheelchair users.

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embattle [70 posts] 2 years ago
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Oh yes I've seen that before but what is odd is the mini roundabout has no actual crossings they are all well away from it.